Story by Eileen P. Marie

Fans of The Bogmen will rejoice at the news recently announced by the legendary band with a fiercely loyal following. On May 30, The Bogmen will bring its unique brand of swirling psychedelic rock to Irving Plaza, the New York City venue where the group’s music industry journey first began. Even better, the live show will kick-off the May 31st release of the highly anticipated new LP, “IN MY KINGDOM”, The Bogmen’s first full-length studio album in 25 years. 

IN MY KINGDOM signals a magnificent resurrection for The Bogmen, and adds an exciting new chapter to the quirky story of this endearing and enduring band’s unconventional rock and roll saga. The record emerges in the wake of a few converging and colliding events. Created during the height of the global pandemic, the newly minted collaboration is a creative response to the devastating isolation caused by COVID, and the personal loss of the bandmates’ close friend during that time, which also prompted the subsequent recovery journey of frontman Billy Campion. 

Written from 2020 to 2023, the entire IN MY KINGDOM album was recorded at The Carriage House in Stamford, CT and engineered by longtime sound collaborator Phil Palazzolo. Produced by founding band members Billy Campion and Brendan Ryan, it is The Bogmen’s third studio album to date and the group’s first-ever vinyl release. To preview the album, The Bogmen recently released three new singles, along with captivating corresponding music videos: the title track, In My Kingdom (video animated by Jack Powell), Where the Goddess Goes, and Summer of Soul (videos by Chris Cassidy, edited by Cassidy and Sarah Violette). The full LP will be available for purchase on all major streaming platforms, as of May 31 – and a 12-inch vinyl gatefold featuring the remarkable hand-painted original artwork of Gregory Stovetop will be released that same day. 

LMNR was fortunate to catch up with the band’s three core members as they gear up for this week’s show and album release.

“The three of us (Billy, Billy and myself) began writing music and pooling our resources as a way to cope with the difficult times of the pandemic and the devastating loss of a close friend,” says keyboardist Brendan Ryan. “We found ourselves thrown back together in our hometown and began meeting up and tinkering with new ideas. This collaboration was so prolific that it resulted in a full-length album of new songs, along with one or two re-recorded renditions of earlier songs that we are really proud of.”

Lead guitarist Billy Ryan chimes in: “The pandemic was a strange and tragic time, dark days indeed, compounded by the sudden loss of one of our dearest friends since childhood.” He goes on to explain, “The world seemed to be falling apart and people were becoming divided and confused. There was a reversion back to our primordial instincts of survival, a return to nature and a reflection on religion and spirituality–all of which is reflected in the music of this new album.”

KINGDOM is dropping at a crucial moment. While conflicts abound in much of the world and within a divided U.S., IN MY KINGDOM spotlights our common humanity and unity, serving up a cohesive collection that is at once stunning, thought-provoking and ultimately reassuring. An achingly beautiful and lyrical album, it is also incessantly tuneful and full of the kinds of offbeat, upbeat hooks that are signatures of The Bogmen sound. Alternately expansive and introspective, the album is infused with an exuberant euphony. The result is a mesmerizing musical cornucopia of cosmic energy and swirling sounds that resonate as both deeply intimate and powerfully universal. 

Just as fairy tales were designed to help children process fears and cope with scary scenarios, The Bogmen employ a funky, Rumpelstiltskin-like musical alchemy. Lyrically, the album pulsates with messages of love, compassion, connection, and inclusiveness, even as it takes listeners through the looking glass to navigate the dark emotional terrain of unbearable loss, isolation, and the agonizing depths of suicidal despair caused by addiction. In the skillful hands of The Bogmen, these ideas are soon surpassed or supplanted by the soul-nourishing wonders of nature, the transcendent universe, the sacred and divine, the transformative power of imagination, and the astonishing human capacity for rebirth, renewal, and redemption. (Music writer Jon Pareles, of The New York Times, once wrote, “Cynicism and pessimism rarely sound as cheerful as they do in the songs of The Bogmen.”) 

Even through the album’s darkest moments, the steady, underlying thrumming is undeniably joyful and uplifting. “The palliative power of music is palpable, and live music has the most incredible, visceral healing capacity,” says lead singer Billy Campion. “That soothing energy was abruptly yanked away from everybody and suspended indefinitely when the world shut down, venues shuttered and all live gigs and events came to a screeching halt. We felt it keenly, and so did our fans. The new songs have helped us to remedy that situation and fill the musical void that persisted during the pandemic.”

The songs are replete with The Bogmen’s distinctive vocals (Billy Campion), vibrant guitar licks (Billy Ryan), dreamy keys (Brendan Ryan), galvanizing percussion (P.J. O’Connor) and a dazzling array of horns. The all-star brass section is comprised of Dave “Smoota” Smith (Rev. Vince Anderson & His Love Choir; TV on the Radio), Paula Henderson (Rev. Vince Anderson & His Love Choir; Gogol Bordello), and Alicia Rau (Violent Femmes)–all surrogate band members who have become mainstays at the band’s concerts, helping to cement and anchor The Bogmen’s big jubilant sound and endlessly diverting stage spectacle. 

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