Sheffield Americana band team up with historian

The Payroll UnionAn unlikely collaboration between a Sheffield-based Americana band and an academic from the University of Sheffield has produced an album with a difference, inspired by 19th century American history.

The Mule and the Elephant by The Payroll Union will be launched on 19 January 2013 at Club 60, recording studio to Sheffield bands Reverend and the Makers and The Crookes.

Lead singer Peter David, who currently works in Student Services at the University of Sheffield, explained how the collaboration with Dr Andrew Heath came about and the inspiration behind the album: “I met academics from the Department of History at one of our Tramlines gigs this year. They were interested to know how and why I came to write songs primarily about 19th Century American characters and events, and more specifically the Jacksonian Era (roughly 1815-1848). I didn't study history, I'm just interested in this period - the most interesting in American history, I think – it’s full of duels, religious persecution, political corruption and sex scandals!

“Our shared interest in this era led us to decide to work together on a joint project. I asked Andrew if he would like to write the liner notes for the album to expand on some of the themes and he agreed, which is really exciting. We're also in the process of submitting a proposal for Arts Enterprise funding to work on a collaborative project about the antebellum period, drawing on a lot of Andrew's research.”

Dr Heath said: “It's been a pleasure to work with Pete, who is not only a great songwriter, but also a very talented historian. The album he's written brings to life people and ideas I've been teaching and researching for the last ten years and it's been exciting for me and my students to find someone who can tell the stories we explore through books and articles in such a novel way.”

Additional information

Payroll Union
Payroll Union website
Songwriting blog

The University of Sheffield's Department of History
Department of History

The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, and 2007).

These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

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For further information please contact:
Amy Stone
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046