Duane Eddy On Falling In Love With Sheffield & The Pennines

While recording his new album with Richard Hawley in Sheffield, the legend who is Mr Duane Eddy fell in love with the city and his surroundings. Here he tells Luke Turner about his new infatuation, chilli-filled Yorkshire pudding, and why Hawley should be mayor

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You need a bit of time to appreciate Sheffield

I had been to Sheffield before but it’s just one of those things where you stop, play a show, stay the night and leave early in the morning, so I never got to see no-one at all, until last October, when they drove us around. We had beautiful weather, and my wife and I just fell in love with the place, and the countryside around it.

The Pennines have canyons, of a sort

Sheffield has a great downtown, well what we’d call a downtown, but I was amazed when we’d drive out into the countryside, the houses would stop and we’d be out in the open and there was this big, long vista of beautiful fields and stone farmhouses and stone barns, stone walls and green pastures and sheep, cattle, horses. I think it’s called the Mayfield Valley; we went down this long canyon, well they’re not canyons like we have out West here, but it was kind of like that in the sense it was cut right down through the hills.

Chilli-filed Yorkshire Pudding is better than chilli in the American South

There’s a pub called the Strines Inn, up on the moors above a reservoir with peacocks running about the place. We had a great meal there and they had a huge Yorkshire pudding, so I ordered that with the home-made chilli in it, like it was a big bowl. The chilli was amazing, as good as any I’ve had in Texas or anywhere else.

Derbyshire serves up a mean dish too

We also went to Bakewell, because we’d had a Bakewell tart, with custard. That was just heaven, one of the most delicious things I have ever had in my whole mouth, that’s an old corny joke, but I’m not joking about the deliciousness.

…and gives Yorkshire a run for its money with scenery

Chatsworth House was beautiful, and we went to Monsal Head, which had such beautiful views over the countryside. Richard Hawley told us about that.

The Pennines are best seen with a guide

Richard didn’t always go, but he told us a lot of places we needed to see. He was certainly right, he hit it right on the head and we fell in love with every place there. We had another great meal up there, in The Stable, I think they call it. I had no idea all this existed, that there was all this that was so beautiful. And the further you go, the more you see.

It’s pretty rugged country, and varied, like the West

I was surprised. You have gentle rolling hills and pastures and I thought it’d be all like that, but then it becomes really rugged, with huge boulders lying around. One time I took a car from Leeds to Manchester and up over and across the moors, and I thought it’d be like that, miles of grass, but it wasn’t, it was wild country. At home here in Tennessee we have the Cumberland Gap and the Smoky Mountains. But I think it’s out West, past the Mississippi that you have the most abrupt changes, like Yorkshire has. You’re driving around and in a couple minutes you can be in an entirely different environment.

The people are like the people in our South

You can be out West or in New York in America and people just walk on by you and mind their own business. But down South here, in Tennessee, if you catch somebody’s eye on the street they’ll nod and smile, and I found that the same in Yorkshire. They have that kindness and sweetness that people in big cities don’t have time to have. People are friendly, I’d talk to them and found the sweetest people who were just so helpful.

Richard Hawley ought to be the mayor of Sheffield

He’ll never leave there, it’s his home, he’ll live there and die there. His love for the place wore off on me. I’d listen to him talk about the history and the people. They all have a great pride in the place, they’ve had some tough, tough times and yet it doesn’t seem to get them down. Richard’s family went through the decline of the Sheffield Steel industry, uncles, grandfathers, and different friends and people he loves went through those hard times. People might make jokes because what else are you going to do, but he gets angry at it too. I thought this man has a sense of community, and a sense of home, and he loves his neighbours. He ought to be the mayor or something, because he loves the place so much.

There is a Sheffield sound

I knew groups like Pulp and so on before, but Richard took me to a pub with this band, there was pop, there was bluegrass, and we sat and played with them a little bit, and did the country and blues thing for a couple of songs, but we were really having too much fun watching them. But I’d say the city and the countryside around there had a big impact on the record that I did. Between Richard and Colin and the other guys who worked there they just took me in and sent me out with a great album. We recorded it all live, and we got that great Sheffield sound on it, which I think is distinct; and for me it’s a whole new sound. It’s Richard, and the way he does things, and the guys we played with, they have their own sound and they loaned it to me, which was very kind of them. I was Hawley-ised on a couple of those tracks.

Maybe I’ll become another Sheffield musician

It wouldn’t be bad. I’ll tell you, Luke, it’s something we’re seriously considering, spending half the year here and half in Sheffield. We’ve made such good friends there that we can’t live without them. We’re thinking of buying a house, just a little cottage, we don’t need a lot, that’s the way I’ve been all my life. I don’t live fancy here in Tennessee, either. .

Duane Eddy’s new LP Road Trip is out now

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