In 2009, Darren Long was so lost in the world of drugs that he was given six months to live. In 2022, 13 years clean, he releases his new single Lady Noir from Olga, one of the fleets from the Sailing Tectona charity that helped save his life, as a plea to his cocaine-addicted friend to seek help.
Lady Noir is by dark folk and American band Black Tar Roses. The band is made up of Darren Long (guitar/vocals), his wife Sally (vocals/percussion), John Maddock (banjo, mandolin, cittern), Ian Stewart (bass), and Anna Crabtree (violin).
From Plymouth, UK, they harness a rootsy sound between nautical and folk that BBC Introducing said: ‘Feels like it ought to be soundtracking a Coen Bro’s movie or something.’
‘Darren had battled through years of drug abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness before his doctor warned him that he would only have six months to live if he stayed on his path. Having lost many loved ones to the same dangers, Darren checked himself into the Phoenix futures Alpha House rehab.’
‘The game changer for me was the sailing trip on an 80-foot, 80-tonne gaff ketch called Tectona for the graduates of the CBT-based programme that they ran, said the frontman. Inspired by his experience, Darren volunteered on the boat, working with vulnerable children and addicts and was part of the team that pioneered the first Voyage of Recovery. This award-winning programme looked at alternative approaches to drug treatment.’
‘Lady Noir’s accompanying video sees Darren and his fellow Black Tar Roses bandmates return to the boat for a message to his close friend, currently in the throes of addiction. The single was written for a friend trapped in the grip of cocaine addiction, and its video was shot on Olga – one of the boats in the Tectona Trust fleet and the last original Bristol pilot cutter to be built in Porthleven in 1909. Sally and I worked on the premise for the video together, and the results speak for themselves.’
Lady Noir is the first single released from the band’s upcoming album Black Tar Roses’ Travelling Emporium. Due for release this August, the 10-track project showcases the band’s signature storytelling style. Laden with tales of misfits and outsiders, travelling Emporium draws on Darren’s experiences, with a dark American sound all from the UK’s very own Plymouth.
Josiah J produced and mixed the album at Momentum Studios in Plymouth.