8th July 2013 sees the release of the much anticipated Dear River by Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo on Linn Records.
UK based but hailing from Bridgetown, Western Australia, Emily Barker is a compelling singer-songwriter, who with her band The Red Clay Halo blends classical, rock, country and folk influences to stunning effect. Having released three critically acclaimed albums, played a string of sold-out UK dates, performed with Frank Turner at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony and written the Bafta and Ivor Novello award-winning themes to hit BBC dramas Wallander and The Shadow Line, the Dear River album is a major landmark that will surely take them to a whole new level.
After self-financing her first three albums, Emily is now releasing her fourth album on one of the world’s leading ‘audiophile’ labels, Linn Records. Best known for specializing in Classical and Jazz and combining a love of music with a passion for audio quality, Linn signed Emily last year and Dear River represents possibly its most ‘mainstream’ album release since The Blue Nile’s debut album, “A Walk Across The Rooftops”, in 1984.
Dear River was produced by Calum Malcolm (The Blue Nile) and marks a significant sonic move forward from the previous three albums, highlighting Emily’s agile vocal blend of strength and fragility, while lyrically exploring the meaning of home and its related tangents of exile, displacement, and family. Blending her own story into the wider joys and sorrows gleaned from her rigorous researches into others’ experiences of travel and emigration, Emily has emerged with a compelling song cycle that makes Dear River an unmistakable watershed in a rapidly burgeoning career.
“I’m so happy with this album” says Emily, barely containing her excitement, “The whole concept means so much to me and although the songs are quite personal, they also feel like they could be other people’s stories – It’s the best recording we’ve done.”
I am a huge fan of Emily’s work. Even though I have not seen her perform live since The Slaughtered Lamb show back in 2009 I have still been hypnotised by the material that she has produced. The 3rd studio album Almanac which was funded by fans via Pledge Music and spareroom.com was simply sensational. Two years later Barker is back with her brand new record Dear River and I have been lucky enough to hear a preview of it.
After having listened to the whole album it makes me relish the prospect of witnessing them performed within a live setting. Basically there is not a single bad track on Dear River and I thoroughly enjoyed it from its start to the very end. Emily is one talented singer-songwriter and the vocals are very entrancing. Now I adored every track on this 11 track record, it doesn’t disappoint. Barker’s phenomenal vocals shine on every tune. My favourites have to be Letters (which is about her Dutch grandfather’s experience during WWII), the soft Sleeping Horses and The Cormorant And The Heron sent shivers up my spine. Also the closing number is extraordinary, at first The Blackwood started off as an acapella which showcased Emily’s flawless vocals for almost a minute and then the band then came in.
Those 4 songs were my personal highlights but the other 7 that feature were superb. You have the albums title track Dear River as its opener then followed by Tuesday. Both of these being big band numbers. Tuesday actually sounds rather epic and there is even an accordion played throughout the song. The Leaving was very chilled out whilst Everywhen was an upbeat tune which can easily get you tapping your toe. Harmonica is present throughout the laid back Ghost Narrative. Finally there is A Spadeful Of Ground and In The Winter I Returned, both being brilliant tunes that you will fall in love with.
Overall Dear River does not disappoint and if you love your folk music then this album is for you. After having played this back I can most definitely say that I will be purchasing this wonderful album.
Dear River is released on 3 different formats and this being CD, Vinyl* and as a Digital Download. Also if you pay a little extra you could purchase the Deluxe CD where you also get a nifty 2nd CD which is exactly the same album but each of the tracks have been stripped down.
A Spadeful Of Ground
The Cormorant And The Heron
In The Winter I Returned
* FOR ALL THOSE VINYL LOVERS OUT THERE. UNFORTUNATELY THE LP HAS BEEN PUSHED BACK TO 7TH OCTOBER. HERE IS THE STATEMENT LINN RECORDS HAVE MADE:
‘Linn has a enjoyed forty year love affair with vinyl and is very excited to be releasing Dear River on 180g LP. We have made the decision to put back the release date until 7th October 2013 so that we can produce the best pressing possible. As vinyl lovers know, manufacturing an LP sometimes requires a little more love, time and attention than a CD. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are confident that you will love the final product.’
Thu 10 Oct The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
Fri 11 Oct The Arch Inn, Ullapool
Sat 12 Oct Ironworks, Inverness
Sun 13 Oct Oran Mor, Glasgow
Tue 15 Oct Komedia, Brighton
Wed 16 Oct 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Thu 17 Oct Blackfriars Priory, Gloucester
Fri 18 Oct The Globe, Cardiff
Sun 20 Oct The Musician, Leicester
Mon 21 Oct Artrix, Bromsgrove
Tue 22 Oct St. John the Evangelist Church, Oxford
Wed 23 Oct The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
Fri 25 Oct Open, Norwich
Thu 7 Nov St. Philips Church, Salford
Fri 8 Nov Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
Sat 9 Nov The Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne
Sun 10 Nov Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Mon 11 Nov Junction, Cambridge
Wed 13 Nov Discovery Centre, Winchester
Thu 14 Nov Exeter Phoenix, Exeter
Fri 15 Nov Stag (Plaza Suite), Sevenoaks
Sat 16 Nov St Mary in the Castle, Hastings
Sun 17 Nov The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Tue 19 Nov Glee Club, Birmingham
Wed 20 Nov The Greystones, Sheffield
Thu 21 Nov Floral Pavilion Blue Lounge, New Brighton
Fri 22 Nov Bristol Folk House, Bristol