After having witnessed Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo playing at Rough Trade East the week prior I knew I was going attend the instore at Banquet Records. The first time I had heard the new LP Dear River I immediately fell in love. I then began to question myself why had I left it so long just to see Barker play. In conjunction with this album Emily & The Red Clay Halo embarked on an extensive record store tour promoting the LP at record stores all around the UK. The location of this stop was Kingston and the performance was extremely different compared to Rough Trade East the week before.
“We’re Emily Barker & A Red Clay Halo. Anna Jenkins has joined me today and we’ve just released a record last Monday called Dear River” Barker said the moment everyone had entered the shop. Not in attendance were both Gill Sandell and Jo Silverston. But this didn’t matter in the slightest as I was hearing these tracks in a brand new light as they were fully acoustic. Dear River was infectious with lyrics which just hook you in. This had been superbly written and it also was a song about a journey. Other than having Anna play violin, Emily played the harmonica. “This one is called Tuesday. It’s the 2nd track on the record. I first started playing this song live on the Revival tour” Barker mentioned before following up Dear River with Tuesday which is the 2nd track on the new LP. Now this tune basically tells you the story of abandonment “There’s no room for us here/ In all this emptiness/ We’ve gotta run dear/ We’ve gotta run dear/ Dear heart of mine we’ve gotta go”. Tuesday was played at a fast pace and both vocal performance/ harmonising were fantastic. “We’re actually on a month long independent record store tour to promote the album. It’s been great. I used to work in record shops. One on Exmouth Market and one in Cambridge. The new record is all about home. This next song is the story of my grandfather who was Dutch and during World War II he was exiled from Rotterdam” Emily said before the harrowing Letters. This number was both soft and mellowing. I actually found it slightly emotional as the lyrics made you easily picture an image of what was happening in the song. Also the lyrics were straight to the point and gave you a crystal clear image of what Barker’s Grandfather and brother went through. Once over it was then straight onto Ghost Narrative. I liked this tune because it was smooth/ laid back plus Barker played the harmonica as well as her acoustic guitar at the same time. Its lyrics were actually rather upbeat and infectious “We walked this land together, tearing our hearts out/ We’ll walk this land together, ’til the truth it is out”.
“This is a childhood memory. I grew up on a farm and whenever there was a full moon I could very rarely sleep. I’d sneak out the bedroom window and go and find the horses and go and lay down and look up at stars” Emily said before tackling a song that I had requested. This being Sleeping Horses which was in fact rather spine tingling. I requested this because it was a track that stood out to me when I first played back Dear River. Just hearing it live and stripped back didn’t disappoint. Sleeping Horses was mellowing and hypnotising at the same time. What I liked was the fact the lyrics were clear and to the point making you able to picture the actual story behind this number. “We’re gonna finish on an older song of ours from our previous record” Barker then said before rounding off with a track from Almanac. This was the first time I heard Calendar and I found it to be rather upbeat and jolly.