In the album’s sleeve notes, she explains how the idea came about: “over the last few years, in between touring with my bands The Red Clay Halo and Vena Portae, I’ve played lots of solo shows. Often people will come up to me at the end of those shows and ask if there is any way to get hold of recordings of the songs as they’ve just heard them – just me, my guitar and my harmonica”.
Up until now, that hasn’t been possible, but with The Red Clay Halo currently on hiatus after their final tour last year, Emily took the opportunity to go in to the studio to record her own selection of songs from her back catalogue. Many of these songs are the ones she usually chooses to play at solo shows, with a few additions. The songs go right back to her first UK band the-low-country, through all her albums with The Red Clay Halo, and including a brand new song, ‘Anywhere Away’, written last year as the theme to the forthcoming British movie Hec McAdam (starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen).
Emily Barker is the award-winning songwriter and performer of the theme to BBC TV’s Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. Her music is a blend of roots influences from country to English folk via 60s pop, all wrapped in the rich string arrangements and multi-part vocal harmonies of The Red Clay Halo, spearheaded by Emily’s clear, expressive voice and her charismatic stage presence.
Alongside the Wallander theme, Emily has also provided the theme music to BBC TV drama The Shadow Line (which won an Ivor Novello for best TV soundtrack for series composer Martin Phipps) and has recently (in collaboration again with Martin Phipps) composed music for Daniel Barber’s The Keeping Room (Sam Worthington, Britt Marling, Hailee Steinfeld) as well as her first feature length soundtrack, for Jake Gavin’s UK road movie Hec McAdam starring Peter Mullan.
Emily’s most recent album with The Red Clay Halo, Dear River, was critically acclaimed across the board, with four and five star reviews including lead reviews in The Times and Evening Standard, alongside recognition from specialist magazines such as Maverick, R2 and Country Music People. It went on to be voted Americana album of the year by readers of the UK’s foremost roots music website, Spiral Earth, and debuted in the UK Independent Album Breakers chart at #3, spending 5 weeks in the top 20.
Introduction to The Toerag Sessions:
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‘Heartfelt songwriting… bridging the gap between folk, country and Fleetwood Mac’ The Times
‘Emily Barker has a gift for great melodies’ The Guardian
‘ambitious and beautifully wrought’ Q Magazine
‘singer-songwriters are hardly an endangered species in 2013 but there should still be room for those as talented as Emily Barker’ Evening Standard