Garnering substantial praise throughout the year for her previous musical works, London-based singer-songwriter, Hannah White concluded her 2023 with a brand new offering of Americana-infused tunes in the form of Sweet Revolution.
Sweet Revolution is notable in that it is a project which works on multiple levels. The songs themselves more than hold their own, providing the substance around which White and her band assemble a masterfully crafted and beautifully engineered collection of sounds.
Of immediate interest upon pressing play on the album is the exquisitely tasteful and markedly deliberate guitar work of Keiron Marshall, who along with contributing electric, steel, and baritone guitar parts, as well as vocals, is also credited with the recording and engineering of Sweet Revolution. Marshall is a key background player throughout the proceedings alongside Michele Stodart, whose primary function is holding down the low end on bass, but who is also credited with vocals, drums, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar on various tracks.
Impeccably crisp production and skilful engineering notwithstanding, the true star of Sweet Revolution, of course, is Hannah White, who was responsible for the writing of the record in its entirety. The musician brings a refreshing vulnerability to the table as she reveals the distinct complexities and thoughtful perspective behind her own identity and experiences. These elements are revealed almost immediately in the apt opening track, ‘Hail The Fighter’, which echoes the sentiment suggested by the album’s title and brings to mind the work of singer-songwriter Elisabeth Maurus – known professionally as Lissie – from across the pond.
Sweet Revolution acts as a melting pot of sorts in terms of influence and genre elements incorporated. White’s lean, yet soaring vocals hint at the iconic upper register of one Dolly Parton, while her confessional lyrical approach puts a modern spin on the timeless practice of assessing one’s own anxieties and experiences for repurposing in the name of artistic expression.
“There’s no gloss, no shine to me. What you get is what you see”, White croons in ‘Ordinary Woman’, a tune which seems to present its narrator as “nothing special”, though one might discern the self-awareness and reflection inherent in such a notion as characteristics infinitely more desirable than the garish displays upon which much of society has come to assign arbitrary value.
Another track of note is ‘One Foot’, which finds the UK Americana Award winner stretching out instrumentally, implementing interesting vocal loops and playing percussion, dulcimer, and even didgeridoo. White revealed that she has maintained a fascination with instruments from a young age, having started her musical education early in life.
“I got to learn because our borough gave free music lessons to families on benefits”, said White of her musical background. “Music has such a power over me. It’s got me through some of the darkest times and I don’t know what I’d be doing without it.”
The electronic feel of ‘One Foot’ – which emerges, in no small part, as a result of the adaptation of White’s falsetto as part of the musical backdrop – is offset partially by some interesting fiddle work which establishes an almost Celtic feel at times.
Among the central themes establishing the lyrical makeup of Sweet Revolution, one might argue, are those of perseverance and persistence.
“We may never be victorious, we’re not dumb to that”, White sings on the pedal steel laden, ‘Rosa’. Meanwhile, late album cut, ‘Clementine’ borders on outright funk while succinctly declaring, “being a woman in a man’s world is an act of revolution”.
White’s follow-up to the acclaimed, About Time acts as a continuation in the demonstration of White’s discernible gifts as a writer and musician, as well as her palpable passion with regard to the work and to the medium itself. It would behove listeners predisposed to the Americana, folk, and even country genres to make room in their collection for the latest from singer-songwriter Hannah White.
Artist’s website: hannahwhitemusic.com
‘One Night Stand’ – official video:
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