SINGLES BAR 46 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 46Swiss-based BLACK SEA DAHU’s new EP, No Fire In The Sand, conjures the ghostly sound of Mediterranean waves that carry the swell of spooky folk-rock music.  BSD’s music has been described as “songs that Eurydice sadly sang in the aftermath of Orpheus’ forbidden glance”. These songs are ancient echoes still lingering in very modern memories. Magical music never ages.

‘Rhizone’ and ‘Thaw’ stretch with acoustic beauty, as a subdued guitar, keyboard, and percussion frame Janine Cathrein’s melancholic magnetic vocal. Comparisons can be made with The Dead Can Dance. This music sings with a haunted soul.

The title track dives even deeper in Stygian darkness. It’s a lonely soul of a song, yet the melody shimmers with brief moonlight. Again, the tune builds slow momentum with double-tracked voices, quelled percussion, keyboards, and a patient electric guitar that plucks silence into a strange lullaby.

The seven minute-plus ‘Demian’ begins with a simple guitar and Janine’s voice. The song gets electric and percussive. But it’s still a dreamy dance. By mid-song, the deep web of instruments simply bounces with dark mantric soul.

Finally, ‘How You Swallowed Your Anger’ has a slow acoustic and psychological pulse. An accordion is added to the mix. Words drip like Salvador Dali’s surreal time. And the melody quietly spins in a ghostly dance and then dissolves into a run-off groove filled with memories that come and go, like the ageless Mediterranean tide that flows through the music of Black Sea Dahu.
https://www.blackseadahu.com/

Singles Bar 46Originally one half of American folk-rock duo The Story alongside Jennifer Kimball, JONATHA BROOKE has been around for quite a while, working as both a solo artist and in tandem with names that range from Katy Perry to Patty Larkin, nothing up ten studio albums, including a collection of previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics. The Imposter (Bad Dog Records) is her first new material in three years, a five track EP opening with the swaggering title song, pizzicato violins, accordion and tuba giving a gypsy jazz feel, a lyrical spin on the emperor’s new clothes that harks to artists’ nagging doubts that what they do is a waste of time and that they’re a “Liar, Loser, Phony/No one ever says so, but I know it’s true/Poser, lightweight, cheapskate/The wanna be, the woe is me”.

That creative mind swing between confidence and uncertainty veins the EP, with the brass-brushed bluesy speak-sing slink of ‘Fire’ declaring “I’m in the ring, and I’m a knockout, so watch out” and “I’m not shutting up/Until you agree that I’m extraordinary” while’ on the woodwind and cello-coloured, relationship-based ‘Twilight’ she sings “I love you, not perfectly, not well/But I love you, and I’m leaving soon, so fare thee well”. Set to a shimmering show tune pop arrangement, ‘Revenge’ is basically about how things come back to bite you (“My best laid plans played a killer last hand on me/And you got the last laugh”) but then she again switches it around with “I’m nothing if not resourceful/I’m flexible in a pinch/I’ve got this, I can top this. It’s a cinch”.

It ends with the moody piano, flute and classical string quartet ballad ‘True To You’, a simple hymnal (“How much will it cost, Lord?/I will bear this cross, Lord/I will walk through the night/Through the valley I’ll fight/But must I be alone, Lord/To be true to you?”) that sounds like it should be a dimmed lights showstopper in some Broadway musical, a reminder, of course that she wrote her own musical theatre piece, My Mother Has 4 Noses, about caring for her mother in the last stages of dementia. Brooke has no need to question her artistic worth or integrity, she’s the real thing and when she sings “I’ll be parading high fives on the way outta here”, you can’t help but agree she fully deserves to.
https://jonathabrooke.com/

MARISA JACK & DAVY are Marisa Straccia, Jack Sharp and Davy Willis a somewhat diverse trio. They got together in Bedford a few years ago to play at the events they were promoting and have been honing their craft since then. They have been praised by Nicola Keary and Jinwoo and have been dubbed “earthy” and “weird” but in reality they are just approaching the songs in their own way.

Their debut EP is Bring Us In and consists of five traditional songs and one from the celebrated Kipling and Bellamy songwriting partnership. The set opens with ‘Bring Us In Good Ale’ taken at a stately pace with just enough reverb on the verses to suggest monks processing through their cloisters. They maintain that feel as their arrangement of ‘Bushes & Briars’ will put you in mind of a mediæval bard. ‘Nottamun Town’ is a bit weird, you know, and Marisa Jack & Davy emphasise the strangeness of the lyrical contradictions. This is the full version of the song pretty much as recorded by Jean Ritchie.

‘Oak & Ash & Thorn’ comes from Kipling’s mystical period and is also a bit weird and this reading does nothing to negate that. ‘The Sun Rises Bright In France’ is a song of longing and ‘Bows Of London’ is one of best version of the ‘Two Sisters’ story. Whatever happens, Marisa Jack & Davy should be huge before too long.
www.marisajackanddavy.com

Singles Bar 46An early Christmas arrival comes from THE MINING Co. with Three Kings (PinDrop), wherein Michael Gallagher offers up five festive treats in his quest to recapture his own memories of Christmases past and a more recent one spent in Spain. Recorded in Andalucia with producer Paco Loco who also contributes Spanish guitar on two tracks.

The first parcel under the tree is the banjo and strings accompanied ‘Long Way To Christmas’ which would seem to draw on Jona Lewie influences  and a Roy Wood kiddies chorus,  followed by the dreamy and smooth Johnny Mathis tones (and Glen Campbell colours) of  ‘Christmas No 1’ (with, yes, sleigh bells). Military snare (a la ‘Little Drummer Boy’) provides the tinsel on ‘Wild Gift’ (from where the album’s Biblical reference title comes), the final trimmings being the Latino samba sway of ‘Ghost Writer’, where his voice finds its deeper range, and the childhood nostalgia of ‘Holloway’, with its picked Spanish guitar and muted rumble of drums, when “every morning was Christmas Day”. One for your Santa wish list, I think.
https://www.facebook.com/theminingcoband/

Singles Bar 46GLORIOUS LEADER’s ‘Borderline’ is the first single from the up-coming EP My Kingdom, which is a wonderful collection of ethereal songs that walk in the acoustic footsteps of the human heart.  Kyle Woolard is the one-man talent here. He’s on leave from the very fine band The Anatomy of Frank, whose album South America was described as “a melodic folk-rock masterpiece.

This solo record travels into intense personal soil; yet as Walt Whitman wrote, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you”. So, these songs resonate as a totem for sensitive folks who enjoy a really nice melody. That first song, ‘Borderline’, sings, “I guess we’re all trying to make it work”. That sort of sums up modern life.

As reference points, imagine music filled with the intense quietude of Paul Simon’s ‘Duncan’, Magna Carta’s ‘Living In The Land Of Ulysses’, and the entirety of Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago.

The rest of the songs echo that gentle melodic pulse. ‘Onism’ has a passionate and irresistible chorus (with great handclaps!). ‘Sweet Louisa’ brings a ukulele, strings, and heavenly harmonies. ’Kyla’ is strummed and slow, and it dances with a few electronic sounds. ‘The Wide Sargasso Sea’ has David Crosby’s ‘Guinevere’ depth. This tune has “green eyes”.

The final song, ‘Half Alive’, is confessional stuff. And it has a hymn-like quality that plucks, with that darn ukulele, some sort of vague hope for a better tomorrow. And that’s a really decent song for any record to sing.
https://ohgloriousleader.bandcamp.com/releases

Singles Bar 46Birmingham songstress KATHERINE PRIDDY follows-up her well-received debut EP Wolf, which sold out three pressings,  with a limited edition single ‘Letters From A Travelling Man’ (Static Caravan),  an upbeat, frisky Americana-styled number that takes its inspiration from her experiences of living on the road and the struggles of trying to maintain relationships alongside an unsettled lifestyle.  Paired with  the softer  slower strummed ‘Come and Go’ , a yearning for a  place to call home but  acceptance that everything must inevitably pass, where she duets  with Northern folk singer-songwriter George Boomsma, it’s released digitally as well as a limited run of collectable coloured vinyl alongside a postcard urging the listener to rediscover the lost art of letter-writing.
https://www.facebook.com/KatherinePriddy/

Singles Bar 46NAVARO release the first single from their forthcoming album. ‘The Fall’, written by Pete White, is described as an “autumnal hymn” and is simply built around acoustic guitar and keyboards with the band’s signature harmonies.
http://navaromusic.co.uk/

Singles Bar 46THE MAGPIES were originally formed in York in 2017 as a duo of Bella Gaffney and mandolinist Polly Bolton, expanding to become a quartet in 2018 with the addition of cellist Sarah Smout and fiddler Holly Brandon. Drawing on shared and individual influences to create a fusion of Celtic and bluegrass folk, they have a debut album arriving shortly, preceded by the gently flowing download newgrass single ‘Run, River Run’, written by Ganney and originally featured on Bella and Polly’s own self-titled EP, here given extra colour with fiddle and cello.
https://www.themagpiesmusic.com/

Singles Bar 46With Brexit in mind, BEANS ON TOAST released his single, ‘England, I Love You’, on October 31st.  It’s full of his familiar biting wit paired with a jolly tune and “patriotic” brass. The song is taken from his forthcoming album, The Inevitable Train Wreck which you will buy if you know what’s good for you.
https://beansontoastmusic.com/

Singles Bar 46ANNIE DRESSNER has a new self-released album due early 2020, meanwhile she has a taster single in ‘Nyack’, a simply fingerpicked, brushed snares shuffle named for the Orangetown village in Rockland County, New York, a song about memories, her childhood, her brother and leavings.
http://www.anniedressner.com/

Siingles Bar 46DUSTY WRIGHT dedicates his acoustic version of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ to the world’s climate change warriors. It’s from his forthcoming album Can Anybody Hear Me? and despite its Dylanish harmonica it ‘s actually rather polite. You can hear all the words, though, possibly for the first time.
https://dustywright.com/

Singles Bar 46Israeli singer/songwriter MARBL has a new single, ‘The First Day Of The Rain’. It’s piano driven and drenched with strings and is rather lovely. We’re told that she’s into supporting abandoned animals but that’s not coming over here.
https://www.marblmusic.com/

Singles Bar 46‘Battle Ready’ is the single taster and title track from the new EP by Manchester’s JOHN TILLER. It’s a powerful song with solid drums and ringing guitar. Americana but with a British twist.
https://johntiller.bandcamp.com/music

Singles Bar 46

DARWIN’S DAUGHTER also gets into the festive spirit with ‘Snow Angels In The Rain’  (self-released), her first and last release of 2019, a gently lovely cello and fiddle-sprinkled ballad about transience that comes with a Christmas Edit which replaces the xylophone at the end with jingle bells. Ahh, bless.
https://www.facebook.com/darwinsdaughter/

Annie Dressner releases new single, ‘Nyack’

Annie Dressner

‘Nyack’ is the new single from Cambridge-based New Yorker and Alt-folk singer songwriter, Annie Dressner… ‘Nyack’ has already picked up some amazing radio support from BBC Radio 6 Music, Radio Wales and was recently added to the Caffe Nero playlist. This single comes from Dressner’s third album, out in spring 2020, recorded with producer and singer/songwriter, Paul Goodwin in their home in Cambridgeshire. It is being mixed by Louie Lino (Resonate Music, Nada Surf Keyboard Player) in Austin, TX.

Dressner’s songs are delivered with such conversational ease, it often seems as if she is reading from an intimate letter or a book, set to music. Her tracks have been played on BBC Radio 2 & BBC6 Music by Gideon Coe, Tom Robinson, Tom Ravenscroft and Steve Lamacq, plus a whole host of regional radio stations.

Since moving from her hometown of New York City to the UK eight years ago, Annie Dressner has gained considerable recognition for her live shows as well as her recorded material. Upon its release, Dressner’s second studio album, Broken Into Pieces, produced by Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore), received a wealth of positive reviews, with Shire Folk calling it “one of the freshest and most enjoyable releases of 2018”.

Annie has toured extensively in her native New York and in the UK, playing festivals such as Green Man, Cambridge Folk Festival and Secret Garden Party, and she has supported a wide range of artists including Emily Barker, Simone Felice, Kirsty McGee, Juan Zelada, Gavin Osborne, Lucy Wainwright Roche & Fossil Collective. She is also one half of The Pollyanna Band with Polly Paulusma. She is currently finishing up a UK tour with friend Luke James Williams and is planning a February 2020 UK tour with Polly Paulusma.

Artist’s website: www.AnnieDressner.com

ANNIE DRESSNER – Broken Into Pieces

Like Kurt Russell in ‘Escape from New York‘, Annie Dressner has legged it as well and made it over here to fair Albion even without the aid of an eye patch! Dressner been busy in Blighty, clocking up airplay on both BBC Radio Two and Six and earning herself festival appearances at Green Man and Cambridge to name just a few. Its no surprise then, that she now has a brand new spanking album, ‘Broken Into Pieces’ in the can and a huge heart and desire to share it with everyone.

Mates abound, with contributions from Polly Palusama and Che Bereford from Capercaille. Dressner’s husband Paul Goodwin also chips in on BV’s along with Dan Wilde and Jade Rhiannon Ward from the Willows. Matthew Caws from Nada Surf is also part of the project together with ‘Broken Into Pieces’ album producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore, Fairport Convention, Martha Wainwright, Waterboys and Abbie Ozard).

The album looks at the little fragile fragments of everyday life and its relationships. The melodies are folk/pop tinged, complemented by vocals pitched in a tone, slightly higher in a golden, “crisp Manhattan morning air”. It starts with ‘Fades Away’, which gently pulls the listener out of its opening hypnotic circular guitar and soft lullaby chrysalis, into a relationship butterfly of tinkering piano and meandering cello. ‘Don’t Go’, folk-pop-rocks it along with its little cheery whistling intro as it steams off into ‘sticky plaster’ patching up relationship territory, with one foot out the door whilst the head is jerked back around as its being persuaded to stay. ‘Heartbreaker’ has a great swinging pop-country homespun roll to it and looks back to what could have been. ‘This was how it was to be my love when you were my love‘, maybe all those gold flakes in the vodka bankrupted the poor fella!

‘Kentucky’, which you can watch in video below was the first track that jumped out and grabbed me. There is something very fragile about it, you feel like you are holding the heart of it and if you don’t hold on to it carefully enough, you may drop and smash it.

The more and more I listen to ‘Broken Into Pieces’, the more I find something new in it. Its a beautiful thing and its definitely a keeper.

Darren Beech

Artist’s website: http://www.anniedressner.com/

‘Kentucky’ – official video:

The album is available to order/download from the Bandcamp link below. ‘Fades Away’, ‘Kentucky’ and ‘Get Out’ are there to stream as well.

Annie Dressner announces second album

Annie Dressner

Annie Dressner was born and raised in New York City where she cut her teeth on the busy acoustic music scene, appearing regularly at such iconic venues as The Bitter End and Rockwood Music Hall. Since relocating to the UK seven years ago she has received airplay on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music and has appeared at Green Man and Cambridge Folk Festival.

Her second album, Broken Into Pieces is due for late October release and features eleven all new Dressner originals.

It is produced by Nigel Stonier whose many collaborations include Thea Gilmore, Fairport Convention, Martha Wainwright, The Waterboys and current BBC6 Music breakthrough artist Abbie Ozard.

Contributing musicians include fellow New Yorker Matthew Caws of Nada Surf on electric guitars, alongside UK musicians including Stonier himself, drummer Che Beresford (Capercaille, Black Grape) and Dressner’s husband Paul Goodwin – himself a respected songwriter – on keyboards. Backing vocal duties are handled by singer/songwriters Polly Palusama and Dan Wilde along with Jade Rhiannon Ward of The Willows

Annie’s lyrics throughout are shot through with honesty and a rare candour… they hone in on the everyday minutiae of relationships and life, catching the moments where hearts and worlds turn on their respective axes.

These are set to direct, memorable folk/pop melodies and delivered almost conversationally in Annie’s affecting, clear toned Manhattan alto.

From the stark intimacy of ‘Bruise Beneath My Bones’ to the light East Coast rock of ‘Get Out’ via the almost campfire folk groove of ‘Heartbreaker’, Dressner draws on a wide musical palette. And from the heartbreak of ‘Kentucky’ to the understated euphoria of ‘Morning’ the album runs the full emotional gamut.

Broken Into Pieces is released October 26 and is surely destined to break new ground for Annie Dressner in her new, adopted homeland.

Artist’s website: http://www.anniedressner.com/

‘Kentucky’ – live: