Joe Booley is a 20 year-old singer-songwriter from Hampshire who has been active on the local and national scene since 2012. In the last five years Joe has built a strong and loyal fanbase and has release a discography built of four EPs and five singles.
With a UK tour and large support slots for the likes of Blair Dunlop, Nell Bryden, Flyte, Treetop Flyers etc. Joe is looking to have an incredibly successful year with the release of his Debut Album Transformations. All of this was done while running his own record label, Beth Shalom Records.
Having been two years in the making, Transformations is a collection of songs regarding love, loss, memories of childhood and adolescence. Stretching over 8 tracks this album demonstrates Joe’s subtlety in both production and performance.
On the album you can here varied influences. From the quiet music of Keaton Henson, Julien Baker, Radiohead and Damien Rice. Post-rock build ups of Sigur Ros and the electronic influence of Bon Iver.
A round-up of EPs and singles that have come our way
‘Gladdie’ is the new single from AMY GODDARD and a taster for her forthcoming second album. It is inspired by letters sent to her great-grandmother during the Great War by a young soldier, one of four brothers none of whom came home from the trenches. The song features Amy’s bell-like acoustic guitar and a chorus drenched with strings, some courtesy of Naomi Hitchings. The melody is a waltz with a slight period feel but avoids being a pastiche and her lyrics convey the matter-of-factness of some of the correspondence as well as Gladdie’s anticipation as she waits for the next letter to arrive – until the last one is in a different handwriting. The song is a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest and more than worth its place.
The title track of May Day 1916, the new EP from THE CELIA BRYCE BAND, also involves letters, this time from a wife to her husband serving at the front and full of the minutiae of everyday life – something for a man away from home to cling on to. The second track is an instrumental, ‘Corporal Morris’, a lament with a decidedly Scottish feel – there’s more than a little ‘Farewell To Tarwathie’ in there. Both tracks have a suitably military feel with brass from 3 G. Dean Owens’ ‘Shine Like The Road’ is an anthemic ballad and ‘Small Print’ is a bluesy boogie that changes the mood completely. All proceeds from ‘May Day 1916’ will go to the Royal British Legion.
BOREAS is the bringer of winter, an appropriate name for a band that links Scotland and Norway. In advance of their debut album, Ahoy Hoy, the quartet releases a single ‘North Sea Holes’ – a suitably chilly subject – originally written by Ewan MacColl for Singing The Fishing. I’m not sure if Lori Watson or Rachel Newton takes the lead vocal line but Rachel’s harp is the dominant instrument over a fiddle drone from Britt Pernille Frøholm and Irene Tillung’s accordion ebbing and flowing like the sea itself until both elbow their way to the front for an instrumental break. The second track is ‘Bjornen/Facing The Bear (Radio Edit)’, a pair of tunes which begin with some wonderfully doomy bass notes.
Trouble is the third EP from Hampshire singer-songwriter JOE BOOLEY. The title track benefits from a glossy production job and lots of atmospheric echo but Joe throttles back for the other tracks. ‘What Did You Expect’ is beautifully expressed teenage melancholia with a single repeated guitar note emphasising the sometimes sinister lyrics. In ‘The One Thing’ Joe talks about how he “will leave this God-forsaken place”. I know his home town and he’s not wrong. Joe is a clever song-writer and if you like your misery unadulterated this is for you. https://www.facebook.com/joebooleymusic
OCTOBER GOLD follow their second album, Bridge Of The Sun, with an eponymous EP. The Montreal duo of Kit Soden (acoustic guitar and voice) and Aliza Thibodeau (violin, piano and voice) have simplified things somewhat, adding only bass, cello, French horn and percussion but their sound is still big thanks to Aliza’s multi-layered violin. Although they write their own material their lyrics are derived from the nineteenth century poetry of Archibald Lampman and Thomas Moore, both of whom can be seen in stained glass in Ottowa’s public library. The songs are literary and complex and often melodically surprising – the last lines of ‘Altitude’ for example build from nowhere into an attention-grabbing climax..
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Hard graft has seen the Hampshire-based songwriter’s prowess grow as quickly as his fan base with continual gigging along with writing, recording and self-producing the entirety of his EP within the musically fertile walls of his DIY bedroom studio.
A sense of journey can be felt in every strike of guitar string in his latest EP Trouble, set for release Monday 26th October. The young wordsmith combines the soul clamping emotions of heart-felt ballads and indie-folk with thick, rich harmonies that float seamlessly throughout each bold and poignant track.
Roots of his punk-rock past can be heard in Booley’s vocals in encapsulating moments of angst that cut though the spacious and airy instrumentation, reflecting an emphatic understanding of song writing and production far beyond his years.
The multi-instrumentalist releases the captivating Trouble EP via Beth Shalom Records on Monday 26rd October.