I know that folk music isn’t all organic, this web whole foods, and love – or indeed deep lust – buried in a haystack. Happy all day, before campfires and passions at night. No, folk musicians don’t spend their days wearing slightly grubby lumberjacks or floaty, ethereal frocks. See evidence: Grizzly Bear aren’t happy all the time and Bon Iver is a delightfully melancholy chap. And then just listen to Nick Drake and young Laura Marling. To be honest I’m not really sure where I got the skippy, clappy, dancing in the hazy afternoon sunshine vision from. Perhaps it’s because folk artists tend to sing about the earth, nature and love in one breath. There is no chat of ‘honeys’ or ‘bling’. Gah, And of course, folkers may be generally creative and appreciative of the natural world, but it in no means leaves them exempt of sadness, hurt and darkness. I wonder, does it in actual fact make them more open and adept to describing their feelings than the blingers? Regardless, folk is often as rhythmic and warming as the grandfather clock that my 40s’ Grandpa chopped the bottom of, to fit in his house. Tick, tock. Folk is cosy and true, which is why it feels so pure – which is why it makes me want to reside in a yurt.
Illustration by Sarah Matthews
Let me introduce you to Emily Jane White. The PR sheet in-front of me says that her album is: ‘a collection of ten opulent, uncluttered and captivating ballads.’ A friend asked me other day, “If you had to only use one adjective for the rest of your life, what would it be?” If I was a news writer, I would say: “Peh, what even are adjectives?”. As a PR I would pass out. Whilst as a writer of my own devices, I would say – ‘blissful’. Then I could put ‘anti’ in-front of a word perhaps. Awkward. Anyway, off on a tangent again: Emily Jane White’s music is BLISSFUL.
She is melancholy. But in the way that makes you feel perhaps strangely, very contented. Maybe it is because in a sense Emily is making peace with herself and her thoughts through the act of writing her music. She said that she found writing her latest album, Ode To Sentience, out now on Talitres Records, cathartic to write: “They speak to the emotional simplicity and complexity of human relationship. I chose to call the record Ode To Sentience because it is the capacity to feel that creates a share human experience of music. We all share the potency of music by having the capacity to feel, and I found the simplicity of this fact very beautiful.”
Illustration by Laura Godfrey, LG Illustration
Her album is about leaving home, her’s was California – I Lay To Rest (California) – the drawn out strings longing to leave. The sharper notes; the sadness of leaving it. Clipped Wings is ghostly and full of yearning, reflections of love’s passed. The Cliff holds classic American twangs, whilst Oh Katherine, is a string filled heaven of a song. Her voice is as soft and delicate as a peach, whilst her fearless approach to singing from the darker depths of her consciousness matches the strings perfectly.
She is much like a Californian Kate Bush, but less obviously ethereal and screaming. Or she could be a gentler Alela Diane or singular Mountain Man. Black Silk has to be my personal favourite. The Law is guitar based, slow and… actually quite a lot like my Grandpa’s Grandfather clock. It wraps you up. Says it’s all ok. For a little bit of this, here we have ‘The Law’, for you to download for free: here. Download it now.
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