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Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Almanac Album Review

Folk sensation Emily Barker is releasing her third album, Almanac, with her band The Red Clay Halo in November.

Emily Barker Almanac

Almanac CD cover design

Receiving a ‘Record of the Week’ from Nemone on 6 Music, outstanding reviews from Q, The Times and the BBC, which has used two of her tracks for prime time TV show The Shadow Line and the multi-award winning Wallander, Emily Barker has definitely shaken the roots of folk.

Coming from Bridgetown, Western Australia, she is becoming well known for her ability to intertwine beautiful lyrics, angelic vocals and melodic tunes into some of the most influential folk music around today.

Staying quite traditional in most respects, Almanac is a strong folk album. It’s a similar style of folk to Joni Mitchell. The Red Clay Halo produce melodic folk music along side breath taking vocals. Not quite as impressive as Joni Mitchell’s voice but there is less chance that Barker’s voice will break glass…

Opening track, Billowing Sea, is one of the catchiest songs on the record with the chorus, “There will be a billowing sea of light and liberty/I gave my all and even more for the sake of the giver in me”. It’s bound to have you humming the tune after just one listen.

Billowing Sea is a happy folk number with upbeat rhythms whereas other songs like Reckless, Pause and Lights are the sadder, more emotional tracks which really let you see how strong Barker’s song writing is.

Then there’s the song, Witch of Pitteweem, which reminds me of The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York in the way that Barker sings and then the male vocalist returns her calls. It’s more dramatic than the other songs on the record as well, allowing the listener to see Barker’s fun and playful side.

Emily Barker

Emily Barker

There are layers to each track stopping any of them from becoming plain. Each track has it’s own unique style and sound which is something that really pushes this record way above other folk artists.

Barker’s vocals compliment every musical accompaniment and are interesting to say the least. She has such a unique voice. It’s powerful yet fluently changes to be angelic, soft and even fragile at times.

Almanac is a fantastic folk album. There isn’t a track that sticks out as being particularly bad or disappointing. Every song offers something to the listener. It’s an easy listen that contains beautiful lyrics, soft vocals and some of the best composed yet unpretentious folk music I’ve heard in a while.

Almanac is out on November 14 on Emily Barker’s own label, Everyone Sang.

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