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Emily Barker – UK Artist of the Year

The UK Americana Music Association held their third annual awards ceremony earlier this week and their UK Artist of the Year was Emily Barker.

One of my favorite albums of 2017 was Sweet Kind of Blue recorded in Memphis at Sam Philips Recording Services. This was the first album I’d ever contributed to a pledge music campaign for and I’m so glad I did. On the album she’s backed by a stellar cast of Memphis musicians and it was produced by Matt Ross-Spang, who engineered and mixed Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free album. He also worked at Sun Studios for eleven years prior to that, so there was no better man to produce Sweet Kind of Blue.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a great review of the album by Mike Ainscoe on the Louder than War website, check it out here

I mentioned in an earlier post that I saw Blue Rose Code at the 2013 Americana Music Festival in Nashville on the BBC Introducing showcase, well also on that bill was Emily Barker. That was when I first heard her and I was immediately hooked. I saw her a couple of years later performing in a church in Oxford, England and heard her perform an incredible version of Do Right Woman. She also performed Fields of June with the guy who was her support act for the evening. Not sure that forgetting his name is a sign of my memory going or an indication that he wasn’t that memorable. I mention that because the recorded version of Fields of June was performed by Emily Barker and Frank Turner. And it was Frank Turner who presented Emily Barker with the UK Artist of the Year award.

And well deserved it is too!

Check out the video for Sweet Kind of Blue

And that’s the latest addition to my Track of the Day playlist

 

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Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo – From Nashville to Oxford

Since I’ve moved to Georgia from the UK, one of the few habits I’ve retained has been my weekly listen to the Bob Harris Sunday show on BBC Radio 2, courtesy of the BBC iPlayer. It was while listening to last Sunday’s show (April 27th 2014) that I heard him play Aretha Franklin‘s Do Right Woman performed by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo.

Hearing this brought back memories of them performing a brilliant version of this at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford, back in October 2013.  This was the closing number to what had been an excellent evening’s entertainment. The evening hadn’t started too well as I’d got drenched walking to the church (walking to the church, now there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be writing on my blog!). My mood was soon brightened by the support act Chris T-T, who if I recall sang a couple of songs about Winnie the Pooh. Anyone who sings about Winnie the Pooh is alright with me!

As to Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, the acoustics in the church, enhanced the songs they performed, with occasional lightening flashes through the stained glass windows adding to the atmosphere. They played a few songs from their latest album Dear River, the highlights for me being the title track, which they opened with, and Letters. They also performed a couple of soundtracks, my favorite being the theme from Wallander,Nostalgia

For an the encore, Chris T-T, took the Frank Turner role, in Fields of June
and a damn fine job he did too! The evening finished with the aforementioned Do Right Woman, and Emily Barker more than did justice to this classic.

I was lucky enough to meet Emily and the members of the Red Clay Halo after the gig, and they kindly signed a copy of the setlist!

Emily Barker - Setlist 22 Oct.2013

So I’ve mentioned Oxford, where does Nashville fit in? Well during the previous month, I was lucky enough to attend the Americana Music Festival, with my then fiance, and now wife, Tara. During the festival, the BBC hosted a BBC Introducing Stage at the Hard Rock Cafe, and one of the acts was Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo. With all due respect to the other two acts who performed that evening, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, were by far and away the best act.

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And here’s a YouTube video of Disappear from that very set

However, as good as they were, the highlight of the evening was getting to meet the compere for the evening,Whispering” Bob Harris himself. It was on his show that I first heard Emily Barker, and she is the latest of so many artists that I’ve been introduced to as a result of listening to Bob Harris‘s radio shows. For more years than I care to remember I’ve been listening to his shows and to meet him in person was great, and what was even better was that he was such a nice person, taking time out at the end of the evening to pose for photographs and sign autographs.

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