'Despite The Snow' is the second studio album by Anglo-Australian quartet Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo.
'This is a stunningly beautiful album that you should track down and treasure.' Electric Ghost
'...a stunning collection of songs and an album that stands alone in the atmosphere it creates.' Penny Black Music
'With the release of ‘Despite the Snow', Emily Barker has recorded as strong a collection of acoustic folk songs that I have heard for a long time.' Americana UK
'...her voice rings clearly among the acoustic arrangements, stripped of studio frippery and all the better for it carefree simplicity.' Q
'Barker charts the flowering, the joy and the pain of a new love with intensity and insight...An album of quiet power.' Rock 'n' Reel
'Despite The Snow', the 2009 album by Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo, has been re-mastered and re-issued on Linn with three bonus tracks including alternate versions of both 'Disappear' and 'Oh Journey'. Emily's award-winning song 'Nostalgia', the theme music for the acclaimed BBC TV show Wallander, appears for the first time in both its original and bonus TV versions.
'Despite The Snow' was recorded live in just four days and the spontaneity of the performances is reflected in the simplicity of the production which showcases Emily's gorgeous voice and sharply observed lyrics. Critically acclaimed upon its release 'Despite The Snow' garnered several four star reviews and prompted The Times to declare: ‘The hills have yet to be emptied of gold if you know where to look.'
'‘Despite the Snow' was recorded live in just four days in a 16th-century barn in Norfolk, England over the Easter weekend of 2008 in which it snowed and snowed and snowed some more.
There is a long and winding story that connects the time between my debut solo album ‘Photos.Fires.Fables.' (First released in 2005) and this one.
The time between has meant that the songs have formed and developed through performing them live. It is this essence that I wanted to capture in the recording process. So for those who've seen us play, you'll easily recognise the songs here. No frills, no digital tricks of trade, just the raw, exposed versions you're accustomed to, that feature myself and my dear friends and musical companions: The Red Clay Halo (Gill, Jo and Anna.)
We did however, have the pleasure of additional company in Tom Mason who played double bass and Dan See who played drums. They accompanied us on the first two days but, due to technical difficulties, and freezing condtitions (causing instruments to bend and fingers to not respond as requested) we were not able to use a lot of the versions of songs with full band line up.
For the quartet recordings we sat in a circle with a microphone in front of each of us, and two microphones above us. We played through the songs until we felt we'd got a winner.
During a tea break in the last hour on the final day, I started to play a dusty number written long ago, called ‘Bloated, blistered, aching heart.' Gill wandered over to the battered old upright piano and promptly began to accompany me. Jo picked up her saw and bent out some haunting melodies. Eric, our patient and meticulous engineer, hastily re-arranged the microphones and we recorded the song. We played it twice and chose the second take.
A similar process occurred with the recording of ‘The Greenway.' We had come to the end of our recording weekend and were upstairs in the listening room trying to come to terms with the completion of such an intense few days. I couldn't bear to finish. So, despite hand spasms and a knackered set of vocal chords, I picked up my guitar and played another forgotten-about song in front of just one microphone. This was the organic nature of our recording experience.
The title ‘Despite the Snow' is taken from a poem by Robert Graves called ‘She tells her love while half asleep.' It is a love poem. Most of the songs on the album are, unashamedly, inspired by the same theme. They are songs written during a time of self-discovery through the discovery of another.
Thank you to all involved in making this album happen for us.'