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Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo - Dear River - Planet Music


23 June 2013
Planet Music

I am a huge fan of Emily's work. Even though I have not seen her perform live since The Slaughtered Lamb show back in 2009 I have still been hypnotised by the material that she has produced. The 3rd studio album Almanac which was funded by fans via Pledge Music and spareroom.com was simply sensational. Two years later Barker is back with her brand new record Dear River and I have been lucky enough to hear a preview of it.

After having listened to the whole album it makes me relish the prospect of witnessing them performed within a live setting. Basically there is not a single bad track on Dear River and I thoroughly enjoyed it from its start to the very end. Emily is one talented singer-songwriter and the vocals are very entrancing. Now I adored every track on this 11 track record, it doesn't disappoint. Barker's phenomenal vocals shine on every tune. My favourites have to be Letters (which is about her Dutch grandfather's experience during WWII), the soft Sleeping Horses and The Cormorant And The Heron sent shivers up my spine. Also the closing number is extraordinary, at first The Blackwood started off as an acapella which showcased Emily's flawless vocals for almost a minute and then the band then came in.

Those 4 songs were my personal highlights but the other 7 that feature were superb. You have the albums title track Dear River as its opener then followed by Tuesday. Both of these being big band numbers. Tuesday actually sounds rather epic and there is even an accordion played throughout the song. The Leaving was very chilled out whilst Everywhen was an upbeat tune which can easily get you tapping your toe. Harmonica is present throughout the laid back Ghost Narrative. Finally there is A Spadeful Of Ground and In The Winter I Returned, both being brilliant tunes that you will fall in love with.

Overall Dear River does not disappoint and if you love your folk music then this album is for you. After having played this back I can most definitely say that I will be purchasing this wonderful album.


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