Something for the long weekend: Emily Barker “With Small We Start”

Well that’s it from us for another week dear reader.  A shout out to Irish artists Elaine Mai, MayKay, and Faye O’Rourke who have collaborated on a new charity single ‘We Are’ alongside Rand, Rwand, Reem, Sara, Omar, and Ahmad who live in Aida Refugee Camp in the Occupied West Bank – it’s not even vaguely Americana but you can support them over at Bandcamp here. We leave you with a track from the new album by the wonderful Emily Barker (Every time I have bumped into Emily in recent years incidentally I’ve been crying – watching a Paul Kelly gig (which normally reduces me to a wreck), being sung at in a dark box in a foyer at AmericanaFest, the list goes on).  “Fragile as Humans” is out today, not sure we’ve been sent a review copy sadly [Stop Press, we have now!] but on the evidence of this track taken from it, it sounds like it’s something very special indeed.

Emily comments on the song: “Often what starts out being a story about someone else, becomes a story about yourself, or rather, you realise it was you all along. I wrote the vocal melody of this song on a piano at a writing residency at Hawkwood, Stroud then left it alone for months before returning to it when I was next in Australia. I’d been spending time with my dad who loves to drink red wine in the evenings and sit in his leather armchair reading crime thrillers, just like his mum before him (though her favoured tipple was brandy).

I can’t remember if his bookmark had a photo of northern lights on it or if there was one on the cover of National Geographic magazine sitting on the coffee table, or if I made that up entirely but can picture either of those as truth. Anyway, I remember thinking how I’d quite like to see the northern lights one day and then how Dad, by contrast, is so content with where he is, what he’s doing, with the bonsai plants he tends to daily, with the vegetables he’s growing, and with getting a decent crema on his coffee in the morning.

I realised how much wisdom and beauty there is in that way of life, how contentment is about attitude. There’s so much power in keeping life small – connection on a local level, keeping plants watered, family and friendships loved.”

If you can, do support your local events in support of Palestine this weekend – details here. Take care and have a good one.

About Mark Whitfield 2031 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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Annie Hughes

Very good advice. Love the understated singing and arrangement, too!