When Emily Barker’s voice soars, it seems so effortless and the tone is so beautiful and clear that the listener is utterly absorbed into the song and the moment. Once again, Barker’s performance is captivating in this new single, which features long-time collaborator and touring partner Frank Turner. Their evident strong friendship adds an extra dimension to their vocal interplay and harmonies in the well-crafted ‘Bound for Home’. The pair’s delicate guitar and melodious voices sit atop achingly gorgeous strings in this live version, which was recorded as part of their recent Barker-turner Overdrive livestream. Lucas Drinkwater’s double bass adds richness, warmth and texture. Watching the players at work, lost in the music, is a joy.
‘Bound for Home’ is lyrically fascinating, tackling themes of decline, isolation and the nature of memory. Barker recalls the inspiration for the song: “It was a day when I was feeling particularly homesick. Frank read me Clive James’s poem ‘Leçons De Ténèbres’ and told me about how James was in hospital in Cambridge, too ill to return home: his memories of growing up in the suburbs of Sydney became the muse for so much of his work. He was as fascinated with how we remember, as much as with the memories themselves.” This song became particularly meaningful for Barker, who found herself stuck in her adopted UK home and unable to see family in Australia during the pandemic.
Barker and Turner recorded the song together during the sessions for Barker’s well-received 2020 album, ‘A Dark Murmuration of Words’. This outstanding record was nominated for the AMAUK’s UK Album of the year and is essential listening if you missed it at the time but, first, immerse yourself in ‘Bound for Home’ and complete the experience by reading the incredibly poignant poem by Clive James that sparked it all.