What: Emily Barker
Where: The Slaughtered lamb, London
When: Thursday 11th March 2010
Such is the modern celebrity media that it’s seldom, if ever, that you get to review a major award winning performer who you’ve never heard of before. However that was the position I was in tonight.
Emily Barker is a BAFTA award winner. Yes you read that right, the British Film and TV Awards. However if you expected a TV, soap star crossover gig you’d have been very disappointed.
If you also expected a BAFTA award winner to be playing in major venue you’d be further disappointed. The Slaughtered Lamb is an intimate venue with comfy sofas and a stage that is really a designated corner next to the bar.
Here’s where the disappointment ends though. I went into this gig with low expectations and was more than happy by the end of the evening. Two very enjoyable, if slightly quirky support acts kept my attention. First came interesting lyrics from Alex Highton and secondly a lovely duet of vocals/guitar and violin from Nancy Wallace and Jennymay Logan.
The main act Emily Barker is an Australian, Alternative Folk singer/songwriter and guitarist. Tonight she was joined by her band The Red Clay Halo providing, Cello, violin and flute/accordion. Her BAFTA was awarded for the title track to the Kenneth Branagh drama series “Wallander”. I wonder if the impact of that gets to her when she’s quoted as never having owned a TV set!
Emily’s music is both haunting and heart warming. The feel of the above mentioned award winning track called “Nostalgia” seems to encapsulate the Brooding Branagh as the Swedish Detective. Not all of Emily’s music would have you slitting your wrists in the Swedish eternal winter nights, there are jigs too. On “Fields of June” Emily was joined by her recently announced Fiancé Dom Coyote. This song worked really well as a duet and although the lyrics are about a troubled ending to a relationship, the delivery of Dom made me smile. They work very well together and the chemistry is evident.
Emily announced tonight that she has a sponsor for production of her new album. It’s an interesting collaboration with www.sparerooms.co.uk the leading UK flat share website. This may apparently lead to “The spareroom sessions” where you may end up with Emily performing a gig in your spareroom. When the Pet shop Boys did a gig from your living room for The Brits I never felt it working as a concept (unless you own a mansion and have a fairly large sized extension that is) however with Emily’s style of personal, heart felt lyrics this is one collaboration that could end up offering something that works really well.
My favourite track of the evening was Disappear, I’ve always loved the cello and love the way Jo Silverston drives the song on. I lost my virginity to a cellist so perhaps I’m biased. Or perhaps Freud would have something to say about my “latent” desires and the way a cellist sits. Anyway enough of me sharing my sordid past or I’ll need to start claiming therapy on the expenses!
Emily Barker is a great singer and song writer and I’m glad that she seems to want to be based in London not Australia. She may not own a TV but thanks to it she may well get the recognition she deserves.