Emily Barker - YouTube
  • Emily Barker - Introducing the new album Sweet Kind of Blue

    864 views 3 weeks ago
    Pre-order the new album and limited exclusives here: http://smarturl.it/eb-memphis

    Emily Barker's new album was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis with Grammy winner Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and an all star cast of Memphis session players: Rick Steff (keys), Steve Potts (drums), Dave Smith (bass) and Dave Cousar (guitar). For Emily’s fans, it will be a new sound: as Matt Ross-Spang suggested to Emily in persuading her to record the album at Sam Phillips, there's a certain groove that only Memphis can produce. For Emily herself, it’s a return to where her love of music started: far away from Memphis or London, singing her heart out to Aretha Franklin records in her bedroom in sleepy Bridgetown, Western Australia.

    I feel like I’ve come full circle.

    When I was a teenager, I got really into sixties soul singers, Aretha being my favourite. At twelve years old, my tiny country town in the south west of Australia, Bridgetown, hosted its first Blues Festival. What was, on a daily basis, a population of 2,000 people, suddenly became 7,000 for three days on the second weekend in November 1993.

    Every café and pub, the town hall, school assembly room, the show ground’s oval all became venues, with Blues music bass lines bouncing down the street and clashing in the air. The following year, my high school suddenly upped its game in the music department, and went from having the option of learning recorder or playing a Casio keyboard, to having a drum kit, a couple of electric guitars, electric basses and vocal microphones. Everyone became a musician. I became a singer. I auditioned for the school's Year 10 band, and got the role! Being in love with soul and blues, we learned Chuck Berry’s ‘Go Johnny Go!’, Wilson Pickett’s ‘Mustang Sally’, Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’, Koko Taylor’s ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ and many others. I performed at school assemblies and graduation ceremonies and after school I would shut myself in my room and have a Best of Aretha compilation on repeat as I taught myself how to “belt it out” without losing my voice.

    So I feel like I’ve come full circle, because the album I have just recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis; the songs, the recording studio, the sound, the musicians, the feel; it all tips its hat and winks back to those last days before I hit my teens, falling in love with singing and falling in love with soul and blues music.

    Just being in Memphis felt like one of those moments when you have to pinch yourself and say "this is really happening", and "wow, look where my life has lead me!" A south-west Aussie country bumpkin kid who used to lose her voice learning to sing in her bedroom, goes to Memphis, Tennessee, to make an album in a studio built by Sam Phillips, the man who forever changed the course of music history by bringing blues and rock ‘n’ roll to the world… without whom, that Bridgetown Blues Festival may never have happened.

    I keep thinking of Dusty Springfield. Did you see the documentary ‘Definitely Dusty’? We dreamed the same dream.

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  • The Toerag Sessions Play all

    The Toerag Sessions is a collection of solo versions of some of my songs, recorded live to 2-track tape at Toerag Studios in London with grammy-winning producer Liam Watson (The White Stripes - Elephant).

    “seduces you with its sumptuous sound, but rewards further listening with the unfolding of the performer’s heart” HiFi Choice *****
    "the very definition of essential listening" FolkRadio
    "quality from beginning to end" Spiral Earth
    "A masterpiece, by an artist at the very top of her game.” For Folk’s Sake
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  • Applewood Road Play all

    In September 2014, three songwriters met for the first time in a cafe in East Nashville. By the next morning they had put the finishing touches to their first song, 'Applewood Road', which they recorded live to tape at Nashville's all analogue studio, Welcome to 1979.

    The song's nostalgic air, along with the clear, sparse arrangement of three vocals accompanied by double bass, drew immediate positive response, and they decided to expand the idea into a full album.

    Six months later, they reconvened to write, rehearse and record songs for the self-titled album Applewood Road. The songs were again performed live around a single microphone at Welcome to 1979 and recorded to two-track tape with minimal accompaniment from some of Nashville’s finest session players, including Aaron Lee Tasjan, Josh Day, Fats Kaplin, Jabe Beyer, and Telisha Williams.

    The tapes were assembled at London’s most exclusive high-end mastering suite, Gearbox Records, mastered through their vintage analogue outboard, and lacquers cut in-house on their own Heaco lathe.

    Applewood Road is Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace.
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  • Vena Portae Play all

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  • Songs Beneath The River Play all

    We had always planned to record these four songs as an EP, and a series of chance meetings led to us receiving an invitation to record them direct to vinyl. The recording process was unlike anything we’d ever done before. Yes, we have recorded live previously - our album Despite the Snow was recorded in four days in a freezing cold barn in Norfolk, and many of our concerts have been recorded as well - but with these previous recordings, there was always the opportunity to edit parts, adding effects, mixing, mastering, and generally the potential to iron out any mistakes. With the direct-to-vinyl recording process, there is no room for error. Each side is recorded in a single take, mixed and mastered as you perform. You even have to time your own five-second gap, or thereabouts, between the songs whilst the technician on the cutting lathe does what is called a “scroll” (a faster revolution of the pitch motor in order to move the cutting stylus along faster, thereby creating more “land” between the grooves – in case you were wondering...).

    Talk about pressure! I don’t think any of us dared to breathe during our takes. Anyway, we’re really pleased to say that, despite a few “quirky” moments, we managed to get through Side A and then on to Side B with no major mistakes. And in fact, even more than that, we’re quite proud of our performance overall and love the warmth and quality of the sound achieved through this wonderfully antiquated recording method.

    So why Songs Beneath The River? The four songs on the EP were chosen from the list we had put together of music that informed and inspired the writing and arranging on our album Dear River...
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  • Dear River Lyric Videos - Full Album Play all

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