Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo - Dear River
Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo’s fourth album Dear River is a triumph for both Ms Barker and her backing band. After self-financing her first three albums, this is the first with proper label backing, aided in no little way by the exposure that came with performing with Frank Turner at the Olympics opening ceremony last year. Headlining a sold out show at London’s famous Union Chapel proves, like Turner's steady rise, that Barker has laid the groundwork for a wider success.
Title track ‘Dear River’ works as a statement of intent of what Barker sets out to do with the album. She declares that she wants to be shown "Bright city lights and streets I've never seen", suggesting a journey which unfolds over the rest of the running time. ‘Tuesday’ has a catchy, folky feeling with the Red Clay Halo providing the perfect accompaniment to Barker’s voice. ‘Letters’ is a beautiful ballad - possibly one of the best of 2013 - with Barker delivering an enchanting yet fragile vocal performance. ‘Everywhen’ is a foray into country influences whilst ‘Ghost Narrative’ is an example of what she does best: a folk song with real soul to the words. The curious might find Dear River a little one dimensional in terms of overall feel and style, but for those already onside, Baker meets the already high expectations.