I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from tonight’s gig. Having been drawn to Emily Barker’s music when she was writing and playing folk tunes with the Red Clay Halo, then seeing her briefly transition herself into one third of Applewood Road (alongside Amber Rubarth and Amy Space) out in Nashville, and now watching her take the country vibe solo on her new album ‘Sweet Kind of Blue’, it was hard to figure where she’d place it. Presumably she’d be promoting the latter, but I can’t have been the only one hoping that everything else hadn’t been completely thrown out of the window.
Thankfully it hasn’t and when she opened with ‘Dear River’, the title track from Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo’s third and final full length album, I felt like the punt might be worth it. With the smattering of older tracks, like ‘Litter Deaths’ and ‘Ghost Narrative’, It was enough for me to give the new album, which I’ve really struggled to listen to despite ever desperate efforts, a go live. I’d like to say that in doing so I’ve been bowled over by the new sound, but despite some moments where I felt the material had been bolstered by the live band I left very much as I entered – liking the Emily Barker of old and feeling nostalgic for the days of ‘Nostalgia’.