12 June 2007

Nancy Elizabeth



I have had a very pleasant evening, one of those rare, marvellous summer nights that mix exuberance with calm, and I'll tell you why. I ventured out into a part of town I have never been to before, wandered into a church and gave eight pounds to the studenty-looking gentleman sat inside the door. I then joined the congregation sat cross-legged on the joyfully rug-strewn floor and listened with great awe and (environmentally apt) reverence to two wonderful acts (with one diabolically dull one in between them). Headliner of the night was the magnificent and graceful Colleen; if you're a fan of experimental, instrumental loop-music with a slightly unsettling folky texture, go grab any one of her releases on the Leaf Label, because they're all great.

First up though was brand new Leaf Label signing Nancy Elizabeth (formerly Nancy Elizabeth Cunliffe, truncated as 'this is too much of a mouthful, plus no one outside of Wigan can pronounce Cunliffe properly').

In a world where, it seems, any old monkey can learn a few picking patterns, adopt an airy-fairy voice and call themselves a singer-songwriter, it's nice to finally see one so startlingly different from the current trend, they come across as a poised ballerina amongst a herd of lawnmowers.

The live, solo style of the music is much in the tradition of classic European folk, accompanying her rich, mellifluous vocals with acoustic guitar, a small harp and a suitably creaky-looking, golden stringed instrument I didn't recognise. Great care and attention has been placed into the composition of each song, lending the music an air of supreme craftsmanship I think is quite rare. I hope I am forgiven for finding it even more shocking that a sound so graceful can emerge from Wigan.

I couldn't find any downloads, I'm afraid, but I urge you to visit her myspace and listen to the two tracks appearing on there for streaming. 'Hey Son' is from her forthcoming album 'Battle and Victory', due for release on Leaf in September. This multi-instrumental recording has extra largess and grandeur not heard in her solo performance tonight--we'll have to wait and see if this operatic production style helps or hinders her songs on the album. In the meantime, if you live in London, Southport or Manchester, you can catch her play live over the next month. She will also be appearing at the Green Man Festival in August, along with every other folk musician in the universe.

[update] Echo found this link, containing a selection of mp3s from older releases:

Nancy Elizabeth's page at Timbreland Recordings

Thanks, echo! Enjoy, all.

3 comments:

echo said...

"In a world where, it seems, any old monkey can learn a few picking patterns, adopt an airy-fairy voice and call themselves a singer-songwriter, it's nice to finally see one so startlingly different from the current trend, they come across as a poised ballerina amongst a herd of lawnmowers."

:thumbs up:


Great find, thanks for that. How was Colleen by the way?

echo said...

http://www.timbreland.co.uk/artist_details/8_nancy+elizabeth+cunl.php

A few tracks there for download

slow_joe said...

Thanks for the link echo, I will edit my post to include it.