Sun To My Moon –  Lucy Kitchen (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

LucyCoverlowresIn a musical world that seems ever more dictated by fad and fashion, driven by bluster and bombast, concerned with big statements and immediate responses, it is reassuring to know that there are still artists unaffected by such concerns. Lucy Kitchen is everything that the usual modern approach is not. Her songs are deft and delicate, built on clean-limbed and gentle lines and embellished with only the absolutely essential sonic details. Beats are minimal, textures subtly woven and the music feels nothing more than gossamer and smoke-like layers skilfully interlaced to maintain a musical weightlessness.

That may sound like some ethereal dreampoppery, where music is swapped out for atmospherics, but that isn’t what is going on here. Sun to My Moon is an album of songs that are perfectly formed, balanced and melodic, it’s just that in their perfection they require little else to bring them to the listener. Conciseness is next to godliness perhaps! And all this room leaves her fragile and fragrant vocals front and centre to be better appreciated, better absorbed, to remain the focal point of the album.

Having only encountered Lucy as a solo act, the way that these songs have been recorded with a full band shows a wonderful understanding as to how best to serve them. Rather than driving them to new heights the extra instrumentation serves merely to capture their heart. Songs such as Hollow and Searching For Land are brilliant examples of the less is more philosophy with each player finding their way to the essence of the song and underlining it.

Lovers in Blue strip things back to the barest essentials, Charis is reminiscent of Suzanne Vega which is a pretty high accolade in my book and Lovers and Sorrow carries the same melancholic air that you find in Damien Rice’s groundbreaking O. You had me at cello! But despite my comparisons, a bad journalistic habit, there is more here that is original than reminiscent, much more. Sun To My Moon is a gorgeous collection, one which proves beyond doubt that when you write such beguiling and gorgeous songs they can easily stand, and indeed deftly dance, on their own two delicate feet.


Lucy Kitchen at The Roaring Donkey, Swindon

548851_240757159376189_749325964_nAfter a few articles that wandered between valedictory pieces, state of the nation addresses and barely contained rants, I thought I should write a more conventional piece for two reasons. Firstly, I probably need to calm down a bit and secondly the artist in question was one of the most captivating performers I have witnessed in a long time. The debate often rages about how you keep folk music fresh and up to date, how best to fuse it with modern genres to move it on. In Lucy Kitchen you have an artist who is the antithesis of that and who stays true to the traditionalist ideas of the seventies folk revival and the music is all the better for it. Leave it to the likes of Mumford and The Whale to clumsily repackage the genre to sell to city yuppies called Toby, for in Lucy’s music you will find the real heart of the genre.

With many a passing reference both musically and sartorially to Joni Mitchell, here we find something that defies cliché but will have you reaching for such over-wrought literary ones as ethereal, gossamer, delicate and enchanting. This is truly original stuff and in an ironic exception that proves the rule she manages to pull off the only worthwhile cover of a Damien Rice song I have ever heard largely because she is one of the few artists I have come across able to conjure those same otherworldly atmospheres (though do check out My Northern Sky.)

With just the right amount of “newness” to stop this being a pastiche but with full understanding of her place in the folk tradition, Lucy’s music is an enthralling experience and it is easy to see why she made it to the live finals for this year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent Stage. Who’d have thought you could find such a musical gem in a back street boozer in Swindon on a Wednesday night.

(first published in The Ocelot May ’15.)

New Music of The Day – XXVII : 3 A.M. – Nick Tann

10178147_10151778093697168_673800213247192416_nLikened to a mixture of John Mayer and Counting Crows with generous helping of John Martyn and Elvis Costello with a Jeff Buckley chaser, Nick is certainly starting to make an impact.

Tom Robinson said “I love your work , powerful passionate stuff. This (“Never Did You Harm”) is my fave of the tracks you’ve sent so far” prior to playing it on his BBC Radio 6 Music show. Following up with “Plenty of other radio shows and blogs out there who need to hear your excellent tunes”.

Known as the hardest working solo musician in the country, Nick’s long running podcast “Is This Thing on Independent Music Podcast” continues to attract thousands of listeners every month, his live showcase featuring other independent artists “The Courtyard Sessions” has been a run away success. Nick can also be heard playing double bass on folk up and comer Lucy Kitchen’s new album “Awaken” and slide guitar on a new track by rising star Antoine Architeuthis. New York artist Jennie Walker fell in love with and is currently performing Nick’s song “Don’t” on the New York underground circuit.

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