I think it’s fair to say, without the risk of sounding sexist, that the album currently playing on my stereo is one written by a female and largely intended for a female audience. It’s true that within most arenas of creativity, be it books, films, television shows or music that if you can capture the female audience, you’ve got a hit. We all remember the fuss surrounding the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ books, and ‘The Greatest Showman’, a film released quite recently, panned by critics but audiences loved it.
I have been lucky to be inundated with a deluge of pretty outstanding rootsy and Americana albums of late, from both side of the Atlantic, and even amongst the benchmarks set by that pile of great music, Vicky Emerson still manages to stand out. There is a wonderful resonance, which emanates from the heart of the music, something that is more than about just the songs themselves, great though they are, something much more than the sum of the parts.
For in these would-be modern classics, there is richness, a subtly textured craftsmanship and the ghost of past traditions that mix with her more contemporary styles. Songs such as Silhouette showcase what an emotive voice she has whilst painting ethereal atmospheres behind dexterous finger picked strings whilst for contrast Runaway Train takes more country folk routes but is still laced with a reflective and melancholy heart.
And it is these delicate brush strokes and half seen details which project her music beyond just another truck stop country band; old world folk blends with southern musical voices, European café vibes and the glitz of Nashville tradition is made to echo with real heartache rather than merely pulling commercial heartstrings. And that’s the trick isn’t it? Authenticity and Vicky Emerson has it in spades along side a myriad of influences, which talk of travel, and a broad appreciation of a much wider musical world and if you step beyond just the casual listen to this album (and you will, trust me) you will hear it between every word, every note and every beat.