Top Tracks: Samuel James Taylor – Wild Tales and Broken Hearts

We’re all the author of our own story, so long as we can muster the strength to tell the tale our hearts long to tell. It’s easier said than done though, admittedly. When you’re a young idealist it’s almost second nature to find joy in little things and believe that anything is possible, but as the years pass and life throws up more and more unexpected obstacles and setbacks, it’s only natural to be discouraged and feel that the days of adventure and ambition are behind you. ‘Wild Tales and Broken Hearts’ offers a reminder that beyond every barricade lies a road less travelled. You’ve made it this far, so you owe it to yourself to remember what drove your idealistic self down that road to begin with, and to see the journey to its end. Tyke troubadour Samuel James Taylor turns his own story into one of resilience and passions reignited with this latest single. The title track from his forthcoming album, out 21st October, its spirited folk arrangement and heartening message to keep striving for the life you wanna live make it the ideal anthem to help you push through hardship and hold on to the dream of better days.

Spotlight!: Ber

A big part of what draws me to support up-and-coming artists is the chance to see a work in progress. In a way it feels like reading the first draft of a story and having your future favourite character leap off the page for the first time, or getting a glimpse behind the scenes of a film in production before it hits the big screen and seeing how all the pieces come together. There’s an inherent joy in seeing the spark of an idea begin to take shape and form into something great. As far as music is concerned, hearing those first singles, those explorative early EPs, the build-up to a debut album where an artist finds both their sound and their confidence, is endlessly endearing. Often hearing a record that’s rough around the edges, but has heaps of promise and personality, feels far more rewarding than a fully polished product. A notepad full of scribbles says a lot more about a person than some aloof CV. And I’m Still Thinking About That, the debut EP from Minnesotan singer/songwriter Ber, is the most heart-melting example of this that I’ve heard in a good while. Continue reading

Top Tracks: Lily Agnes – Messy As My Mind

Whether it’s being stuck staring at the same four walls in lockdown, struggling to pull yourself out of a depressive hollow, or just another one of those sleepless nights, there are few things as demoralising as being left alone with your thoughts. It’s amazing all the unspoken fears, repressed insecurities, and memories best left forgotten that worm their way to the surface when you’ve no one but your own subconscious for company. Hard to be productive when your train of thought is bouncing around like a Roomba from one anxious worry to another; and it’s in these moments that we become our own worst critics, questioning every decision we’ve ever made. It’s a familiar situation for us all, but rarely has overthinking ever sounded this good. With ‘Messy As My Mind’ singer/songwriter Lily Agnes puts her own soulful stamp on those listless nights. Between the elegant jazz arrangement, intricate and expressive percussion, and Lily’s intoxicating vocals hitting your system like a shot of whisky, there’s no better track to help drown out those inner demons.

Live Review: Barn on the Farm Festival 2022

After two years away from my favourite place on Earth, to say that I was excited to return to Barn on the Farm this summer would be a massive understatement. Over the years it’s become such an integral part of the calendar, like Christmas, that having summers without it due to Covid felt like missing a limb. Still clutching on to my original 2020 ticket, stepping back onto Over Farm at long last felt like coming home. But after struggling through two years of pandemic upheaval, and with the dizzying highs of their stellar ten-year anniversary being a tough act to follow, expectations were high. Continue reading

Top Tracks: Davis John Patton – Vacant Airport

Sometimes love isn’t about those that would rush to your side at a moments notice. Instead, true love is often about those that are still there by your side when everyone else is gone. It’s one thing to say “always” or “forever“, but it’s another to genuinely mean it and put it into practice. Iowa based singer/songwriter Davis John Patton captures this kind of commitment and devotion brilliantly with his new track ‘Vacant Airport’. Told through the metaphor of waiting at an empty terminal, completely deserted and devoid of life, for the one arrival that truly matters, it beautifully reflects the lofty romantic ideal of being the last one standing – that us-against-the-world mentality – through the lens of a small act of everyday love. It’s all delivered with an earnestness that leaves you in no doubt that Davis would wait a hundred years without a moment’s hesitation. Airy melodies, wistful bittersweet vocals, and with a soft introspection that recalls Hollow Coves and early Bon Iver, ‘Vacant Airport’ is an essential addition for your most mellow and reflective playlist.