Top Tracks: Mark Elliott – Talk To Yourself

We’re all our own fiercest critics. We make mountains out of every molehill, overthinking the kind of flaws and failures in our lives that no one else would pay any mind to. We fixate on every minor bump in the road, and never give our little victories the time and attention they deserve, to the point where we lose perspective on just how much progress we’ve made. But the people we hold dear often know us better than we know ourselves, and where we see the worst they see the very best in us. A caring mother will beam with pride at how far you’ve come even if you feel stuck in a rut, and a good friend will pick you up when you feel low and remind you of all the ways you make their life richer. With ‘Talk To Yourself’, seasoned songwriter Mark Elliott presents the sage advice that we should look at ourselves through their eyes once in a while, and offer the same reassuring words that they would when times get tough. This wholesome and heart-warming slice of Americana, every bit as smooth and soulful as Chris Stapleton’s ‘Tennessee Whiskey’, carries an uplifting charm that just brightens the room every time. An early song of the year contender, we could all benefit from basking in its warm glow and taking its wise words to heart.

Top Tracks: Sophie Morgan – Always

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for character driven songs. Those moments when an artist decides to walk awhile in someone else’s shoes and tell a part of their story. Often I find it offers that little extra hit of escapism, something we could all use with these dark and lonely lockdown days getting us down. As it happens though, ‘Always’ hits pretty close to home in that regard, as it tells the tale of someone for whom isolation feels all too familiar. “I had that first line “leave the tv on” about watching dodgy daytime television shows… It made me think of elderly people, maybe who have lost their significant other, spending most days dreaming of special nights dancing together, losing a little bit of sanity with each passing day alone“. Such moving inspiration has lovingly been brought to reality with this sublime new single. Sophie Morgan’s signature wistful warmth and vivid imagery offering a bittersweet blend of the blissful escape of nostalgia and the painful pangs of loneliness. The song is stunning as ever from this Belwood favourite, but it’s the accompanying video that really sets it apart. The wonderful choreography capturing all the grace and elegance of the golden age of Hollywood, but all the while the façade ready to fall away and bring us back to reality.

Top Tracks: Bertie Newman – Lost

We so often hear about the pain of break-ups, less so about about the debilitating wave of confusion that accompanies it. The struggle of knowing where to turn and how to carry on when someone that had become a huge part of your life leaves a daunting void in their wake when they’re gone. True to its name, ‘Lost’ perfectly captures the adrift feeling that comes with a broken heart. Trying to disentangle yourself from all the ways your lives were once interwoven, not knowing who to turn to as the person you were closest to is now gone. Even looking back on the time you shared together can leave you facing mixed feelings; are you grateful for those happy memories, or sad that you won’t get the chance to make more of them together. With the heartfelt folk of his debut single, promising singer/songwriter Bertie Newman delivers the kind of relatable lyricism, soft wistful vocals and mellow idyllic arrangements that instantly win you over. It’s a stunning first release, a track that sees Bertie wear his hurt and doubt proudly on his sleeve, and already all I need to call him “one to watch” in my book.

Top Tracks: Jenny Kern – Coming Back For Me

I recall once reading about the quietest room in the world. How people can only endure being inside it for a few minutes at a time, as the deafening silence allows you to hear the sounds of your body that the world would otherwise drown out. In a way I feel like this phenomenon applies to any extended period of isolation – something we’ve all had in abundance this past year. It’s when we’re alone with our thoughts that our minds wander the most. Somehow the quiet stillness of solitude is all it takes to open the floodgates. All those fears you dare not acknowledge, the memories long faded rushing back in vivid detail, the pent-up emotions you hoped would simply fade away; all surging unbidden to the forefront of your thoughts. It’s a difficult feeling that can make you want to run and drown it all out again. But by learning to embrace these moments, by learning to be okay with being alone, we can better process all the unseen and unspoken tension wearing us down. It’s a sentiment perfectly suited to Jenny Kern’s signature introspective style. With this new track from her forthcoming EP, full of fine details to discover on further listens, Jenny’s dreamy vocals and the slow burning soundscape provides all the company you need for a quiet night of reflection.

Spotlight!: BE GOOD

be goodThere’s something strangely compelling about those few hours where the late afternoon fades into the early evening. In that bewitching liminal space between night and day, we see so much change in such a short space of time, evoking a wide array of different feelings. The warm glow of golden hour that can make even the most mundane and dreary setting feel magical. The way the sunset bathes the sky in colour like an impressionist painting; a vibrant canvas of pinks and oranges that you can’t help but stare up at with a sense of childlike wonder. The eerie blue haze of dusk as those last lingering rays of sunlight cling on as darkness seeps into the sky. Oxford quartet BE GOOD condense the bittersweet beauty inherent in each sunset into their latest EP Everything’s Alright in the Evening. Continue reading