Belwood Music Awards 2020

It’s time to celebrate not only the blog’s 6th birthday, but also the chance to say a wholehearted “fuck you!” as we finally leave 2020 behind. It’s been a deeply challenging year, and the road ahead is still rough and uncertain, but if there’s anything we can take away from our time in quarantine, it is learning to better appreciate the little things in life. Even a music industry left battered by the impact of Covid and incompetent governments has still been able to produce some incredible releases for us to cling on to. Before we put this crazy year in the rear view mirror, let’s take one last look back at the music that helped us through it all. Continue reading

Top Ten EPs of 2020

The medium of choice for rising stars, an invaluable tool for up and coming artists, EPs are the oft overlooked lifeblood of the music industry. It’s always been our most hotly contested list as the wealth of great EPs often represents the very best and brightest new acts on the scene. In a music industry decimated by Covid-19 however, these artists are amongst those hardest hit. So as we reel off our favourite EPs from our least favourite year, if you stumble across a release that resonates with you, we ask that you do your bit to support the artists in whatever way you can. Continue reading

Top Tracks: Sophie Morgan – Unwinnable War

The best things in life are worth fighting for, even if it occasionally means clashing with those we care about. Even with those we hold closest to our hearts, the ones we love and our dearest friends and family, you’re likely to fall out every once in a while. The mark of a strong relationship isn’t making out that everything is perfect, but through confronting problems and ultimately emerging stronger on the other side. That said, sometimes we can find ourselves chasing an “other side” that simply isn’t there. You can end up fighting tooth and nail with someone to keep them in your life, only to be blinded to the fact that the fight is all you know. ‘Unwinnable War’ is the realisation that they’re not worth the energy. Belwood favourite Sophie Morgan has really outdone herself with this latest single. Her vocals carry the same distinctive warmth and elegance as ever, and yet somehow every sublime lyric seems to roll off her tongue with more clarity and meaning than ever before. The soft and sparse arrangement swaying back and forth, punctuated with a brief mournful howl of guitar. The bittersweet melodies that tug at your heartstrings and linger in your thoughts. There’s no fight when it comes to loving this song, it welcomes you with open arms. This stunning single is a poignant reminder that sometimes the bravest course you can take isn’t to keep fighting, but to admit that it’s time to walk away.

Top Tracks: Sophie Morgan – Bar to Bar

A common piece of advice for writers is that you should write what you know. The same applies to songwriters; when you create music that tells the tale of your life, about the experiences that shaped you, it can make a world of difference. There’s a certain electricity in the air when you can tell an artist has poured their heart into a song and has crafted something very human and relatable. That feeling is perfectly encapsulated in Belwood favourite Sophie Morgan’s latest offering ‘Bar to Bar’, which tells her story of starting out in music, writing songs, gigging across town, and falling in and out of love along the way. While most songs about life on the road tend to glamorise playing to massive crowds or a life of excess behind the scenes, it’s so refreshing to hear a humble depiction of a musical journey just beginning and the loves and losses that come with it. Especially when it shares the same wistful poeticism and gorgeous honeyed vocals that left us so enamoured with Sophie’s last release. If this track from her latest EP Marmalade (out 20th March) is anything to go by, then the humble origins shared in ‘Bar to Bar’ were just the first step along the road to great things.

Top Ten EPs of 2018

top ten epsThese lists aren’t final until they are up on the site to give a chance to those November and December releases that often get forgotten. That said, a basic list usually gets drafted quite far in advance as a guide. This list however is the exception. It took a long time to narrow down to a top ten, and even longer to decide on the final order. It’s been an impressively consistent year for EPs across the board, but after much deliberation I’ve settled on my final rankings. Continue reading

Spotlight!: Sophie Morgan

sophie morganHave you ever gone for a walk at sunset? You could be walking along the most unassuming path, strolling past scenery you’ve seen a million times and take for granted, yet by some trick of the light it feels like a whole new world. The trees and houses glimmer with golden light, the clouds awash with colour like some impressionist painting, and you’re greeted at every turn by a chorus of birdsong. I get that exact same feeling listening to Sophie Morgan. This Cheshire born singer/songwriter doesn’t carve out a new path, she follows the trails carved out by generations of artists before her, but does so in a way shines some fresh perspective on it and makes it feel as though you’re experiencing things again for the first time. ‘Sons & Daughters’ is the kind of track that runs through your head when you just take a moment to yourself to watch the world drift by, while the delicate and dreamy ‘Lemony Girl’ reminds me of Billie Marten. Her mature songwriting on tracks like ‘Above You’ is remarkable for an artist so early in their career, while the Nick Drake inspired ‘Black Dog’ shows Sophie at her very best, her angelic vocals rising at its climax to meet the elegant swell of strings.

Fans of Billie Marten, Jade Bird, Hannah Grace and Freya Ridings should check out Sophie’s new EP Sons & Daughters.