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  • Words Chris Farlie

Emily Mae Winters - Trefusis Hall - Cecil Sharp House


Cecil Sharp House is a wonderful building, on the edges of Camden Town full of different sized venues. In a room to our right there seem to be 15 violinists practicing, and the Trefusis room where we are currently gathered also doubles as a training room for Strictly! It's a very wide room affording everyone a perfect view. The stage is simply set with a double bass, a couple of guitars and a small keyboard for the return to London, of Emily Mae Winters as she starts an album preview tour for her second album "High Romance" which will be produced by award-winning producer Matt Ingram

Five months ago at the Green Note, she gave us the first sightings of a batch of new songs and it is fascinating to see how they have developed, As with that night she is today joined by John Parker providing a rich warm double bass across many tracks as well as a bit of occasional percussion via the side of his instrument along with Jamie Leeming on guitar, who had his eyes seemingly glued to Emily Mae's guitar as he supplied backing on electric guitar, always in sympathy with whichever song was being played and never showy or threatening to overpower any song.

Emily Mae herself, always provides an endearing figure, her charming way of addressing the audience as "Ladies & Gentleman" has the feel of a music hall MC, while at the same time she is easily able to build a great empathy with her audience and chat about all sorts of things.Her key attribute of course being a voice that is a fusion of many styles, you will hear elements of country, folk, and Irish music throughout the evening sometimes more than one in a single song.

The opening songs "This Land" and "Lately" both seem to have developed, with the playing and phrasing oozing confidence, the former brooding and atmospheric while the latter seems already a good bet for an early single, it has an effortless flow about it that really let's Emily Mae take control, her voice almost too strong to be contained by the venue. As the song closed she flashed a smile to the audience knowing just how good it had sounded. She may have looked slightly diminutive between her 2 colleagues but she was packing a huge king size punch in vocal delivery. "How Do You Fix A Broken Sun?" really hit home in a song that highlights her ability to view things from a less traditional angle than most singers, an aspect that makes her all the more compelling.

There are many layers to an Emily Mae's performance though, she can easily transform and deliver the gentlest of ballads, such as "Until The Light" written on the South Bank. The reception for these new songs was extremely positive, each one immediately accessible and boding well for the new album. The opening run of new songs closed with another question "Would The World Stop Turning?" where the band truly excelled. Earlier material such as "Miles To Go", always one of the more Americana sounding songs from her debut album, simply sounded perfect, with a lovely solo from Jamie and the double bass really complimenting the track. A quick switch to the piano, saw Emily Mae reveal another of her unrecorded sings "Across The Wire" which already feels like it might transform into a big production number on the album.

Next was a neat bit of theatre, with Emily Mae singing a capella but only after dividing the audience in two to supply supporting humming harmonies for "Siren Serenade". She has to suppress a smile while conducting both halves of the audience but could not contain a huge grin as she finished the song. The set closed with one of her oldest songs "Anchor", closing as good a 45 minutes so as you possibly wish to hear.

The second set started with Emily Mae once again solo, this time at the piano for "One Of These Days" driven along by a driving riff, another outstanding new song. A few more visits to her early releases came with "Blackberry Lane" and "Foreign Waters", the latter from her debut EP, now definitely with more of an Americana feel to it. A guest appearance from Jamie's band mate from Solasta, fiddle player Essa Flett gave an appropriately folky feel to "Down By The Sally Gardens" after all Cecil Sharp House is folk musics spiritual home.

Any preconceptions of what Emily Mae might play were soon set aside as we went full country for "Gin TIngles and Whiskey Shivers" while another new song "Wildfire" could almost be described as a rocker with Emily Mae furiously strumming while firing out a powerful vocal. The second set seemed to draw to a close far to early, ending with "Come Live In My Heart And Pay No Rent"

The finale when it came was a wonderful solo rendition of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" with additional vocals supplied by one of the most harmonious audiences I've ever sat among bringing to a close a quite splendid evening.

Emily Mae Winters Pledge campaign for her second album "High Romance" is currently running and is due to be recorded later this year and released in May 2019

https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/high-romance

Her tour winds around the UK throughout October and is highly recommended - catch her while you can!!

Oct 05Chapel Arts CentreBath, Uk

Oct 06Toy and Model Museum.Brighton, United Kingdom

Oct 08White Horse Folk ClubHailsham, United Kingdom

Oct 09The MusicianLeicester, United Kingdom

Oct 10Kitchen Garden CafeBirmingham, United Kingdom

Oct 11Castle HotelManchester, United Kingdom

Oct 12Old Cinema LaunderetteDurham, United Kingdom

Oct 16Junction 2Cambridge, United Kingdom

Oct 18Stables TheatreWavendon, United Kingdom

Oct 19Big Comfy BookshopCoventry, United Kingdom

Oct 22Hug and PintGlasgow, United Kingdom

Oct 24GreystonesSheffield, United Kingdom

Oct 26Watermill SessionsGreat Ayton, United Kingdom

Dec 08Holywell RoomsOxford, United Kingdom

#EmilyMaeWinters #CecilSharpHouse