Monday, 7 November 2011

Free downloads - Glastonbury Festival Competition Alumni: Liz Green, Yusuf Azak, Emily Barker

I'm so excited to see Liz Green (a) still making music, and (b) being picked up by bloggers everywhere! I remember listening to the demo she sent in for the Glastonbury emerging talent competition non-stop in the weeks leading up to the finalists' selection back in 2007, and was almost as delighted as I think she was shocked when she won a slot on the Pyramid stage that year through it. Things were quiet for a while, then last year a collection of those early recordings was put out - and now the long-awaited debut album is finally to be released next week.

'O, Devotion' is going to feature several of the same tracks I had on repeat on that demo all the way back then, but to judge from the version of opening track 'Hey Joe' she's giving away, these are going to be new and thoroughly enriched recordings.

So many early reviews have focused, understandably, on her remarkable voice; but she's also a powerful songwriter, and has never been afraid to sing about political as well as personal situations. If you haven't seen it yet, don't miss the video for Displacement Song, which plays on the shadow-puppet aesthetic Liz uses on her self-designed album covers (and even sometimes to my knowledge in her shows)!

Free download: Liz Green - Hey Joe

Yusuf Azak's was another demo we had the same year. We weren't able to secure a slot for him at the festival, but I've been following him ever since, and have had the honour of working on a track with him as well as featuring his music in an issue of Attack!!!!.

Yusuf Azak - The Key Underground by Song, by Toad

Here's Yusuf performing another standout track from Turn on the Long Wire, live:

Yusuf currently has his whole new EP up for free download - I'd grab it before he changes his mind, if I were you, and then buy the album.

Free downloads:
Yusuf Azak - Prizefighter EP
Yusuf Azak and Wes White - The Key Underground

Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo - another 2007 finalist (god it was a good year)... will also be known to anyone who followed the crazy Storm the Charts project I did. A little while after, Emily invited me up to one of her Folk in a Box performances, which is where a performer is sat in a little shed and you go in and they perform to you as an audience of one!! Being so close to that beautiful voice was pretty intense. If Folk in a Box is ever on tour again and you get the chance, put yourself down to be an audience! The song Emily played me is one of those she is offering as a free download from her wonderful album Almanac.

It has to be said Emily does seem to particularly like performing in sheds:

Free download: Emily Barker - Ropes

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