To succeed in Folk and Folk Rock is a tough business. A gazillion of unwashed wannabe folksters and their low-quality six strings endlessly populate street corners and tube stations. And try to attract the eye of someone of power, for a few bucks put into greasy hats. Or nothing at all, come to think of it.
Folks like Ed Sheeran and other unlikely stories often seem to be this shiny beacon for the up-and-coming. To try and raffle some of the countless millions the music industry is able to disburse – apparently.
But that dream often turns into bitter illusion, because only a tiny slice of them musical wizards get to taste from the fleshpots of this greedy industry. But hey, you got highly successful artists, like Mike Rosenberg (incidentally Ed’s friend, so I am told) of Passenger. So it can be done. Even if the odds to succeed may seem akin to winning the lottery a few times.
Supporting relatively unknown bands has become a backbone of this blog. And don’t we dearly love tunes that impress right off the bat with emotion and quality?
This time we stumbled upon Joshua Howlett and his new EP Autumnal. A small series of tracks delivered in a strange mix of a subdued Mighty Oaks, a taste of Ben Howard, and an earlier incarnation of the aforementioned Passenger.
It is not that Howlett kicks it up a few notches, and lets her rip with something absolutely stunning that we really have not heard yet. Hell, most of that stuff sounds precisely how this type of folk ‘ought’ to reverberate, in the popular opinion of the mean masses. Raspy voice, quiet background guitars, and low-level drum work included. All of that in a somewhat treble-heavy delivery that probably will need refinement down the road.
Yet again, you’ll see a livelier tune emerge towards the end. Which adds a nice little progression to a jumble of tracks that almost seems too quiet at times.
Now, even if the vile mainstream beckons somewhat fierce, you can feel the talent of the vocalist, the emotion, and the authenticity that the tracks of this decidedly short blurb exude. And THAT is where the rubber meets the road.
So, if you are looking for some quiet, refined Folk and Folk Rock, then Autumnal should live on your list of albums to try in 2019. And I reckon that we will continue to hear from this artist in the future, make no mistake.
Good stuff. I like it.
And here’s a taste for your listening pleasure: