It’s only been 12 months since Amelia Coburn‘s terrific voice, ukulele and exploratory cover versions found her a nomination for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards and even less time since she reduced the GNUF audience to dazed amazement. Back at GNUF in 2018 and back right now with a new EP (out Feb 23rd) anticipation is high for this rapidly rising talent.
Unusually I’m going to look at the tracks on this EP in reverse as to my mind this direction catalogues Amelia’s growth in many ways. The last track of the EP then, In The Arms Of Morpheus, is a recording of a live solo uke and vocal, an original song I remember fondly from her live performance. Indeed I remember at least three original songs based around the sea at GNUF from various artists, there must have been something in the air of 2017. Salt presumably!
Stepping back a track we enter the familiar territory of the Amelia’s skill at getting under the skin of a song penned by someone else, in this instance Radiohead. This piano version or No Surprises (indeed No Ukulele either) is vocal duet with David Benjamin stripped down to its very core, the piano equally sympathetic to the beautifully layered harmony of the vocal.
As if to follow my CD collection from R to D (or should that be N… discuss) the second track of the EP is a cover of Nick Drake’s Day Is Done taken of course from the wonderful Five Leaves Left album. Wherever the inspiration comes from the song choices Amelia makes are always very very cool! Focused around a delicately picked ukulele and a gripping rendition of the vocal the song adds in a little more orchestration, the EP engineering of the blossoming sound reversed.
And so the first song, an original titled 17th of July. Starting with a quite disturbingly haunted count in the song brings in guitar, upright bass and drums and whilst the uke is ever present it sits back a little in the mix to let Amelia’s voice and the wonderful melody take the focus. And this song is very different to my ears, a collection of styles mixing modern folk with a little slow dancing from a 50’s hop and a gentle layer of late night jazz. It’s a brilliant song, interesting, catchy, quirky even with some exquisite fiddle playing leading us to a fragile ukulele and voice ending this tale of love. Which takes me to my whim of writing the review backwards, for this song is something every special. Amelia’s undeniable talent with her trademark style, her accent, rich voice and ukulele skill are pushed further, built upon, graduating to a fuller sound whilst retaining that flair at the core.
The writing skill, production and performance of this release have me spellbound, bewitched to hear such raw young talent captured so wonderfully. My only criticism of this EP is there isn’t a lot more of it as Amelia’s talent continues to burst through the ukulele scene into the wider folk arena and onto a yellow brick road that will take her to the very summit of success if there’s any justice in this musical world. Turn off all those ridiculous talent shows and just listen to Amelia. That’s an order.
The EP is out February 23rd 2018 and on trend with the world’s rediscovery of records you can order it from Bandcamp in clear green vinyl too with a track change to Song Of The Sea Rover instead of In The Arms Of Morpheus. Sweet!