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Playlist: Folksy flavours

Three great female voices from NE England in the run-up to International Women's Day

By Andy PottsPublished 4 months ago 3 min read

Amelia Coburn - See Saw

With echoes of a nursery rhyme, and lyrics that gently straddle the boundary between fairy tale and dark fantasy, this is a delight. If a tribute to a great new song is that it reminds you of a forgotten old favourite, this one had hints of Copenhagen’s Blanketshow, another waltz with a hint of the macabre that got some heavy rotation in the early 2000s. The video, which continues Amelia’s collaboration with the Whippet Up puppet theatre, is also well worth a look, highlighting some acting talent to go with the music.

This week sees the release of Amelia’s first album of her own compositions, Between the Moon and the Milkman. I first encountered her music through an uncanny knack of covering my favourite songs, and had the pleasure of interviewing her on Vocal during lockdown. Now it’s great to hear how what was once a simple combination of vocal and ukelele is mature and growing into a bigger, more sophisticated sound that provides a perfect vehicle for her self-penned songs.

Brick – Winter Song

Bridie Jackson’s folksy fascinations, often backed by the Arbour, have built a loyal following on the northeast scene and beyond. She was also the first artist I heard playing at Durham's Old Cinema Launderette, one of the region's most distinctive venues. More recently, she’s formed Brick in partnership with violist Nick Pierce, turning a lockdown project into a new musical direction.

Not that Bridie's work was lacking variety to start with. Comfortable writing for theatre, opera, dance and film, and committed to music in education (including work with Darlington's excellent Hullabaloo children's theatre), she's one of those people who keeps driving the region's music scene forward.

Winter Song is a slice of seasonal reflection with a dreamy vibe. Gently rippling piano and close harmonies characterise a gentle, soothing track that provides a perfect antidote to a season that has brought more than a few personal challenges. And the concluding chant of “we’ll be wiser next year” carries a note of hope through the twilight. Powerful stuff.

Maius Mollis - Waves

The title track from December’s EP is a beautiful meditation on grief and loss. This release was the first time the North Shields-based singer-songwriter, Maisie to her friends, worked with a full band to support her own delicate vocal, and the result is spectacular. In the artist’s own words, Waves is a reflection on the “beautiful and difficult ways” that grief enters our lives.

It's also an exquisitely wrought slice of melancholy, with a refrain that has a real sense of the insistent swell of the sea, while expressing turbulent emotions. File under “quiet consolations of great music”. And file under “one to watch” as Maisie continues to develop a striking, stand-out voice on the contemporary folk scene.

People are taking note. Last month Maisie supported Bernard Butler and was featured in the BBC Introducing showcase series. Planned gigs for March have been placed on hold but she's due back in action at The Great Escape in Brighton in May.

Thanks for reading. This playlist is the first in a planned series that aims to promote musicians whose work I'm enjoying. Usually, there will be a theme - stylistic, geographical, subject matter - but from time to time it might just be a few random tracks that I'm enjoying. Either way, I hope you find some inspiration from these clips. And do use the comments to let me know how you liked them and share your own recommendations!

Please support independent artists. If you find something here that you enjoy, try to share the love by buying some of their music or attending their gigs.


About the Creator

Andy Potts

Community focused sports fan from Northeast England. Tends to root for the little guy. Look out for Talking Northeast, my new project coming soon.

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Comments (9)

  • Andrea Corwin 16 days ago

    I loved Brick - Wiinter Song! It is so meditative, the notes, the voice. I also liked Waves. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rachel Deeming3 months ago

    I love discovering new music. I'm looking forward to hearing more from the north east. Haunting, beautiful, ethereal in places. Evocative of the region, I think, that sort of wildness.

  • Angie's piece brought me here! I loved Waves the most! So glad you put this playlist together!

  • Kelsey Clarey3 months ago

    These songs were all great. Thank you for the recommendations!

  • John Cox3 months ago

    These are really thoughtfully written reviews of truly striking music, Andy. Each of these pieces transported me much as my favorite music always does. This is the kind of music I could write too. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Back again… ‘Winter Song is a slice of seasonal reflection with a dreamy vibe.’… so true ✅ Despite preferring upbeat Rock music… I loved Waves & its poignant video clip… will recommend it to my daughter who will connect with the lyrics and style. ‘ In the artist’s own words, Waves is a reflection on the “beautiful and difficult ways” that grief enters our lives.’ Please do continue this series! It’s a real treat… great job Andy🤩

  • The things I learn on Vocal!😳… This is a fascinating read. I’ve only read & listened to the first section & loved it. The music; singing & clips are so interesting. I even downloaded Copenhagen’s album on Apple Music😀. My Dad used to always say it was ‘Time for the Blanket Show!’ My visiting friends would get excited & then disappointed.😢

  • What a great collection of songs honoring the voices of women in New England! With a distinct charm and narrative for each song, this playlist is an absolute treasure.

  • Three that are new new me,thank you for sharing

Andy PottsWritten by Andy Potts

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