Music: "It's kind of what I’ve always wanted to do" - BBC Folk Award winner Lucy Farrell on her Sheffield connection and debut album

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Playing songs from her long-awaited debut album, folk singer Lucy Farrell returns once more but not before stopping for a chat about her music

In the recent episode of Chris Talks Music, I spent a little time talking to the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winner Lucy Farrell ahead of her sold-out Sheffield show at Bishop’s House on 19 March, 2023, as part of her UK tour ahead of the release of her long-awaited debut album, We Are Sound.

The incredibly talented and renowned, multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and songwriter takes us on a journey through her creative process, how motherhood has impacted her music as well as her outlook on life, and so much more. Lucy is no stranger to the city, having appeared at Live at Sams in Sheffield back in December, 2022. But this time around, she’s here on her own terms.

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If you were to define the artist ahead of her debut release it would be a combination of odd, unconventional melodies, albeit poetic, with sophisticated song-writing and a bewitching clarity — beguiling even. The Kent-born, (now Canada-based) Lucy Farrell’s voice is elegant with a sparse, careful accompaniment on tenor guitar and occasionally viola, clearly (and somewhat seamlessly) carving out a unique niche for an artist very much at the forefront of contemporary English folk music.

Speaking to The Star’s, Chris Hallam, she discussed the thinking behind We Are Only Sound.

“The feel of the album, well, it’s about being at home and working stuff out - relationship stuff, and then working out being a mum. This is how I work through my feelings and wonderings, in songs. And there’s quite a lot of wonderings in them, not answers.”

Having found an international audience among artists like Julia Jacklin, Emily Portman, The Weather Station, The Unthanks and Eliza Carthy, the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winner Lucy Farrell is not only known as a renowned composer and singer, but also as an incredibly talented viola/fiddle/tenor guitar-player.

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Lucy Farrell - Photo by Elly LucasLucy Farrell - Photo by Elly Lucas
Lucy Farrell - Photo by Elly Lucas

"I’ve done quite a lot of trad stuff, I feel like this sort of songwriting is kind of what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a long time in the making, mainly because I was learning how to write songs in a way that was different coming from someone who has sung old established songs, I guess.”

“Maybe people have mostly heard me do traditional songs but this album is all things that I’ve written. These songs are influenced but not led by tradition, and then of course my love of songwriters generally - Adrianne Lenker, Kate Bush and Richard Thompson.”

Her work as a band member and collaborator with such artists and projects as Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band; Gluepot; Modern Fairies; The Furrow Collective; Carthy, Oates, Farrell & Young; and her duo work with Andrew Waite and Jonny Kearney, respectively has meant releasing a collection of her distinctive solo work has had to wait – until now.

"It’s taken me a while to get used to songs that I’ve written, so that I can properly ‘own it’. There’s something so solid about traditional songs that you feel sort of safe singing those, you know. Lot’s of people have sung those before.”

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You can listen to the interview in full on the Chris Talks Music podcast, either via this page or to catch up on previous episodes subscribe here: Chris Talks Music

“I’m not really sure about most things in life, but for some reason I’ve always been sure that I wanted to write songs. Obviously I was a musician in other ways, mainly in trad stuff, but when I had Edwin who is now nine. I just had to stop procrastinating, going on tour, I was just left with my thoughts and a baby. I think it was something to do with that where I was just like, ‘what have I been wasting time doing?’ Drinking and writing songs mostly for a time. And the importance of it all hadn’t dawned on me until then. There are more important things in life than people not liking my songs and there was an element of people pleasing in writing my songs”

The most magical thing out this is that Lucy has found a way to channel her inner-most feelings in a way that is not only impressive vocally but also sincere and earnest… honesty is present throughout, as are the elements of self-doubt and ultimate emancipation from those internal battles, musings, questioning, call it what you will.

We Are Only Sound is set to be an impressive introduction to Lucy’s talents for many, as well as being a suitable thirst-quencher for those already familiar with her musical output to date.

Lucy Farrell performed her new material in a sold-out show at Bishops’ House, Sheffield, on 19 March, 2023, as part of her UK tour ahead of the release of her long-awaited debut album, We Are Sound.

Find out more about Lucy Farrell's tour and support her music here:

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