FFO: Elaine Palmer – Let Me Fall | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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North Yorkshire singer-songwriter and Americana/folk artist Elaine Palmer releases her new single, Let Me Fall, on limited edition vinyl via Darlington indie label Butterfly Effect. The track explores Elaine’s fascination with creative artists and the seduction of losing ourselves in the fantasy worlds that their minds creates. Soundwise, it’s a delightful country number complete with foot tapping rhythms, beautiful choral harmonies and rich guitar tones that provide an evocative backdrop for Elaine’s composed and melodious vocals. 

Here, Elaine gives us three tracks which have influenced the single and that she really connects with…

The National – Fake Empire
The first thing that always strikes me about any song is the voice. The textures of the vocal delivery and its honesty. Is this person telling me something that matters to them, to me, to the world? Matt Berninger’s growling vocals are commanding yet hushed. I love his conversational delivery on this track. But what excites me the most is the rhythm. The piano is playing the polyrhythm of 4/3 . The drums tease a little at first, hinting that they are there and wanting to be let out. When the full kit finally kicks in it’s a moment of euphoria , almost derived from 90’s house music. The rhythm sits onto the piano but is in 3/4….it’s a beautiful but epic landscape yet it feels fragile like at any point it could all come tumbling down. 

Lyrically this song is ironic with dark concepts of young generations being disillusioned by reality, purposely choosing to look the other way as brutal and disturbing parts of modern society play out in front of them. This fits perfectly with the tension in the contrasting rhythm. Masking their fragile reality in a Fake Empire. 

Vocalist Matt Berringer explains “The song is a commentary on a generation lost to disillusion and apathy….where you can’t deal with the reality of what’s really going on, so let’s just pretend that the world’s full of bluebirds and ice skating.”

Jason Isbell – Speed Trap Town
Again, immediately I am drawn in by Jason Isbell’s voice. It is rich in life experience yet soft and carefully presented. He sings with honesty and grace. Speed Trap Town, the story of a son growing up in a small town in mid America, working class struggles. His father dying in hospital and the slow realisation that his life isn’t going anywhere and he needs to be freed from his past. Jason has suffered personal issues with alcoholism and drug addiction himself. He speaks openly about his personal evolution from this and we can hear this battle in the voice as well as the lyrically context of this track. I think I read somewhere that the version that made it onto the album was recorded as just a rehearsal in the studio but captured such simple emotion that they ended up using it for the actual album track. I love this. Isbell has a wisdom of self understanding. He is honest in his identity which is so refreshing from the mainstream American Country World which is so grotesque in all its falsity. I have travelled those dusty South West American highways so many times in my life. I have seen many a small forgotten town along the way where you can grow old too quickly. 

I relate to the simplicity of this track, the honesty of its story and the freedom in how it was delivered.

Sharon Van Etten – Seventeen
I love Sharon Van Etten. I love her attitude, her musical exploration. The repetitious thud of the drum beat throughout the song almost feels tribal. The concept of her looking back on her life in New York and seeing herself as a young Seventeen year old. The transition that has happened over the years to her personally and to the city. If only we could go back and tell our younger selves where we went wrong….
There are textures of Springsteen with its chugging electric guitar and simple chord sequence but it feels relevant and contemporary. Synth sounds coming in and out add a little tension and threaten the song to move somewhere else at any point.  I love how it takes off a little towards the end with distorted guitars and Etten’s voice explodes with attitude and desperation.   I lived in New York for a while when I first finished college, all starry eyed and full of dreams. I have experienced years of life lessons since and personal evolutions. 

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