FOCUS: Ezra Briggs | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Inspired by the “bleak and awesome landscapes” of his native Northumberland, self-described ‘dark folk’ artist Ezra Briggs releases his brand new album, Tor And Lea. Here, he tells us about his inspirations and the upcoming release…

Who are you and where are you from?

I’m Ezra Briggs, a folk musician. I was born in Ashington and grew up in Northumberland and then County Durham.

What is it you do?

I play guitar and sing, and I write and record folk songs.

How long have you been doing it?

I’ve been writing songs since my early teens, when I played in a punk band called 22 Dropout. My passion for folk music began when I was introduced to Bert Jansch when I was nineteen. I’ve played and written folk music ever since.

What inspires you?

I love writing music that is evocative of the bleak moorlands and ancient landscapes of the North East, particularly the Cheviot Hills where I spent a lot of my early childhood. I also enjoy poetry written about rural landscapes and the people that live in them, two of my favourite poets are Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost. Finally, I love mysterious and unsettling ghost stories; I read a lot of M.R. James before bed.

Tell us about your music

I try to write lyrics that conjure up mysterious landscapes and mythical characters. I have songs about standing stones and burning heather moors; mist-covered seas and rain-soaked pirates. I have tried to coin the term ‘dark folk’ to describe the songs I write. Musically, I use a mixture of finger-picking and flat-picking in my guitar arrangements. Some of my guitar playing is percussive in the style of Bert Jansch or John Martyn. I have also collaborated with some fantastic local musicians to broaden my arrangements to include cello, violin, trumpet and synthesiser parts.

What have you got coming up in the future?

My second album Tor And Lea is being released on all major streaming services on 28th June. I’m really excited to share it. It was recorded in Blank Studios, Heaton and produced by Sam Grant (of rock band Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs). It features many great local musicians, including Ceitidh Mac, Hels Pattison and Zac Savage. I’m also in the process of organising a gig in Newcastle to promote the album in August.

Where can people find out more about you?

My music is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music. I also have YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. My music is available to purchase on Bandcamp.

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