INTERVIEW: Elaine Palmer | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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North Yorkshire singer-songwriter Elaine Palmer has emerged from lockdown with a totally gorgeous new album, The Land In Between. It is an album that is all about freedom and distance, things we perhaps no longer take quite so for granted. It is also a collection of songs that have the landscape stamped right through them.

I have always been very influenced by the landscape in which I am,” Elaine tells me as we look out from her home that nestles beneath the Cleveland Hills. Indeed the album was recorded in her music room, almost in the shadow of local landmark Roseberry Topping.

The fusion of folk, country, emotion and attitude sits most sweetly under the label of North Yorkshire Americana and features the weeping, sweeping cello of HJM Bradshaw, Alex Cromarty on drums, Oli Heffernan on bass and extra guitar from Patrick Jordan and Mitch Tribeck. Patrick mixed and mastered this album and it is a master work in every sense.

The Land In Between is her first long player since Still Life in 2017 and Desert Songs EP in 2019. It is rooted from her earliest memories. “I grew up in an old watermill on the moors steeped in history, learning about the people that had lived their lives and died in the working watermill over the years.” The water mill is the subject of a particularly beautiful, reflective song and the North York Moors is always in touching distance. “You can almost feel the wind howling across the moors and picture the souls that have walked those paths before us within these songs.”

You can almost feel the wind howling across the moors and picture the souls that have walked those paths before us within these songs

It is this interplay between places and lost faces that Elaine infuses in her music. But this is also a land in between the North York Moors and the Arizona deserts, where Elaine has spent time over the years exploring while visiting her sister. “I feel there are almost two sides to who I am, one living up on the wild Yorkshire moors and the other riding out across the desert plains. I have a real love for the American West, the deserts and canyons really inspire me as do the Native American people that are part of my family.”

Elaine explains more about what the two lands mean to her. “Both lands are bleak and harsh with wide open spaces. Both lands are dramatic and beautiful, forged by the planet’s elements. They are spaces where there is time to observe, time to think without a lot of other human influence, free to find your own identity, your own path.”

Elaine Palmer is almost part of the landscape and the landscape part of her; in her music she digs deep to reveal and release the narratives of those that came before and those that will tread the pathways after us.

The Land In Between is released on 3rd September via Butterfly Effect. She performs at Last Train Home Festival, Darlington on Saturday 4th, Gosforth Civic Centre in Newcastle on Friday 17th, Base Camp in Middlesbrough on Saturday 18th September (both with Anna Ash), The Cluny, Newcastle (with Tankus the Henge) on Friday 1st October and The Velveteen Rabbit, Great Ayton (with Louis Brennan) on Saturday 2nd October


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