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

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Elaine Palmer is a country-inspired artist whose background of being raised in a secluded, rural setting is very similar to that of many great Americana songsmiths and storytellers and, like it did with them, ignited her creative spark.

I grew up in a small village on the North Yorkshire Moors which is quite isolated and we would get shut off in the winters with snow, no electricity. You become very connected to the seasons and nature. We were free to explore outside as children, swimming in the river, working on the farm. It allowed us to develop alongside nature at our own pace. The bleak beauty of the Moors becomes part of you and never really leaves.”

The Stateside dynamic of Elaine’s music came from family ties and the music she listened to growing up, as she goes on to explain: “I was really into great songwriters and voices from the beginning. Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen for their incredible lyrics; Nina Simone, Janice Joplin, Neil Young, Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley for their unique, expressive voices. I have family who live in Arizona and have spent my life travelling back and forward, meeting musicians, performing and listening to country music there.”

Taking the space and awe of childhood and filtering it through the styles of America’s great songwriters, Elaine began writing and performing from the age of 15. She has since gone on to establish herself as one of the region’s finest performers, releasing several solo albums and touring the UK extensively, sharing stages with the likes of KT Tunstall, Patty Griffin, Courtney Marie Andrews and Paolo Nutini along the way.

I was really into great songwriters and voices from the beginning

Her latest eight-track release is entitled Half Moon Rising and showcases Elaine’s heartfelt, husky vocals, containing notes of Stevie Nicks, Chrissie Hynde and Bonnie Tyler, as well as a range of warm country sounds, from the windswept ballad feels of A Love Like That to the soft roadhouse rock of Let Me Fall and the Cohen-esque songcraft of final track The Last Dance.

It’s a release that sees Elaine doing what she does so effectively, drawing from both sides of the Atlantic. For the recording, she worked alongside producer and engineer Mike Butler (Norah Jones, Ray LaMontagne, Phoebe Bridgers and The Pretenders) at Half Moon Lodge up in the San Diego hills, an experience that she explains resonates throughout the recording. “I’ve been to San Diego many times but the lodge was out of the city in the hills so we had that beautiful space in the trees. I explored as much as possible while I was there too, played a show in Encinitas and met more amazing musicians, drove out into the desert with some incredible people to Jacumba Springs. It all shapes the record. You can hear their lives in the songs.”

Bringing things back closer to home, Half Moon Rising will be released via North East music companies (and trusted collaborators), Butterfly Effect and Wipe Out Publishing, something that Elaine is thrilled to be doing. “John Esplen from Wipe Out has been there throughout my entire career as a mentor and a friend. I released my last album on Butterfly Effect which was the first album I’d put out on vinyl. Stephen who owns the label is just a massive music enthusiast and a genuine person. I love working with independent companies where we are all singing from the same song sheet!”

Half Moon Rising is released 17th May. Elaine will be performing at The Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe on Sunday 12th May and The Globe, Newcastle on Friday 17th May.


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