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

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image by Elly Lucas

Lucy Farrell tells me she is an honest songwriter. Situated within the folk tradition of visceral, ardent thinking, I believe her: “When I’m writing you’re like, ‘Jesus, it’s so obvious who this is about, it’s so autobiographical’, but the longer they’re outside my head they go off and become their own thing. I don’t want sole responsibility for a song, you can’t control what everyone thinks,” she states.

To sit and listen to Farrell’s music is to let your mind drift off and wander; in any of her projects, she has the ability to transport you anywhere and so her conclusion seems natural. Having been a part of significant folk groups such as The Furrow Collective, Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band and the Emily Portman Trio amongst others, Farrell has cemented within a legacy of collaborative folk music.

However, her latest venture departs from the heavily collaborative career she’s had so far: a solo album. Recorded at Wenlock Abbey, owned by Gabriella Drake, the album features the instruments of her late brother, Nick Drake, “by some happy little chain of coincidence his guitar and piano were offered to us to use,” she marvels. “It was a really special time and it definitely influenced the album. We had to get his instruments on so we added the piano and the guitar. You go in thinking it might come out one way but it comes out completely differently.”

The solo work was daunting at first, she exclaims that “for a long time I was a very secret writer, but it was the support of my friends that got me to finally do it.” There was an apparent separation between how she knew herself as a performer and who she found herself to be as a writer: “So much of my life as a performer has been about traditional stuff, but when I started writing it was so different. For some time I kept it quite separate.”

I don’t want sole responsibility for a song, you can’t control what everyone thinks

Farrell still holds onto her roots, however, with her album featuring one traditional English folk song. “I was up in the air about putting a traditional one on because it was too different. But it was actually exciting to do, there are some electronics on there.”

The album, which she tells me will most likely be called The Things I Know Now and is due for an autumn release, has taken a while to manifest. Time has taken its toll on the songs in a way that sees Farrell become a voyeur to her past self. “Somehow I think it was a good thing because those songs sort of lived with me for a long time. It’s great getting a distance between me and a song, they’re so riddled with angst when they’re fresh.”

It’s significant that Lucy Farrell is returning to Newcastle from Canada, where she currently finds herself, to tour her solo project. She originally came for University, studying Folk & Traditional Music at Newcastle University, and spent many years working at The Cumberland Arms. “That was my introduction to really being a folk musician,” she says. “There are obviously folk traditions in Canada but I appreciate coming back even more now, I feel like history is so tangible.”

Lucy Farrell plays Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle on Sunday 13th March.


Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout