Bridie Jackson and The Arbour
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Bridie Jackson and The Arbour

Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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The first time I saw Bridie Jackson was in a candle-lit Heaton café brimming with people and bring-your-own wine. When Bridie took to the floor, she waited for silence then played a set that referenced numerous genres within the scope of a single song; from Americana to choral, from free jazz through Tin Pan Alley to smoky chanson. Her enthralling performances leave audiences stunned and critics challenged with finding an appropriate pigeonhole.
Bridie, who was born in County Durham, started playing guitar at five years old and, while travelling Europe with her father, was introduced to many musical styles including the Portuguese Fado tradition, one of her recognised influences now. The 26-year-old acknowledges: “I was as inspired by my Dad who was studying Portuguese music styles.”
Initially playing the acoustic circuit (“I was distastefully ambitious back then”) Bridie decided it was time for a change. “I wanted to express myself in a way that was honest”, she says. “Happily unhinged” and growing in confidence, she explored a more erratic, emotive style. She says: “Around the time I stopped pushing, things started happening.”
These things would include catching the eyes and ears of Urban & Eastern Records’ Craig J Wilson. Bridie’s ethos fits nicely with the label. As Wilson says: “Urban & Eastern is about returning to basics; rawness, honesty, aggression – attacking commerciality and the things that have whittled away the soul of our music.” “Meeting Craig gave me a licence to do what I thought was right”, says the Newcastle-based Bridie. And she has.
When asked how she would describe her music, Bridie laughs: “You mean how would I warn them? It’s a splurge of completely mood-based sound. The music is purely emotive.” She admits she has yet to define what she does herself. She’s not folk, jazz, or pop – making her work less accessible for some audiences. Is she happy being pigeonholed? “If it helps – all you really are is what people think you are when they hear you.”
Most mention Bridie’s voice as her strength, although she is also recognised for her instrumental and arranging skills. “I think audiences connect with the voice ‘cause it’s a human thing. To me the voice is an instrument that’s been handed out for free,” she says. “I don’t like talent worship, I’m big on grafting. Talent gives you a push in the right direction but it takes practice.
“Music is so completely cathartic, it gives you the chance to channel stuff in a secret, complex, brilliant language that no-one can throw back in your face,” she says of her songwriting. “The music just pushes itself out of me but the lyrics are more considered .”
Bridie writes songs about “minute moments” – always from a slightly removed standpoint, so as not to give too much away, while still displaying a sometimes distressing rainbow of emotion. Coupled with her improvisational performances – removing the inevitability from every song – this can make for uneasy watching. Where some find her emotional performances challenging, others find their depth and raw honesty captivating. “People’s emotions are always amazing whether they’re violent happy or upsetting. In a twenty minute set they would see all of my moods as if they’d known me for twenty years,” she says.
Despite her untamable style Bridie is receiving fantastic reviews and continuing to develop. She recently launched her new EP, Prolong , with a gig at the Star and Shadow Cinema, displaying a new confidence, new arrangements and new musicians.
The night also featured two short films – inspired by Bridie’s music – by Owen Gilfellon and Mat Fleming. “It was the best night of my life. I was so humbled that people wanted to work with me.”
Bridie’s future plans include releasing her album on Urban & Eastern, the possibility of a tour and festival gigs next summer. “I want to” keep playing live… and would love to do a trashy dance remix one day!” she says.
But in the meantime you can catch her at the Star and Shadow on September 5 supporting Alastair Roberts. Prolong is available to buy at www.bridiejackson.com.
- The Journal Culture magazine


Bridie Jackson and The Arbour launched their extraordinary CD, Bitter Lullabies, in fine style at The Sage. The CD was reviewed earlier; consider this a pictorial celebration of a very memorable evening.

To sell out The Sage 2 is a remarkable achievement, but it was, without doubt, a fitting reward for the efforts Bridie and her group have put into their own unique brand of music over the years.

Two support acts added to the celebratory feel of the evening. First there was Nathalie Stern who played a very interesting set, complete with some live record and loop technique.

The came Matt Stalker and The Fables, whom I have seen before, albeit in a smaller incarnation. There was a drummer to the right but I couldn't see him from where I was sitting. For the first couple of songs I thought the cymbal crashes were due to something very clever on the glockenspiel.

Then, at 9.30 p.m., Bridie Jackson emerged, resplendent in a new green dress. The audience responded brightly. There was, without doubt, a strong sense of love and support in the hall.

The opening song was very well chosen. It was the slow-burning, delicate and moving We Talked Again, which I'd already picked out as one of the main highlights of Bitter Lullabies.

There followed a powerful and involving 60 minutes of Bridie Jackson and The Arbour on top form, with excellent performances all round. The set list included Aliens, Promises are Broken, and My Sister (full set list to follow).

There was the (very) occasional piece of sales talk, although it was presented with humour:

'We've done an album! It's about time, but it's here at last! And I hope you're going to buy it, because this dress did not come cheap!'

The sales looked to be going well at the merchandise stall, post-show, where a radiant Bridie happily chatted and signed for some time.

The evening represented the culmination of a sustained period of very hard work. As a focal point, it clearly revealed how powerful and unique Bridie's music is and how accomplished her performance.

What does the future hold? Great things, for sure. - Marsh Towers


An unexpected invitation to review the otherworldly, washed out, ambient brilliance of Cuttooth’s Elements album introduced me to Bridie’s voice and a brief conversation resulted in her own Bitter Lullabies arriving through my door.

Although working in a more folk tradition, albeit a dreamlike one, there are similarities between the work that served as an introduction and her collection of songs. They might begin at different ends of the musical spectrum, the former, synth and sample based electronica, the latter, acoustic folk, by the time both albums have stripped out what they might see as musical clutter from their songs you are left with the pure essence of the music. Swirling atmospheres, only the shadows of the song lines, the most minimal use of melodies, all creating musical shells that are filled with expectation, anticipation, space and lost sounds.

Tracks such as Promises Are Broken push this minimalist approach further into a medieval tinged a capella delivery with only the merest touches of music floating on the periphery, seemingly one foot in the past and one striding out to take folk music into new territories. Aliens takes Jeff Buckley inflected soaring vocal dynamics and the sparse, ethereal charm of musical accompaniment that seems as if it would turn to smoke and float away if you tried to listen to hard.

And amongst the already wonderful and unexpected offerings there is still room to throw in an occasional curveball, the gypsy jazz jive of Mucky or the gospel soul vibe of Please Forgive Me My Human Ways show that she is not a one trick pony.

Bridie takes a brave approach to crafting her songs, taking more out of them than most writers ever put in and leaving a fractured, delicate beauty and a vocal that has room to command without ever dominating the songs. Sensuous whispers that sound like screams, cries that seem to be carried through on the breeze all tumble over music built on half heard melodies and half imagined tunes. If ever there was a time when that old cliché of “less is more” was properly employed, it is after listening to this album. - Green Man Music


I lived within a stone’s throw of St Ann’s Church for two years and, despite having been disturbed by its bells during frequent Sunday morning hangovers, I’ve thought many a time how pretty it is, and how incongruous it sits overlooking the speeding traffic and screaming modernity of City Road.

It’s somehow apt, then, that on Saturday it played host to the introspective yet lively folk of Newcastle’s Bridie Jackson.

Organised to mark the launch of her new website, the gig was opened by Richard Dawson whose rich and ranging vocals used the building’s unique acoustics to captivate the audience. Like many talented musicians, he made amazingly complex guitar pieces seem like the easiest things in the world.

A short hiatus gave way to Andy Jackson & the Braguesa Ensemble, led by the man responsible for helping forge Bridie’s worldly passion for music – her father, who played a passionate medley of pieces from Portugal and Latin America.

Decked out in black tulle with a striking blue sash and ribbons, Bridie took her place as the headline act and delivered a set that perfectly matched humour with melancholy.

Bridie clearly adores performing, but this gig, while featuring her familiar acoustic guitar, also demonstrated her emerging talent as a genuinely innovative musician, often accompanying her strumming with the use of bassoon, violin and vocal harmonies. It may sound sycophantic, but I doubt we’ll have to wait very long to see her define the north east vocal folk scene. - KYEO.tv


It is hard to find the adjectives to capture the sound and mood of Bridie Jackson’s début album. Many before me have described her music as “ethereal”. For me, this is only partially true, because for each wisp of haunting etherealism in her canon there is a hunk of the visceral, the corporeal. Backed by The Arbour - a collective of singers and musicians lending not only heavenly harmonic backing to Bridie’s lead vocals and plucked nylon-string guitar, but also a plethora of instruments including cello, violin, bassoon, piano, mandolin and bellplates - she has created an album of stunning authenticity, which manages to be simultaneously contemporary and timeless.

Bridie is a capricious artist, and her album is a seductive enigma that veers wildly with its creator’s moods. Indeed, when novelist Elliot Perlman wrote of riding, “the relentless waves of fear and hope, of pain and pleasure, of doubt and certainty that inhabit the sea of human experience” he could have been referring to listening to ‘Bitter Lullabies’. For this is not an easy album to listen to; it is quite exhausting. It takes us from the sparse, wintry paean to broken connections of opener ‘We Talked Again’, through heartbreaking pseudo-ecclesiastical choral pieces (‘Promises Are Broken’), chain-gang gospel (‘Please Forgive Me My Human Ways’), Flamenco-pop (‘Mucky’) and fiery Tango (‘Aliens’) to the rich, warm chamber folk of the beautiful final track, ‘All You Love is All You Are’.

Lyrically, the album may be considered a study of what it is to be human. Though, as with the moods of the album, Bridie’s narrative position is not consistent either. In some songs she takes a baffled outsider’s perspective akin that of the narrator in Björk’s ‘Human Behaviour’; in some she is tossed in the midst of human passions, and in others she adopts a compassionate, philanthropic tone. The results are rarely less than breathtaking.

Given all of this, any likenesses to other artists can be drawn only fleetingly at best. There are flashes of Goldfrapp (circa ‘Felt Mountain’), hints of ‘Ys’-era Joanna Newsom, nods to the earthiness of Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man’s ‘Out of Season’, and - in the guitar and vocal production - even shades of Grizzly Bear’s ‘Veckatimest’ and Fleet Foxes eponymous debut, respectively (though the complexity of her choral arrangements leave the latter for dust). But really, to my ears, ‘Bitter Lullabies’ is that rare thing: an album that sounds as if it was created in its own universe, in complete isolation, untouched by current trends or fashions, and instead born out of candour and authenticity. This is the sound of an artist saying what she needs to say. The beauty of that shines through, and for that reason alone ‘Bitter Lullabies’ ought to be treasured by all who hear it. - Little River Fanzine


It is hard to find the adjectives to capture the sound and mood of Bridie Jackson’s début album. Many before me have described her music as “ethereal”. For me, this is only partially true, because for each wisp of haunting etherealism in her canon there is a hunk of the visceral, the corporeal. Backed by The Arbour - a collective of singers and musicians lending not only heavenly harmonic backing to Bridie’s lead vocals and plucked nylon-string guitar, but also a plethora of instruments including cello, violin, bassoon, piano, mandolin and bellplates - she has created an album of stunning authenticity, which manages to be simultaneously contemporary and timeless.

Bridie is a capricious artist, and her album is a seductive enigma that veers wildly with its creator’s moods. Indeed, when novelist Elliot Perlman wrote of riding, “the relentless waves of fear and hope, of pain and pleasure, of doubt and certainty that inhabit the sea of human experience” he could have been referring to listening to ‘Bitter Lullabies’. For this is not an easy album to listen to; it is quite exhausting. It takes us from the sparse, wintry paean to broken connections of opener ‘We Talked Again’, through heartbreaking pseudo-ecclesiastical choral pieces (‘Promises Are Broken’), chain-gang gospel (‘Please Forgive Me My Human Ways’), Flamenco-pop (‘Mucky’) and fiery Tango (‘Aliens’) to the rich, warm chamber folk of the beautiful final track, ‘All You Love is All You Are’.

Lyrically, the album may be considered a study of what it is to be human. Though, as with the moods of the album, Bridie’s narrative position is not consistent either. In some songs she takes a baffled outsider’s perspective akin that of the narrator in Björk’s ‘Human Behaviour’; in some she is tossed in the midst of human passions, and in others she adopts a compassionate, philanthropic tone. The results are rarely less than breathtaking.

Given all of this, any likenesses to other artists can be drawn only fleetingly at best. There are flashes of Goldfrapp (circa ‘Felt Mountain’), hints of ‘Ys’-era Joanna Newsom, nods to the earthiness of Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man’s ‘Out of Season’, and - in the guitar and vocal production - even shades of Grizzly Bear’s ‘Veckatimest’ and Fleet Foxes eponymous debut, respectively (though the complexity of her choral arrangements leave the latter for dust). But really, to my ears, ‘Bitter Lullabies’ is that rare thing: an album that sounds as if it was created in its own universe, in complete isolation, untouched by current trends or fashions, and instead born out of candour and authenticity. This is the sound of an artist saying what she needs to say. The beauty of that shines through, and for that reason alone ‘Bitter Lullabies’ ought to be treasured by all who hear it. - Little River Fanzine


I still remember Bridie’s previous album, with an impractical to store oversized package with silkscreen painting. This one comes in a paper digipack.

And wow, she seems to have moved on ever since. The arrangements surprise because of the subtle perfection used, especially the acapella polyphonic arrangements, reconsidering the origins of the genre a bit.

The first track, “We talked Again” starts with a beautifully resonating like glass deep xylophone with singing to it, with a very quiet meditative effect, resonating beautifully with its own melody and rhythm, then there’s cello added to it and vocal harmonies, equally beautifully arranged. The vocal harmonies on “Bitter Lullaby” made me think about such subtle harmonies I have rarely heard such harmonies being done so perfectly they are able to create in this private and unique setting. The third track, “Promises are broken” is acapella polyphony with male/female voices and is like some inspired folk version of polyphonic music. “Aliens” is with a crumhorn with guitar and violin arrangement and singing that develops beautifully its emotions with passion. The singing reminds me a bit of Faun Fables here. There’s a folk chamber music feeling thanks to the combination of these instruments. Also the guitar has been played passionately, in combination with a ukulele or small guitar. “The Burden of Survival” tracks shows Bridie’s talent of playing the guitar and slowly developing the guitar theme, with some bass string rhythm with it, the voice is added to it, as well as vocal harmonies. More passionate guitar playing we can hear on “The woman with Milk Teeth”, in combination with crumhorn and later violin. Also here I am again reminded a bit of Faun Fables. “Mucky” is more up-tempo with backing vocals of pupuppupaa’s that are a bit gospel-like. This is combined with ukulele pickings and double bass. There’s more blues in the voice here but it is a more happy up-tempo song. “Please forgive me my human ways” is like an old gospel song, sung acapella. The last track, “All you love is all you are” clearly is a song cycle conclusion, with some cello and piano added. A very carefully arranged, passionate album that comes highly recommended. - psychedelicfolk.com


There are two things that most of us can all do with live music. The first is that when you see a musician or a band live you can then tick them off your mental checklist as ‘done’. This, however, is not possible with local singer-song writer Bridie Jackson. Why? Well, because she is so endlessly inventive and playfully experimental
she is different every time you see her. The result is that each performance is super fresh, truly unique and a real one off. She may sing the same songs but never ever in quite the same way twice. Now the second thing you can do with live music is to put a nice little label on it and the labels being stuck her way her run the gauntlet from blues to jazz, nu folk to anti folk, punk to Celtic. None of these however seem to do any justice to her remarkable talent which defies being easily bottled and analysed. A wild and free sprit is she; her singing has a shamanic quality to it, not the Scottish rave band from back in the day I hasten to add, but rather it has the power to transport you to another space. It is music to escape into, to feed the imagination… SM - The Crack Magazine


There are two things that most of us can all do with live music. The first is that when you see a musician or a band live you can then tick them off your mental checklist as ‘done’. This, however, is not possible with local singer-song writer Bridie Jackson. Why? Well, because she is so endlessly inventive and playfully experimental
she is different every time you see her. The result is that each performance is super fresh, truly unique and a real one off. She may sing the same songs but never ever in quite the same way twice. Now the second thing you can do with live music is to put a nice little label on it and the labels being stuck her way her run the gauntlet from blues to jazz, nu folk to anti folk, punk to Celtic. None of these however seem to do any justice to her remarkable talent which defies being easily bottled and analysed. A wild and free sprit is she; her singing has a shamanic quality to it, not the Scottish rave band from back in the day I hasten to add, but rather it has the power to transport you to another space. It is music to escape into, to feed the imagination… SM - The Crack Magazine


Bitter Lullabies is the debut album from Newcastle-based folk singer Bridie Jackson. Clocking in at just over half an hour yet still full of wide open spaces, it’s a short but often intense glimpse into the world of a talented rising artist.

Before I even played the record my interest was piqued by the brilliantly unconventional band that Jackson has assembled, which features string players, a mandolin, glockenspiel, even a bassoon, with a touch of acoustic guitar appearing only intermittently. I’ve always thought it’s essential for singer-songwriters to be imaginative with the arrangements of their songs to avoid being monochromatic, so I was really glad to hear a band with real variety, used subtly and carefully.

The album opens with a single glockenspiel playing a repeated simple motif, before being warmed by a lone cello and a choir of backing voices. The effect is wintery and windswept, yet still beautiful, absorbing and never boring. Later on, larger and varied ensembles accompany many tracks, while some are stripped back to just a cappella voices. The album is united by Bridie’s voice. There’s something a little manic about the speed with which her style changes, from strong and soulful to an emotional cry to an intimate near whisper. This impressive range is again, like the other instruments, used with great care.

The album was largely recorded in big live takes, many of which were on stage at the Sage in Gateshead, a beautiful new concert hall, and you can often hear the natural warmth and resonance of the room in the recordings. In a world of highly compressed artificial sounding music, the realness and imperfection of this record is a refreshing surprise. The recording style suits her songwriting, which, when at its best, is open-ended and spacious. My favourite tracks on this album have an improvisational feel, where threads of ideas are given space to mutate, mature and develop into dramatic and arresting pieces. The two gospel and country influenced songs near the end of the album perhaps don’t fit the mood, though they do add to the overall variety.

Closing song ‘All You Love Is All You Are’ is also one of the most perfectly constructed and heartbreakingly beautiful ballads I’ve heard in a long time and rounds off the emotional connection that runs so vividly through the entire record.
- Now Then Magazine


And there we have it. The 1st extremely beautiful album of 2012. Tipped by Matt Stalker & Fables I listened to "Bitter Lullabies" by Bridie Jackson and The Arbour somewhere around the beginning of this week and was immediately amazed by it's pure beauty. This is folk with some soul and blues mixed into it, and the fine way the voices are intwined in a few songs even made me think of gospel. Although I'm not that familair with that kind of music, I'm sure this is how it's meant to sound. The somewhat classical way of singing, combined with acoustic guitar, violin, cello, glockenspiel and more somewhat unusual instruments makes this a very specific record, probably not for everyone. But it's worth giving it a chance, because the songs are pure and every note played, is a note well placed.
There is no better way of truly falling for an album than spending an evening with it. Just sitting at the table, doing absolutely nothing but listening. Which is exactly what I've been doing several nights this week and I strongly encourage everyone to do the same. - Plug In Baby!


Having been spellbinding audiences on the live circuit since 2007, 'post-folk' songwriter Bridie Jackson has finally put down a full length record.

'Bitter Lullabies' is an exercise in how to absorb influences without letting them swamp your sound, and as a result, Bridie and her 'Abour' have turned out a unique record of startling beauty. Ethereal, ghostly, and cinematic in scope, the tracks largely reflect the traditional folk sound, though retain a modern accessibility. Technically, they're almost impossible to deconstruct, which is a compliment in itself. Completely physically unquantifiable, the sound they radiate exists almost entirely on another plane, as though you're hearing it through a gossamer veil to another place. As if woven of mist and some aching, untouchable longing, the sounds truly stick when Bridie turns her hand to darker elements, with tracks like 'The Woman With Milk Teeth'.

Though that's not to say that the songs waft in and out inconsequentially; despite their delicate construction they're bestowed with a weight that immediately imprints itself in your mind. Deeply affecting and not easily forgotten, they are as enjoyable as they are awe-inspiring. This is the sort of music that transcends the moment, that makes everything appear to slow down. Blowing through you like smoke, to hear these songs is to be completely overtaken, to be haunted. Indeed, if there's any downside to the record, it's that some tracks, such as 'The Burden of Survival' are just too delicate to throw on any time you like; they feel too venerable, as though anything less than setting aside time and giving them your full attention would be doing them a disservice.

But, proividing balance and a breather, there are plenty of songs here less glass-like, more robust. Though shades of traditional Celtic folk are the most obvious influences, the album proves incredibly multi-faceted. There's guitar bashing straight out of the Deep South, even hints from further over the border. Where the whispy folk tracks billow over you like a pan-celtic Bon Iver, the thumping country-esque sounds of tracks like 'Mucky' stomp along, driven by a capella vocals. 'Please Forgive Me My Human Ways' shows what you can do with vocals alone, making for an astonishingly soulful, bare-bones blast from another era.

And it's in these moments on the album that you can truly appreciate Bridie Jackson's range; haunting and ariose, undoubtedly, but more importantly, it's a voice that can be unleashed to far greater effect, untroubled and let loose. The many faces of Bridie Jackson and The Arbour add up to one warm, alluring and intricate album. - Manifesto Magazine / The Bunker


From the opening bar it is clear why this album is called ‘Bitter Lullabies’, for the simple vocal and xylophone pairing of opening track ‘We talked again’ seems to emulate a lullaby as much as it is melancholic.

Like many of the tracks from this debut offering from Bridie Jackson and the Arbour, We Talked Again wouldn’t be out of place on a film soundtrack, gently building to a crescendo that turns it almost into an entirely different song; but altogether this album is soothingly sad, almost cathartic in places, while, in the words of The Jealous Girlfriends, comfortably uncomfortable in others.

There is a richness to Bridie’s voice that I really like – at times reminding me of a post-1980s Annie Lennox. But this isn’t an album you’d play at a lively gathering. It calls for silence and probably a bit of angst to really appreciate it.


The classical guitar in Bitter Lullaby gives it a far softer feel than the track before and, for me, this title track is an album highlight, with lyrics that are easy to relate to and a melody to get lost in.

But I would have liked to have heard something a bit more up-beat for the third track in, Promises Are Broken, with its big cathedral-esque acoustics. The real diversion, and a welcome one, does come next with the flamenco-style strumming filled Aliens, but it isn’t my favourite.

The ominous-sounding The Burden of Survival has a gently pleasant guitar baseline, and a typical Bridie vocal which adds depth. This gives way to the drama of The Woman with Milk Teeth, with its intriguing opening and uneasy double act of violin and voice, which seem to emulate one another in places. I love the name of this track, but towards the very end I felt it hadn’t entirely got to its destination.

Mucky is the lightest point and while in a way it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album, it points to the fact that Bridie can deviate from the standard folk song into fun, altogether more up-tempo foot-tapping stuff and I would have loved to hear more of this variation.

There are definitely myriad influences at work through this all too short nine-track album. Please forgive my human ways for example, must have been inspired by the chain gang, and while it could have done with a little more variation, Bitter Lullabies as a whole is as stark as it is beautiful. I look forward to its follow-up. - KYEO.tv


From the moment Bridie Jackson arrived on stage you knew it was going to be a special evening. A capacity home crowd helped, but it was more about the atmosphere Jackson creates, working up magic from seemingly simple elements.
The haunting first song, We Talked Again (also the opener on the Bitter Lullabies album) was electrifying, just Bridie’s rich, clear vocals over a delicate, spine-tingling bell plate pattern, harmonies and a pulsing cello. The impact was astonishing and from thereon in, she had us.

Instruments came and went, and what was essentially folk music managed to take in flamenco, blues, gospel and much more, but the night was ultimately all about the voices: the wonderfully arranged chorus around her, of course, but primarily Jackson’s voice itself. A thing of rare depth and power and control, equally affecting as a murmur or a full throated roar. After the main set ended with Jackson showered in rose petals and bouquets – which did bring a little grit to my eye – she closed with a couple of solo acoustic songs, one witty and charming, the other sadder and more reflective, and 500-odd people left the Sage entirely spellbound. - Narc Magazine / Speakers Push Air


Bitter Lullabies is the debut album from north-east outfit, Bridie Jackson and The Arbour, and they’re launching it at The Sage Gateshead this month. Colour us excited.
Bridie Jackson has the kind of voice that really commands your attention. Not in a peeling the paint off the rafters kind of manner, but in the way it seems to hang, spectrally in the air, beamed in from the outer reaches of time and space. Her debut album features nine original songs and is replete with rich layers of instrumentation featuring cello, violin, mandolin, bell plates, bassoon, glockenspiel and guitar with influences taking in everything from gospel to baroque melodies, echoes of which can be found in the work of Joanna Newsome and Feist. Support comes from Nathalie Stern, another stellar local talent that we’re filing under “Utterly Beguiling”.
- The Crack Magazine


Returning back to our fine crop of local musicians, the spotlight falls on accomplished folk artist Bridie Jackson. Having spent the past couple of years developing a significant loyal fan base in her hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne, with her band ‘The Arbour’, Bridie Jackson is now ready to take her beautifully ethereal sound to the next level.

With support slots for Alasdair Roberts, Cara Dillon, and Karma Francis already under her belt, Bridie Jackson has created a live performance that has gained a critically acclaimed reputation. Strong, passionate, and totally absorbing, Jackson’s mastery over her vocals shapes the striking energy each of her gigs is formed upon. It is this high praise that has perpetuated Jackson’s ability to tour extensively and aide her DIY promotional efforts, with many fans learning of her music through a wildfire of word of mouth.
'We talked again’ is the lead track from Bridie Jackson’s debut album ‘Bitter Lullabies’, and rightly so as the track encapsulates the careful craft of strings and vocal harmonies which reflect the album as a whole. With an eerie sense of intimacy, ‘We talked again’ rests within shades of melancholy and mystery, and ultimately sinks into your soul with an climatic warmth. Released today, Bridie Jackson is debuting ‘Bitter Lullabies’ at the wonderful Sage Gateshead tonight, and I wholeheartedly recommend you head down to witness this very talented musician live. - Generator


Discography

'Bitter Lullabies' - Debut album - 2012
“A unique record of startling beauty.” (Manifesto magazine)
Featuring 9 original songs arranged with rich layers of vocal harmonies, cello, violin, mandolin, bell plates, bassoon, glockenspiel and guitar.
"...varied ensembles accompany many tracks, while some are stripped back to just a cappella voices. The album is united by Bridie’s voice... her style changes from strong and soulful, to an emotional cry, to an intimate near whisper. This impressive range is, like the other instruments, used with great care." (Now Then magazine)
“An album of stunning authenticity, which manages to be simultaneously contemporary and timeless, Bitter Lullabies’ ought to be treasured by all who hear it.” (Little River Fanzine)

'Live at St Annes' - live EP - 2010
“Bridie clearly adores performing, but this gig, while featuring her familiar acoustic guitar, also demonstrated her emerging talent as a genuinely innovative musician, often accompanying her strumming with the use of bassoon, violin and vocal harmonies. It may sound sycophantic, but I doubt we’ll have to wait very long to see her define the north east vocal folk scene.” (KYEO.tv)

'Prolong' - EP - 2009
Released through Urban & Eastern. The Crack said “here’s four songs of rare beauty … Bridie Jackson has a voice that exists to hang in a rarified atmosphere … anti-folk but pro-beauty”. The EP was a beautiful article in itself, with artwork by 50ft Long Horse, and design by Supanaught.

Photos

Bio

From a cult following, “a wildfire of word of mouth” (Generator NE) brought a sell-out launch show at The Sage Gateshead in January, for critically acclaimed debut album, 'Bitter Lullabies'. A flurry of press interest, rave international reviews, shows and festival slots across the country has followed rapidly. 2012 definitely looks set to be the year for Bridie Jackson and The Arbour.

Bridie has a unique voice "that despite its strength and power has a whisper like quality that draws you in with its gentle intimacy and bewitching melancholy" (The Crack Magazine). Her voice and “inventive guitar playing that instantly intrigues" (Head Scaffold), are complemented by 'The Arbour', a talented group of musicians who provide rich layers of vocal harmonies alongside combinations of cello, violin, mandolin and bell plates. The range of instruments are used sparingly; "working up magic from seemingly simple elements" (Narc magazine), in a set which varies from the entirely a capella to riotous, stomping, bluegrass-tinged new folk.

The breadth of influences that can be heard in their distinctive sound ranges from gospel music to flamenco, as well as the more contemporary echoes of artists such as The Fleet Foxes, Goldfrapp and Feist. This is music that proves impossible to define, yet is instantly engaging, as Bridie's "casual, kick-off-my-shoes confidence draws the audience in" (Laura Fraine, Journal Culture).

“Bridie Jackson & The Arbour are the bona fide darlings of the Newcastle folk scene” (Arts Council NE)

"(Bridie) is a powerful, down to earth performer, with an otherworldly voice. This girl could, and probably will, fill stadiums full of people in the future and is most definitely set for greater things.” (The Crack Magazine)

"Really quite splendid" (Gideon Coe, BBC 6Music)

Band Members