Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo
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Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Press quotes for recent singles and Almanac album"

Almanac, CD album
“This is a dream of a record. A new Marling, then? No, Barker offers something else..."
BBC Music editor’s choice Feb 2011

Pause, digital single
“The crisp, tight vocal harmonies provided by The Red Clay Halo make this a mesmerizing, angelic piece of music that somehow lifts you out of its own loneliness.” Drowned In Sound

Almanac, CD album
“This is an album that, for all its watery themes, spills over with blood, guts and a robust appetite for life, with Barker’s narrative-driven lyrics pitched against duelling fiddles, see-sawing accordions and a particularly gothic-sounding pipe organ on the exquisitely eerie Pause. Highly recommended.” Metro - various

"Praise for Despite The Snow (LP)"

‘chamber-folk of the highest order’ – Rock n Reel

‘stripped free of studio frippery and all the better for its carefree simplicity’ **** - Q

‘strong melodies that at times evoke images of Richard and Linda Thompson… as strong a collection of acoustic folk songs that I have heard for a long time’ 8/10 – Americana-uk.com

‘There’s that haunted folksy sound to Emily’s vocals which recalls Natalie Merchant’s expressive voice… a superb album’ – Pennyblackmusic.co.uk

‘stunningly beautiful’ – Electric Ghost

‘her fellow Australians The Waifs are an obvious comparison, but perhaps a more relevant name is that of Laura Veirs - with All Love Knows and particularly Disappear sounding a lot like the American's earlier work’ – Musicomh.com

‘music that's going to take you away from the scummy smog filled streets and leave you in a warm forest dappled with green light shining through the leaves of sycamores and ancient oak’ – Unpeeled.net

- various

"Live review: Emily Barker at King’s Head"

Pete Paphides
5 stars

The guitar, crisp and dewy, and the understated accordion wheeze were Appalachian in flavour. But the very first line of Nostalgia — Emily Barker’s opening song at this basement show — referenced tram wires “crossing Melbourne skies”. Therein lay perhaps the reason why Barker hasn’t been garlanded with quite the zeal lavished upon some of her contemporaries.

It might be that we don’t expect a woman from Western Australia to slip into an idiom more commonly associated with a certain sort of American singer — one who uses the revenue accrued from a deft updating of back-porch traditions to replenish her wardrobe of floral print dresses.

But, over the course of two exquisite solo albums, Barker has easily shown herself to be the equal of, say, Gillian Welch or Laura Cantrell. Playing with the all-female band that she assembled for her Despite the Snow album last year, Barker’s delivery on the keening break-up dispatches of Sideline hinted at the aftertaste of an emotional pill that had yet to dissolve.

Her persona between songs couldn’t have been more different and that only compounded her charms. She bore a ruddy bonhomie that you would sooner expect of an Australian nanny in Kensington than a forensic dissector of love’s travails. But that might have been the red wine, which she apologetically glugged, disingenuously pointing out that there appeared to be no smaller glasses to hand.

It wasn’t merely that her band were superb but that they seemed bound by an almost psychic attunement. In a new song called Little Deaths the violinist Anna Jenkins and cellist Jo Silverstone circled in on Barker’s vocals with a predatory, pensive air. As Gill Sandell swapped her accordion for flute, the sound migrated towards a seam of baroque English chamber-folk for which Nick Drake has latterly become a byword. Fiddle-abetted covers of Neil Young’s Look Out for My Love and Mike Waterson’s Bright Phoebus were well chosen.

Anyone new to Barker’s oeuvre would have been forgiven for thinking that the song that followed, Fields of June — an instantly familiar love-gone-wrong double-hander — had been kicking around since Cecil Sharp was in short trousers. Not so. The hills have yet to be emptied of gold if you know where to look. - The Times (UK)


Photos. Fires. Fables. - CD album, 2006
Despite The Snow - CD album, 2008
Despite The Snow / This Is How It's Meant To Be - 7 inch single, 2009
Nostalgia 'Wallander theme' - digital single, 2010
Little Deaths - digital single, 2010
Calendar - digital single, 2011
Almanac - CD album, 2011
Pause + Pause 'The Shadow Line theme' - digital single 2011
Dear River (single, July 2013)
Dear River (album, July 2013)



Originally from Bridgetown, Western Australia, but now living in the UK, Emily Barker is a compelling, BAFTA award-winning songwriter with a gift for weaving melody and words. Her talent is perfectly complimented by the magnificent arrangements of her band The Red Clay Halo, whose rootsy ensemble playing underpins Barker’s agile vocal blend of strength and fragility.

Emily has recorded three albums with her band. The first was ‘Photos.Fires.Fables.’ (2007) - an eclectic tapestry of old-time narratives weaving gothic stories of fire, tragedy, love and hard lessons…

‘sharply observed, original songs …adventurously embellished by gypsy flourishes and haunting desert echoes that’d be at home on a Calexico album’ – Uncut

“This is a gorgeous, sincere voice that grabs you and won’t let go” - The Sun

Followed by ‘Despite The Snow’ (2008), recorded in just 4 days over a snowy Easter weekend in Norfolk. Critically acclaimed in the UK and Australian music press, its opening track ‘Nostalgia’ became the theme tune to BBC One drama Wallander starring British actor Kenneth Branagh. The music went on to win a BAFTA and a Royal Television Award.

Third album, Almanac, took things to another level and produced another BBC crime-drama theme tune, with Pause being used on The Shadow Line (which went on to win the Ivor Novello award for best TV soundtrack).

“Stripped free of studio frippery and all the better for its carefree simplicity” **** - Q Magazine

"The hills have yet to be emptied of gold if you know where to look.” - The Times

“This is a dream of a record. A new Marling, then? No, Barker offers something else..." - BBC Music editor’s choice Feb 2011

Emily and her band have played sold out headlines at prestigious venues like London's Union Chapel, toured Europe with Frank Turner and performed at the Olympics opening ceremony.