Barry Noakes – FFO: Pixies; John Prine; Joan Armatrading

I’d say my music was now part-folk, part-country, part-indie but all heart” – Barry Noakes

A skilled multi-instrumentalist with indie flair, Barry Noakes marries multiple genres with heart and soul, which is more than evident with his upcoming album ‘A New Dawn’ – a ten-track personal journey through irreverent songwriting and an exceptionally raw vocal performance.

Opening with ‘Crows a Calling’, the album is ignited with slowly building guitar that sets the tone as soulful and soft. With a strong country influence, it feels open and all-round joyful. Strings are utilised to their full potential, and every instrument meshes together to create a strong first track. The folk-country feel is explored to the fullest in songs such as ‘Let Me Know’ and ‘Highlander’s Home’, which offer relatable lyricism and smooth musicality. Noakes is a consummate professional, which is evident in ‘A New Dawn’.

A real highlight is ‘Unavailable’, which combines a good old country ballad with blues-inspired pacing and bass, leaving the listener thoroughly captivated by the lament. It has a real sing-along quality and conjures up images of bar-goers performing the song karaoke-style, it brings people together through feelings of longing and heartache. The vocal performance is unfiltered and authentic, adding a real genuine edge to every word.

‘Fist Full of Fears’ slows the album down and offers a raspy vocal performance that overflows with emotion. It is a stand out and shows off Noakes’ ability as a vocalist wrapped in an impassioned retelling of pure human struggle. ‘Down to the River’ and ‘Holding on the Sand’ maintain the poignant tone in a measured way, never veering off into overwhelming territory but instead maintains a warming and real feel. With songs like ‘Trailer Tent’ adding a humour and quirk level that perfectly fits the surrounding folk-country backing and ‘So it is Written’ closing the album out on an anthemic note, the album feels fully realised and strong in its narrative.

The title track, ‘A New Dawn’, lives up to the rest of the album. It is an excellent representation of everything that has come before and after it; once again, a brilliant example of fusion. It reminds listeners of the skilled songwriting and pacing that has been weaved throughout the whole experience.

Overall, ‘A New Dawn’ is refreshing, honest and real. Never feeling over the top or dramatised. It speaks of human connection in a way all can relate to, making it a highly entertaining experience from start to end. It will be released on 1st May digitally, on CD and limited-edition vinyl, so mark the date on your calendars.

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Words by Ellen Oakley

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