Emily Barker

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Emily Barker
Emily Barker 1.jpg
Background information
Also known as Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo
Origin Bridgetown, Western Australia, Australia
Genres Folk, pop
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Years active 2003–present
Labels Everyone Sang Linn Records
Website www.emilybarker.com

Emily Barker (born 2 December 1980)[1][2] (born in Bridgetown, Western Australia) is an Australian-born English singer-songwriter and guitarist. With multi-instrumental trio The Red Clay Halo, she has recorded four albums: Photos.Fires.Fables. (2006), Despite The Snow (2008), Almanac (2011) and "Dear River" (2013).

Musical career[edit]

Emily travelled to the UK in 2002, and was first based in Cambridge where she collaborated with guitarist Rob Jackson. They formed a band called The Low Country which released two albums, Welcome to the Low Country (2003) and The Dark Road (2004), tracks from which enjoyed plays on John Peel's BBC radio show.[3]

In October 2005 Emily won Country Song of the Year and Regional Song of the Year awards at the annual West Australian Music Songwriting Awards. Also in 2005, Emily started work on her debut solo album, the critically acclaimed Photos.Fires.Fables. The release of this album saw the birth of The Red Clay Halo, an all-female trio of Anna Jenkins, Jo Silverston and Gill Sandell who collectively provide backing harmony vocals and who respectively play violin, cello and musical saw, and accordion, piano and flute.

The band's second studio album, Despite The Snow, was recorded in live sessions in a 16th century barn in Norfolk. Self-released in November 2008 on Emily's own label Everyone Sang, the album again garnered much praise.

In late 2008, the album's opening track "Nostalgia" was discovered by composer Martin Phipps who re-recorded it with Emily for use as the theme tune for the hit television series Wallander on BBC1 starring British actor Kenneth Branagh. The first series, which attracted over 6 million viewers per episode, won a slew of awards, including several BAFTAs[4] and a Royal Television Society award for its theme tune.[5] In 2010, the song "Nostalgia" was selected for the first independent labels' Storm The Charts campaign.[6]

Emily and the Red Clay Halo filming the video for "Little Deaths"

February 2011 saw the release of Almanac. The release of this album was accompanied by sessions for Cerys Matthews on 6 Music and Radio 4's Loose Ends, while the single "Little Deaths" was record of the week on Nemone's show on 6 Music.[7] Emily and the band again went on the road in the UK, culminating in a complete performance of Almanac at St Giles-in-the-Fields church in London. Almanac was jointly funded by spareroom.com, and a fan-funded campaign on Pledgemusic.com.[7]

The song "Pause" from Almanac was the theme tune for a major 2011 BBC2 drama serial, The Shadow Line, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Christopher Eccleston.[8] Martin Phipps again adapted the song for the title sequence.

Emily performs in London and has regularly toured the UK with the Red Clay Halo. She has supported artists such as The Waifs, Jose Gonzalez, Mary Gauthier and Frank Turner. In the autumn of 2012, she toured Europe alongside Chuck Ragan, Cory Branan, Rocky Votolato, and Jay Malinowski as part of The Revival Tour.[9]

In 2014 Emily will perform at the award winning North Nibley Music Festival.[10]


The Low Country
  • Welcome To The Low Country (2003)
  • The Dark Road (2004)
Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo
  • Photos.Fires.Fables. (2005)
  • Despite The Snow (2008)
  • Almanac (2011)
  • Dear River (2013)

Roles of Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo[edit]

  • Emily Barker: songwriter, vocals, guitar, harmonica.
  • Gill Sandell: accordion, piano, flute, vocals, percussion.
  • Jo Silverston: cello, bass, saw, banjo, vocals.
  • Anna Jenkins: violin, viola, vocals.

Festivals and Live Shows[edit]

  • London's Camden Crawl Festival [13]
  • End of the Road Festival[14]
  • Wenstock Folk Festival [15]
  • The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me event at The Tate Britain, curated by Arctic Circle.[16]
  • The Arctic Circle Christmas show at Kings Place, London.[17]


Uncut magazine

Photos.Fires.Fables is 'sharply observed, original songs …adventurously embellished by gypsy flourishes and haunting desert echoes that'd be at home on a Calexico album'.


Gave Despite the Snow a four star review, saying it was 'stripped free of studio frippery and all the better for its carefree simplicity'.[7]

The Times

Awarded her live performance five stars and compared her to Gillian Welch and Laura Cantrell'[19] A review of Despite the Snow said 'the hills have yet to be emptied of gold if you know where to look'.

BBC music website

Of Almanac said: 'This is a dream of a record. A new Marling, then? No, Barker offers something else...'[20]

Mojo magazine

Have also covered Emily Barker and her music.[12]


External links[edit]