Music in The Hall: Emily Barker, Ags Connolly
"Emily Barker’s latest album Sweet Kind of Blue was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis with Grammy winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and an all-star cast of Memphis session players. The success of the album, with it’s seamless mix of soul, blues, country and folk influences, and the globe-trotting tours to support it helped land Emily the accolade of UK Artist of the Year 2018 at the recent UK Americana Awards held at Hackney Empire in London.
Emily Barker is perhaps best known as the writer and performer of the award-winning theme to BBC crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. She has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands including The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae and Applewood Road (with whom she released a remarkable album of original songs recorded live around a single microphone, which was dubbed “flawless” by The Sunday Times) and has written for film, including composing her first feature film soundtrack (for Jake Gavin’s lauded debut feature Hector starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen). Ags Connolly is a traditional country singer-songwriter from Oxfordshire, England.
Having attempted to write songs for years, Ags found the confidence to take it seriously after attending a workshop with Nashville super-musician Darrell Scott. Since then he’s built a reputation as an inspired songwriter at major festivals and as a constant presence on the touring circuit. As well as regular headline solo shows, Ags has also undertaken a southern-states US tour with a full band.
Ags’ influences come essentially from hardcore country songwriters like David Allan Coe, Johnny Paycheck and Dale Watson. However, he also takes major singer-songwriter influences from the likes of Guy Clark, Loudon Wainwright III and Chris Knight.
The debut album ‘How About Now’ was released in February 2014, receiving rave reviews including being named ‘Album of the Month’ in Country Music People magazine who described him as “the closest we’ve ever come to and English Willie Nelson”. The album was also heralded as “a masterpiece” by Maverick magazine. In 2016, Country Music People magazine named the song ‘When Country Was Proud’ as one of the Top 50 country songs from the last 30 years."
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'Heartfelt songwriting... bridging the gap between folk, country and Fleetwood Mac' - The Times.
'Ambitious and beautifully wrought' - Q.
Along with her regular cannon of work, Emily also wrote her first score for a feature film starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen, and penning/performing the theme to BBC TV’s Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. This Bafta and Ivor Novello award-winning singer-songwriter blends classical, rock, country and folk influences to stunning effect. As a live performer, she captivates her audience.
Emily Barker tour dates
A singer/songwriter from Oxfordshire whose songs are mainly in the style of traditional country. SInce attending a workshop with Nashville super-musician, Darrell Scott, Ags has been writing seriously and performing regularly including sharing the stage with Dale Watson in Austin, Texas.
his influences mainyl come from hardcore country including David Allan Coe, Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Robert Earl Keen and Chris Knight. However, he also takes major non-country influences from the likes of Loudon Wainwright III and Ron Sexsmith.
Ags Connolly tour dates
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Venue: St Georges Hall