Kirsty Merryn is fast on her way to making herself a household name within folk music. Having spent part of 2017 supporting the mighty Show of Hands on their tour her unique and soulful voice has been ringing out like a bell up and down the country. Alongside this, Merryn never sets herself to ease and has also released her latest aural treat, She & I which has hit the music scene like a meteor strike.
She & I is an album that is somewhat short and sweet, with just 8 tracks to its name it doesn’t have the longest play time but this means that Merryn sets herself the task of showing you what she can do within a limited timeframe. This is something that she does with a flourish as she brings to life an album that is elegant and charming while carefully flirting with a tinge of darkness throughout. There is a cheeky and almost macabre humour that pervades her songs in some instances such as Bring up the Bodies. This playful tinge is juxtaposed alongside jubilant and yet often haunting melodies that send your mind reeling. However, playful though she may be Merryn is able to rapidly switch to her more sombre and sentimental side with songs such as Forefarshire.
Forfarshire features the talents of the incredible Steve Knightley from Show of Hands, and tells the story of Grace Darling, a Victorian heroine, and her father William, a lighthouse keeper. Filmed on the beautiful south Devon coast, the full music video will be released in conjunction with the album on 9 November.
Merryn is frankly a truly wondrous performer with a stunning collection of songs to her name. Her work is rich and refreshing, she carefully fuses old and new to create her own infusion of contemporary folk music. Her tenacity and determination to experiment is inspired and the music she produces as a result of this seems to plant itself somewhere between the work of Kate Bush, Cara Dillon and The Unthanks. Bring up the Bodies is one such song that seems to defy categorisation as discordant drum beats meet rattling chains and eerily haunting vocals and ethereal noises. The strange thing about this is that on paper this sounds like it could match one of a thousand folk melodies and yet to listen to it you find it seems almost more of a dark form of jazz than folk. Merryn presents the sound of the folk of the future.
Kirsty Merryn has an utterly breath-taking voice that is as sweet as sugarcane and as soft as a feather. Her honeyed vocals are elevated with her every off-time beat and twisted note that rings out during She & I. Her warm, rich experimental songs all come together in a clash of genres that refuses categorisation to create a whole new texture to the folk scene. As She & I washes over you it gradually sinks in that these tales and songs could be told by no other. They are each uniquely and inimitably Merryn’s and you end your evening infinitely glad that she has opted to share them with you.
Review by Joe Knipe