ALBUM LAUNCH: Jubilee Hall in Stoke – June 18th TICKET LINK
Award-winning vocalist and songwriter Ms Amy Birks is thrilled to announce the second single BROTHERS, taken from her forthcoming self-produced sophomore solo album IN OUR SOULS. The video was premiered by PROG MAGAZINE today – LINK
In Our Souls is available digitally today, and for fans of vinyl and CD, it can be pre-ordered in a limited edition of 500 copies that is due for release June 17th 2022 and combines a 140g black vinyl pressing in a gatefold sleeve with a compact disc.
Brothers is accompanied by an official video and is without-doubt the most personal track on the album, Amy explains; “I have two estranged brothers and those tumultuous relationships have been the subject, or at least the undercurrent of many a song. For whatever reason, we have never seen eye to eye, hence the opening words of ‘I don’t understand why. Do you? Do you know why?’ and the build-up of aggression through the instrumentation. This, I suppose, is my therapy.”
For In Our Souls, out of the twelve tracks on the album, Birks, a long-standing fan of the Bronte sisters, sets the words of three Bronte poems to music. Birks furthered her knowledge of the sisters and their personal musical leanings through several trips to Howarth and the Bronte’s parsonage prior to selecting poems that would provide inspiration for the album.
“I did English literature at college,” Birks said in this issue of PROG MAGAZINE “and I’ve always had a fascination with the Brontes, I thought, ‘Well, Kate Bush has done Wuthering Heights so I’m not going to touch the novels, but what about the poetry?’ So I went through them and landed on three that I loved, one from each sister.”
The first single and title track of the album (released Feb 2022) draws on Charlotte Bronte’s poem In Our Souls, A Death Scene was inspired by a work by Emily Bronte, while The Dream comes from Anne Bronte.
“Anne was into vocal music,” Birks explains, ‘so I kept The Dream more like a singer-songwriter piece. Emily was quite passionate and dark, she was into Beethoven and Liszt, so I pushed the piano to the forefront on that, I found their words went very well with the sort of melodies I write.”
Amy, lead singer and lyricist of Beatrix Players, is joined on the album by Helena Dove and Tom Manning , two co-writers from the original line-up of that award-winning band. Manning also composed and played all the guitar parts on the album. Amy is once again accompanied by flautist John Hackett while introducing violinist Frank Van Essen and cellist Clare O’Connell to what is a virtuosic line-up.
The In Our Souls album represents Birks’ second time around as a producer and mixing engineer. She recalls the process as being “a time of solitude, of many a late night, exploring ideas and losing myself in the books and poetry of the Bronte’s and my own personal journey over the past few years, developing my ears, skills and confidence as a composer.
My first record, All That I Am & All That I Was, was very much about deeply personal experiences but with this album I wanted to extract more strength and feeling from the musical palette and have more fun with it, which has enabled me to step back a little from the lyrics and put more faith in my ability to write not only songs but pieces of music.”
UK TOUR DATES
APRIL 24th – (TRIO) – ROBIN 2, BILSTON
MAY 8th – THE 1865 – SOUTHAMPTON
JUNE 11th – (TRIO) – LONDON MUSIC MUSEUM – OPENING FOR TIM BOWNESS
JUNE 18th – (FULL BAND) ALBUM LAUNCH – JUBILEE HALL @ STOKE TOWN HALL TICKETS
JULY 2nd – (TRIO) – STRETHAM HOUSE CONCERTS, ELY
JULY 19th – (TRIO) – GREEN NOTE, LONDON – TICKETS
OCTOBER 21st – (DUO) – FORUM, DARLINGTON (OPENING FOR THE JOHN HACKETT BAND)