Review – Rise – Strangers – by Progradar

“Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.” ― Alphonse de Lamartine

I love that quote and it expresses perfectly how I feel about music, music has been my saviour in times of need and my champion in times of triumph. An ethereal miracle that salves the soul and inspires the heart and the latest album by the Sussex-based (UK) singer/songwriter RISE (previously Talitha Rise) is the pure definition of ‘the literature of the heart.’

RISE’s (aka Jo Beth Young) new musical journey weaves together intimate and cinematic stories marrying reverberations from the past with the struggles of the present day.

Exploring themes of love, loss, rebirth and transformation, RISE says: “David Gray once wrote a line that has stuck with me – “and when we meet again, we will be strangers”. That, in a nutshell, is the idea behind this album. This album traverses the challenge of the personal ‘abyss’ and the emergence from the bleakness of loss and separation. This gives way to hope, wisdom and the taking of responsibility.

Each location adds another layer of meaning and context to the stories within each song. I wanted these songs to be a conversation with the land, the place, the history that I was in at the time but it is intertwined with some of my own intense personal experiences.”

Strangers‘ is a collection of 9 songs that explore human nature, relationships and the harsh realities of life but Jo Beth’s amazing vocals imbue everything with a dark and painful beauty and sepia tinged loneliness and despair.

These songs are more like stories, pieces of music that bring the characters to life and you are kept hanging on every note and every word, the inevitability and bittersweetness of change is apparent throughout.

Opening track Dark Cloud lays the foundations and sets the sombre atmosphere from the first stark note. There is a feel of a soul laid bare and a heart that has been broken time and time again and this runs throughout this phenomenal piece of music, through the classical tinged wonder of Temples and the harsh realities of title track Strangers, which speaks of a husband returning from war so changed that he is now unrecognisable. This is music that is utterly enigmatic, captivating and yet, in places, full of foreboding.

The simple, pared back allure of Cry Back Moon, the drama of Burnt Offerings and the mournful grace of the elegant Rabbit Eyes show a songwriter at one with her craft, weaving mesmerising stories that draw the listener in and when you have a voice as stunning as Jo Beth’s, it is an instrument in its own right and one which imbues every song with an aura of mystique.

The first track released from ‘Strangers’ was the wonderful Radio Silence and on the album it returns like an old friend, perhaps a little world weary and disheveled but a friend who you are happy to spend endless hours with trading nostalgic stories of a brighter past. Skysailing has that contemplative feel of a warm breeze on a hazy summers day, a thoughtful, slightly melancholy song that leaves traces in your memory long after it has finished.

The album closes with the utterly beguiling dark folk brilliance of The Old Sewing Woman’s Song, the story of a life lived unfulfilled and one which is told at Jo Beth’s enthralling best. Nine minutes of musical perfection that harks back to the old days of bards and storytellers as they regaled their audiences with tales of legend, often dark and forever fascinating.

Music truly is the literature of the heart when it comes to releases like ‘Strangers’, this album is truly a work of musical art created by one of the most avant-garde folk songwriters currently alive. Each track has layers of texture that are almost primeval in nature, each is a living and breathing entity that will take each listener on their own personal journey. I suggest you get your hands on a copy and see where this incredible record takes you.

Released 18/10/19.

Strangers Pre-order and Video on Indieogo https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/r-i-s-e-strangers/

Single Review – Rise – Radio Silence – by Progradar

Rise – Radio Silence

Radio Silence, the second single from upcoming album ‘Strangers’ is a bitter/sweet and raw account of being cut out or ghosted and alludes to some gut wrenching references, such as a woman whose parachute is cut by her husband, a biblical scapegoat and the dark fate of the lifeboat keepers of Small’s Lighthouse.

R I S E (aka Jo Beth Young) is an English songwriter whose relentlessly authentic songs and mesmeric voice cut deep into the fabric of human frailty with a visionary sound swaying hypnotically between dream folk and progressive grit; at times dark but always beautiful.

Since the release of her debut album ‘An Abandoned Orchid House’ in 2018 (under the longer moniker of Talitha Rise) she has been gathering international acclaim and support from BBC 6, BBC Introducing Devon, and the legendary ECHOES Radio in the USA who made her the number 1 album of the year 2018.

Establishing her unique sound early on in Ireland cutting her teeth on the folk circuit, she returned to the UK and met her long-term collaborator Martyn Barker (Shriekback, Goldfrapp, Robert Plant) and caught the attention of Chris Difford (Squeeze) who sang on her debut EP Blue.

Rise’s haunting and mesmerising vocal is the mainstay and backbone of this incredibly moving track. The ethereal and waif-like voice has you completely enthralled in this bitter-sweet tale and the raw, pared back music is a perfect accompaniment.

There’s a painfully wistful overtone to the whole song, it’s beauty wrought from a tender agony and one that cuts deep to the bone. As the track comes to a close you are left almost bereft but with an urge to hear more, testimony to the wonderful art of the songwriter.

“Radio Silence
A new kind of violence.
Who took the leaves out of the trees?
A consequence you cannot believe is radio silence.
A special kind of violence.
A consequence you can defend.
Betrayal of your only friend.”

Raw, painful but beautifully mesmerising, Rise once again shows that she is a serious talent and one that the world is waking up to and taking notice of…

Released 22nd August 2019

Pre-order from iTunes here: https://music.apple.com/us/album/radio-silence-single/1474912486

Review – Talitha Rise – An Abandoned Orchid House – by Progradar

“Some people have lives; some people have music.”
― John Green, Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Music is what makes my life complete, it fills the holes and spaces in time and I honestly couldn’t be without it. Some music is so compelling that it can take over your life, pausing you in a moment in time, not caring or worrying about anything else and the elfin, ethereal vocals of Talitha Rise (better known as Jo Beth Young) definitely belong in that category.

Following on from the beautiful EP ‘Blue’, Jo is releasing her debut full length album ‘An Abandoned Orchid House’ on June 1st. It is a release full of captivating, wistful songs wound around themes of isolation and abandonment.

Ten stripped back creations full of emotions, sometimes dark and despairing and often passionate and full of desire, this is a sentimental and uplifting soundscape that leads, through sacrifice and estrangement, to hope and optimism.

Jo Beth Young has a sublime and refined voice that has a haunting aura and reminds me of an early Kate Bush or Tori Amos and it is her most potent weapon. When added to the intelligent, captivating lyrics it gives wonderful songs. ‘An Abandoned Orchid House’ was recorded in many locations from living rooms and kitchen tables in Devon to a beautiful manor house in Sussex.

“I like to think this has given them some real sense of isolation, even when the tracks are very big.” Jo says, “I wanted them to feel like a personal and intimate conversation between myself and the listener.”

That is exactly what you get. Listening to this enchanting record, you feel like you are cocooned by the music and living in your own, private performance of the songs, very intimate indeed.

There’s a who’s who of guest perfomers including Juldeh CamaraPeter Yates, Arnulf Linder and Rory McFarlane and everything is complemented to perfection by long time collaborator Martyn Barker.

The nostalgic wonder of songs like Valley and Incantation and the Clannad-like River leaves you mesmerised and lost in time and space in your own mind. The profound imagery comes to life in your head as you listen to the soulful music and beguiling vocals, these songs are written for the pure joy of music and you feel a surge of love rise up in your heart and soul as you hear every bewitching note.

There’s a stark elegance and charm to songs like Orchid House and the stunning Chapel Bell, an honest melancholy that filters through and captures you in its embrace and you feel every emotion and affectation.

Every song on the album is a mesmerising moment in time but my personal favourite is the utterly wonderful The Lake, a spellbinding song that lingers long in the memory after it comes to a fascinating close.

I’ve been waiting for this new album for a long time and have not been disappointed by what Talitha Rise has composed, it comes to a close with Twisted Tree and the haunting Lifeboat ,two more exceptional and captivating pieces that complete the amazing musical tapestry.

In my humble opinion everybody needs music to complete their life, to give you a reason to get up every morning and go out to work and Talitha Rise has delivered one of those perfect moments in time, an album of songs of such rare quality, delivered by the most wonderful voice, that stands out like a ray of light in the darkening world that increasingly surrounds us. My music loving friends it just doesn’t get any better than this!

Released 1st June 2018

Pre-orders for ‘An Abandoned Orchid House’ will open soon, order here

 

Review – Talitha Rise – Blue EP – by Progradar

“There is beauty in the unspoiled innocence of music, a beauty that cannot be quantified but one that fills the soul with empathy and love.”

I wrote that after my umpteenth listen to the first EP from Talitha Rise – ‘Blue’, I like music that has pomp and circumstance and power and glory but I also love music that has the power to move me with it’s grace and beauty and ‘Blue’ fits perfectly in the latter category.

Talitha Rise is the solo project of Jo Beth Young, Jo Beth has been likened to artists such as Tori Amos, First Aid Kit, Mazzy Star and Stevie Nicks all the while remaining a striking and unique voice that hypnotizes the ear.

Whether recorded or live her music grabs the listener from the first few notes and plunges them into the deep with a combination of diverse and haunting vocals, melodical journeys that makes you wonder where on earth you have been for the last 30 minutes.

Her EP ‘Blue’ (co-written and co-produced by Martyn Barker (Shriekback) introduced a forest of unfurled noise where a plethora of strings and lush unexpected sounds wind themselves around stories and understated guestings from artists such as Juldeh Camara (Robert Plant) and Chris Difford (Squeeze).

Six atmospheric songs of understated grace, ‘Blue’ opens with the dreamlike Magpies, a track with an otherworldly feel to it and one where the ethereal qualities of Jo Beth’s gorgeous vocals just draw you in. It’s Folk music but like nothing you’ve really heard before, the pared back rawness of the music adding a primal gloss to everything. Shadow Navigation carries the theme further with a delicate guitar and strings guiding the haunting vocal along a hidden path. These songs were conceived and inspired by the surrounding nature of East Sussex and you can almost feel the life-force running through them. A plaintive violin adds pathos and humility to the stark beauty at the heart of Jo Beth’s elfin-like voice.

There’s an impish tone to Golden Moon, a track with a more traditional folk edge to the music, Listening to Jo Beth I imagine myself in a mist-shrouded dawn as her elegantly lilting tones bewitch you. This song has a more serious overtone, darker, more intriguing as it segues into progressive-folk with its allegorical connotations, slightly devilish and wild. The most pared back song on the EP, Deadwood is a delicate and sublime piece of music, the fragility barely held back as Jo Beth delivers her halting vocal like an ancient troubadour, backed by the bare essentials of instrumentation. There’s a ghostly, intangible sensation that hangs over the whole track and you find yourself getting lost in its inestimable charm.

Wide-eyed innocence flows from Jo Beth’s voice as she sings the opening words to Morning, another simple and yet delightful piece of music that plucks at your heart strings with its naiveté and guilelessness. Perhaps more Art Pop than folk, it fits in with the rest of the songs perfectly. There’s no complications to music when it is as simple and unpretentious as this and it lifts the heavy weight of life from your soul. Too soon the EP comes to a close with Doves, perhaps the most progressively tinged track with its enigmatic aura. A passionate and ardent song, Jo Beth gives us her most powerful vocal performance and yet she never loses that childlike innocence from her voice. The vibrant music delivers a colourful soundscape that envelops all and closes out the EP in elegant style.

Captivating and bewitching from the first note, the ethereal beauty and childlike grace of Jo Beth Young’s vocals are at the core of ‘Blue’, a wondrously engaging collection of songs that serve notice of a musical talent to watch out for. She is currently finishing the debut Talitha Rise album due for release in late  2017. The Lake is the first single of the album.

Released 14th February 2017

Buy ‘Blue’ from bandcamp