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29 Reviews
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally good, 19 July 2013
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
I think this is quite remarkably good. I hadn't heard Emily Barker before and I've plainly been missing out. This is an album of exceptionally thoughtful, atmospheric and musically fine songs with very good, original lyrics.

It's hard to categorize the style of this album (which is probably a good thing) but it has a sort of Americana feel but to me has a very English sound (Anglicana, perhaps?) - from an Australian artist, of course. The instrumentation of The Red Clay Halo is varied but is basically accordion, cello and viola with variations, and it gives a very distinctive sound which sets off Barker's songs perfectly. Her voice is very haunting and she can really put over a song, and the standard of musicianship throughout is consistently excellent. The production is great and the overall effect is a deeply involving, personal album which I find quite spellbinding.

The Limited Edition of Dear River includes a second version of the album consisting of acoustic demos. Usually I find such bonus material weak at best, but here it makes a terrific album itself. The stripped down versions of these songs, all apparently recorded in one day, are really good and in my view are well worth having.

I warmly recommend this album - I think it's something rather special.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just MAGIC with added MAGIC!!, 8 July 2013
By 
Aldo Z. Picek "Trieste1" (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The latest release from Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo is just MAGIC!!
The band are a fantastic talent!
A litle more mature and straight forward than Almanac, with more North American Folk leanings this time around I feel.
The bonus disc contains acoustic versions of the album's songs, and provides a more folky, enchanted edge to the collection brining it a little closer to Almanac.
I cannot wait to see the band on tour this year, it will be a mesmerising experience
This could be a great Decemberists' album...
Now Emily Barker and the Decemberists, now that would be a tour to follow!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic album, 10 July 2013
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This review is from: Dear River (Deluxe Version) (MP3 Download)
Another fantastic album from Emily and the girls. They just go from strength to strength. The addition of the acoustic tracks adds an extra wow factor to this great album. The track Ghost Narrative is my favourite.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Magic!, 8 July 2013
By 
Aldo Z. Picek "Trieste1" (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dear River (Audio CD)
The latest release from Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo is just MAGIC!!
The band are a fantastic talent!
A litle more mature and straight forward than Almanac, with more North American Folk leanings this time around I feel.
I cannot wait to see the band on tour this year, it will be a mesmerising experience
This could be a great Decemberists' album...
Now Emily Barker and the Decemberists, now that would be a tour to follow!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy It !!, 24 Sep 2013
By 
R. J. Barber - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dear River (Audio CD)
More upbeat than previous albums with a slight country and western influence. Great lyrics, great musicianship and very easy listening.
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5.0 out of 5 stars quality country sound, 18 April 2014
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This review is from: Dear River (Audio CD)
I love Emily barker music and this album is one of her best yet an album you can chill out to sunbathing in the garden
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 28 Feb 2014
By 
Emma "Jane Austin" (Horsham west sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dear River (Deluxe Version) (MP3 Download)
Quite simply this is a great album. It was another gamble on my part as not heard any of their music but again reviews were good so I took a chance and have not looked back. This was especially good as this version has lots of acoustic versions as well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars marvellous, 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Dear River (Deluxe Version) (MP3 Download)
Lovely album with beautiful melodies and Emily has really interesting voice; it has a super lilting quality. Story telling delight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Gem of a Double Album, 7 Jan 2014
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Take one Australian lass, transplant her to England, add three English lasses, and you have Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo. My first exposure to the band was through the Wallander series on PBS. The utterly haunting theme music is the song "Nostalgia" from the band's first album Despite the Snow.

Since learning of Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, I have explored and immersed myself through their entire catalog of music. Their sound and style would be best and loosely described as folk, and there are hints and glimpses of numerous genres including bluegrass, madrigal, etc. Their first three albums are entirely acoustic instrumentation, and Despite the Snow was even recorded in 16th century barn in England!

Dear River is their fourth studio album, and was released in July 2013. With this album, the sounds and atmospheres explored by the band continue to grow, and some electric instrumentation is introduced for the first time. The band ventures into a slightly more modern sound infused with folk, rock and pop influences. The album's thoughtful lyrics follow earthy themes throughout the album, such as a water, land, blood, etc.

The album opens with the title track and a subtle introductory guitar riff with catchy back beats. It is followed by the peppy and string laden "Tuesday," and the slow and retrospective choral "Letters." The toe tapping ballad "The Leaving" leads into the subtle electric guitar of the peppy "Everywhen." The stripped down ballad "Sleeping Horses" introduces the album's folk-rock gem, "The Ghost Narrative." This is followed by country picking sound of "A Spadeful of Ground." The album then treats you to the slow and sweet sounds of "The Cormorant and the Heron" and retrospective "In the Winter I Returned." The album closes with the optimistic folk ballad "The Blackwood."

After being used to the all acoustic instrumentation of the first three albums, I will readily admit that I was initially resistant to the introduction of some minor electric instrumentation upon the first listen. This resistance of mine was utterly foolish and unfounded, as it more than complements the style and atmosphere of the songs, and "The Ghost Narrative" is now among my favorites tracks from the band.

The band also did something very unique with this album, where the listener can get the best of both worlds. They released a "Deluxe Edition" of the album which contains a second CD, called "The Dog House Sessions." It is a version of the entire album recorded on acoustic instruments. Emily is quoted as saying "we wanted to have a record of how the songs sounded in this bare acoustic form, similar to how we recorded Despite The Snow. So earlier this year we went into The Dog House studios near Henley-on-Thames and recorded all eleven songs live in one day."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Sound, 29 Dec 2013
By 
P. Kane (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought both the CD (for the car) and the vinyl, but only recently got the chance to listen to the vinyl. My hearing is far from perfect, but even I can appreciate the difference; the vinyl really does sound quite special. It even feels superior - more like the older, fatter, harder LPs from the 50s and 60s (just like me!). A great production of a marvellous album from a first rate group of musicians.
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Dear River (Deluxe Version)
Dear River (Deluxe Version) by Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo
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