Back in 2012, Bridie Jackson and the Arbour, burst onto the nationwide music scene with their critically acclaimed debut album, Bitter Lullabies. Since then, the momentum has showed no signs of slowing! 2013 and 2014 were incredible, yet busy years for them. They released a couple of new singles, performed five times over five different stages at Glastonbury, were heralded by various publications as ‘ones to watch’, featured in live sessions for the BBC on Dermot O’Leary’s Radio 2 show, and for Tom Robinson on Radio 6 Music. On top of that, they also found time to write, record and release a second album (2014’s New Skin), tour the country, including a headline slot at Newcastle’s Evolution Emerging festival, AND co-write and perform ‘The River Keeper’ with homeless charity, Streetwise Opera. Phew! We chatted to Bridie ahead of her upcoming tour to promote her fantastic new single Far From The Tree.
TSOTA: When did you realise you wanted to be a folk musician?
BJ: I grew up in a musical family, and my dad is a composer who always encouraged me to be creative, so I started out pretty young. As for becoming a folk musician, I don’t really feel that I am one, as such. I’m influenced by a lot of different musical styles, but because we play acoustic instruments, I suppose it comes out sounding quite Folkesque, maybe!
TSOTA: What is the inspiration behind your new single, Fall From The Tree?
BJ: Well, it’s essentially an inversion of the phrase, The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree, which basically means ‘like father, like son’ etc. I was interested in the idea of when this isn’t the case at all, and children turn out absolutely nothing like their parents, and everyone feels like strangers in their own home. It’s not autobiographical though – I’m most definitely a chip off the old block!
TSOTA: Your tour kicks off in Leeds on Tuesday; does the first tour date tend to be the most nerve-wracking?
BJ: It depends on lots of things. Funnily enough, smaller audiences tend to make me more nervous, as it seems more intimate… Also lighting plays a big part. If it’s really dark and I can’t see people’s faces then I don’t feel able to get to know the audience, which definitely contributes to the nerves!
TSOTA: You officially launch the new single in Newcastle on March 29th. Are the homecoming gigs the ones you most look forward to?
BJ: Yes, I think so. There is definitely something special about playing to the home team crowd!
TSOTA must offer you our congratulations because, as well as the new single and the upcoming tour, you have also been awarded the PRS Women Make Music grant! Could you tell us more about that, and how you got involved?
BJ: Thanks! We actually applied for the grant back in September last year, and found out we had been chosen just before Christmas. As an independent band, we are always very proactive about applying for grants and looking for funding, and PRSF are a fantastic organisation – I recommend that bands check out their website and see what different grants are available.
TSOTA: For those wanting to expand their horizons, who are your favourite folk acts at the moment?
BJ: I’m currently really enjoying a band from Manchester called Slow Show. Also, do check out the two other bands we are about to go on tour with, Gilmore and Roberts, and Heg and The Wolf Chorus.
TSOTA: Recently, your fellow North East folk duo, The Unthanks, featured on Sting’s new album. What would be your dream collaboration?
BJ: We all recently went to see tUnE- yArDs play at Sage Gateshead and were blown away by them, so I think that would be an exciting collaboration!
TSOTA: And finally, does the new single hint that album number three is on it’s way?
BJ: Yes, hopefully it does! Not sure when yet though…
Bridie Jackson and the Arbour play Oporto on Tuesday 24th March. Last remaining advance tickets are available here.