HANNAH WHITE - ELEPHANT EYE
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
- Artist: Hannah White
- Release Date: 9th February, 2018
- Genre: Americana, Folk, Singer-songwriter
- Record Label: Hannah White / Sound Lounge Records
- Tracks: 11
- Website: https://www.hannahwhitemusic.com/
- Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)
The multi-talented Hannah White is a London based singer-songwriter and co-owner of the one of our favourite music venues The Sound Lounge with husband Keiron Marshall. For Hannah's latest album 'Elephant Eye', she has invited a very impressive group of musicians to record with her including producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore, Martha Wainwright, Joan Baez) who also plays several instruments, Chris Hillman (Pedal Steel), Jimmy Forres (Guitar), Alan Lowes (Double Bass), Seadna McPhail (Percussion) and Paul Beavis (Drums and Percussion) with guitar playing and singer-songwriter husband Keiron adding backing vocals.
Hannah always writes from the heart and often there is an important message underpinning the songs. As you would expect the production and songwriting quality is very high on the album. with tracks ranging from delicate country ballads, sultry sounthern blues, country pop-rock and political themed songs based on important current events. Simply put Hannah is a politically-engaged singer-songwriter and a great ambassador of independent music both in London and the UK.
With a great track record Hannah has wowed audiences at shows with multi-Grammy Award winning Tim O’Brien, Thea Gilmore, Laurence Fox, Judie Tzuke and Ben Haenow, headlined at a sold-out Union Chapel in London, performed for Whispering Bob Harris, performed at major festivals and picked up press plaudits from RnR Magazine, Country People Magazine, Blues Matters and many more.
This quality album opens with the title track, the powerful folk-rock anthem 'Elephant Eye', which a already receiving a lot of love from radio stations across the UK. There are some wonderful hooks and melodies. It was the first wonderful track that I listened to in the The Sound Lounge office in Tooting, just after Hannah recorded it in Manchester at the Airtight Studios.
With a retro almost rock-a-billy sound 'Your Country's Not At War' examines current events and their impact on everyday people. Attitudes to conflicts in places like Afghanistan, civil protest and homelessness are all highlighed. The pace sows next for the gentle and reflective 'In It For You', one of my personal favourites on the album. Some great pedal steel from Chris Hillman and backing vocals from husband Keiron add to the mood.
Another lovely track on the album is the toe-tapping Country pop-rock 'Get Your Easy On', which production wise does have the feel of Thea Gilmore song. That may be that It is the only track co-written with Thea's husband and the album's producer Nigel Stonier. Once again some fine pedal steel playing from Chris and I really like the guitar solo on this one. The album has an interesting blend of styles and next up is the sultry and Southern blues 'Please Don't Take My Daddy Away', which I think would make a very interesting video. Light military style percussion and pedal steel add depth to the gentle 'Fire To Your Flame'. It's a song with a very interesting back story
A very popular song in Hannah's live set is 'Exactly My Choice', so it's great to see it included on the new album. It's very catchy with driving percussion and bright guitars which underpin Hannah's soaring vocals. It would make a great soundtrack song for film or TV. The gentle folk song 'What If We Could' has much deeper and darker themes "Despair is so unmistakably dark. Despite myself I'm still breathing. I know someone out there's still fighting. Fear won't stop me from believing. Violence will not silence me".
In true late 60's protest American folk rock style 'Where Has All The Sharing Gone' looks at changing attitudes in communities. The percussion reminds me of the Travelling Willberrys. Written about Hannah's daughter 'Molly's Drum' looks at independence and following your own path, which might at times be a little different from the norm. It's an evocative number with a real simplicity about it. The album closes with the beautiful, reflective and late 60's retro folk sounding 'The Bells Always Toll'. There' is a real vulnerability in both Hannah's vocal and songwriting. Super and subtle pedal steel from Chris.