I felt like writing something about Emmy The Great. I’m not sure what exactly it will be yet, but I’m listening to her right now, and felt inspired 🙂
I first came across her when one of my friends posted a link to her Black Cab Session where she performed the amazing “Two Steps Forward” together with Tom Hobden from “Noah and the Whale”. The song was not included in their first album “First Love”, but was later included in a bonus CD sold with the album. There was something in that song that made me able listen to it over and over and just never seem to get tired of it. It even seemed to be getting better every time.
I then discovered that Emmy was playing a charity gig against violence towards women at The Shop in Cambridge, so I went to see her. Again she hadn’t brought her usual band, but showed up alone. It was a very small gig (it’s a small place), and there was no mic, speakers or stage and the closest people were sitting on pillows in front of the people sitting on chairs. It was a very intimate concert, and seemed much more personal than usual music gigs.
Another quite special gig was an “in store” performance at Pure Groove in London. Katie and I managed to get there straight after work, and even though it was a very short performance that was ok, as it was free and we like going to London. It was also very cosy and Emmy was sitting on the counter.
The first real gig I saw was at the O2 in Oxford. Katie and I went there together and spent the weekend exploring our “brother city” (I guess Oxford is “the brother of art” while Cambridge is “the brother of science”). The gig was great, while of a more “normal” sort and to my great excitement she reluctantly played “Two Steps Forward” after lots of shouting from the crowd, even though she said it was a very personal song. This was before it was put on the bonus CD for First Love (the album was originally sold with a different bonus CD). Maybe she got lots of requests for the song at all the live gigs and decided it was too popular to keep private 🙂
Last year I noticed a link on their website (emmythegreat.com) to Pledge Music where they were selling “pledges” to finance the production of their second album. I really liked the idea of them being able to produce the album this way with no producers interfering or “owning them”. I was happy to support them by buying a couple of signed albums (one for a present for my sister) and a ticket to a special “pledgers’ gig”. This turned out to be yet another very special experience with a small gig in a beautiful little church in St Pancras, London. The warm-up act was provided by some apparently quite green stand-up comedians, which added an extra unusual edge to it, and the church’s acoustics were perfect for Emmy’s voice 🙂
Now their second album is out, and I think it’s even better than the first one, and can’t wait to see her live again in September in London and then in Cambridge in October. You can get the album (from Amazon or Rough Trade) and see the tour calendar on emmythegreat.com. If you do get it (or already have it), please let me know what you think on here.
If you’d like to listen to some of the music it’s available on SoundCloud.