Edge Of Greatness

Despite any setbacks prior to its release, Edge of Love shows that Lisa Redford has lost none of her song writing abilities.

The name Lisa Redford may not be familiar to everyone, but for those deep in the knowledge when it comes to country music and its associations to Americana and roots music in general will be familiar with the work of this UK singer-songwriter.

With everyone’s favourite (FLW included) BBC Radio presenter, Bob Harris, who is the likely source to refer to when the name of that obscure indie band or country artist eludes one’s memory, having featured Lisa Redford on his Under The Apple Tree Sessions, it is safe to assume that the Norfolk based singer-songwriter has gained considerable respect within the music industry.

From such recognition by the BBC, for example, and an ever-expanding following due to numerous record releases and performing live over the years, the name Lisa Redford is set to gain further recognition with a new EP release by the name of ‘Edge of Love’.

With the new record consisting of five songs showcasing Lisa’s song writing skills and passion for country music that possesses more of a traditional feel than some of the music labelled as country emanating from the States these days, it’s not difficult to comprehend why her strand of country music has gained such a loyal following.

However, this has not been easy. By entering a period in music where a vast number of musicians are having to rely on live performances and the sale of related merchandise at gigs in order to continue their love affair with writing and recording, Lisa Redford has equally experienced such difficult times. The new EP has certainly come at a cost, and one that has left the British singer-songwriter frustrated and disheartened after a delayed Pledge campaign in relation to her current record. It seems ironic that the lead track to ‘Edge of Love’ has been given the title ‘Anything But Easy’ because that’s exactly where this interview begins with Lisa Redford, talking about the difficulties she encountered when attempting to release her music independently.

“Well, after my experience with PledgeMusic, which I had never used before, I would be hesitant to use a crowd funding campaign in the future,” she begins. “It has been very disappointing and disheartening that the issues with PledgeMusic has affected my release. It is incredibly frustrating for independent artists like me to be let down in this way, and ‘Edge of Love’ has been delayed and disrupted as a result of this. Although it can be hard as an independent artist, there is some freedom in setting your own releases and schedule.  However, it is thanks to the support and kindness of my fans and pledgers who have understood that this situation has been out of control. I had such a fantastic response to my campaign, exceeding my target, and have not received any of the money that the pledgers have kindly contributed. Again, it is thanks to my fans, and the radio shows and blogs that have supported me, that I’m excited about still releasing my records and continue to work hard, stay motivated and remain passionate about music.”

By continuing to work hard, stay motivated and remain passionate about her music, Lisa Redford has recorded a total of thirteen records that started with the album ‘Slipstream’ in 2003, and now currently leading the charge with the EP ‘Edge of Love’ in 2019. Such a feat has also been down to a longstanding relationship with music that has seen her writing and performing from an early age, to being open to different genres of music (Whisper it country music lovers she’s a big fan of The Smiths and Morrissey!), in addition to working on the other side of the musical fence in terms of journalism and running a weekly radio show in her home city of Norwich. Therefore, music is most certainly in her blood as Lisa Redford explains.

“I began writing songs as a teenager and have always been fascinated with song writing. I grew up obsessed with music – many styles – and my first proper song was a very hooky and melodic pop track. Since then, I have written many songs. I am a vocal coach and a guitar and ukulele tutor. I have also helped students if they are writing an original song and need some guidance. It is really rewarding sharing my skills and experience as a performer and songwriter, mentoring budding artists and guiding them through their own musical journeys. I have such a passion for music that I also enjoy hosting a show on Future Radio, a radio station in Norwich. I play more indie music but also electronic, alt country, folk and pop.”

Have you always performed as a solo musician or were you in a band prior to your most recent releases in music?

“I began performing in an acoustic duo and then I was part of a trio which was more acoustic and electronic based,” replies Lisa. “I have been a solo artist though for quite a while now. My debut album was called ‘Slipstream’ and I have released a lot of original music since.”

Who do you regard as influences in terms of your music, and what inspires you when writing your songs?

“I’m inspired by many things when writing and find inspiration comes in different ways,” answers Lisa. “It can develop from a melody that I find myself humming, playing a chord progression or riff on my guitar, or having a lyrical theme and then building on it. I also find some songs originate from a phrase that I have read or heard. I am a keen reader and sometimes certain words jump out at me and become the beginning of an idea. I also love reading how writers I’ve admired have written their songs. Hearing a great song motivates and inspires me to really push myself. My influences include artists like Neil Young, Tom Petty, Kate Bush, Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Josh Rouse, Sufjan Stevens and Nick Drake.”

As mentioned earlier, Lisa Redford’s ability to deliver a genuine country sound that is as close as one could get from the north east of the UK, it remains an important question to ask in terms of where exactly did this passion for country music come from?

“As well as listening to Bob Harris’s BBC radio show, it was some really great Uncut magazine CD compilations where I discovered many amazing Americana alt-country songwriters and bands who have since become some of my favourite artists. I love that country music is very lyric based; honest, pure, moving, heartfelt, has organic and acoustic instrumentation, and incorporates elements of folk, bluegrass and blues.”

Bearing that in mind, and the different influences that can be incorporated into country music, how would you describe your own sound?

“My sound is more of a blend of Americana, folk, country and pop and is very heartfelt and melodic,” considers Lisa in relation to her own sound. “I listen to an eclectic mix of music and my songs reflect this.”

Such a description from Lisa Redford in relation to her style of music is certainly accurate once listening to her current EP ‘Edge of Love’ as one can hear the obvious country tones as already mentioned, but it is these other musical flavours that can be heard whether bluegrass, folk or even pop music.

“The five tracks on ‘Edge of Love’ are a blend of Americana, country, folk and classic pop,” continues Lisa regarding the details of her new EP. “It was recorded in the autumn 2018 in Norwich with musician and producer José McGill. He is hugely talented and had some very creative ideas. He also knew where I was coming from musically. There are a mix of band tracks and acoustic songs with really creative arrangements and instrumentation, which José and the other musicians contributed. José also added some lovely subtle sonic layers and textures. Lyrically, it’s romantic and bittersweet – there’s quite a lot of melancholy running through my music – but the melodies are uplifting. I listen to an eclectic mix of music and these songs really represent me as an artist.”

Speaking of which, and the perfect opportunity to clear up any lingering rumours, FLW has heard that you’re something of a fan of indie music and the song writing of Morrisey and Marr. Is this true?

“The Smiths and Morrissey have been a soundtrack to my life ever since I heard ‘The Smiths’ eponymous debut [album] and the [compilation] ‘Hatful of Hollow’. I love Morrissey’s unique and humorous lyrics and especially those early solo singles with Stephen Street like ‘Everyday is Like Sunday’ and ‘Suedehead’. I have also contributed a few words about Morrissey and how he has inspired me in a book called ‘Pieces of Morrissey’ by Matthew Jacobson. I definitely still hold a huge love for indie music and, as mentioned, play a lot of that style on the radio show.”

Referring to the genre of country music, from your experience as a singer-songwriter, how do you think UK audiences perceive your music and country music in general?

“Country music has become hugely popular in the UK in recent years, so it is an exciting time. The storytelling within country and the strong melodic sensibility has really hit a chord with audiences. I consider myself more of a singer-songwriter who has an influence of Americana and country music and audiences often tell me that songs have resonated with them; that older songs such as ‘Never Was a Yesterday’ and ‘Carolina Rain’ have really moved them, which is always lovely to hear.”

Do you find that a city such as Norwich provides inspiration for your song writing because it’s interesting that you have a strong authentic country flavour in your music, yet you reside in the UK? Therefore, the folk influences in your music is understandable considering your current location, but country music! Can you explain how and where such an authentic take on this genre comes from?

“I have been very inspired by Norwich. The surrounding area has beautiful countryside and I wrote many of my early songs here. Sailing on the tranquil Norfolk broads and visiting the lovely coast inspired a lot of my first album ‘Slipstream’, particularly the title track and other songs like “Silver River.” I also recorded my debut album here as well as the newer material. Norwich is a really creative city; it has a great scene for folk and roots music. As mentioned, my love for country and Americana music originated from hearing songs by US artists. I have also spent a lot of time in the US – was based in New York City for a few years and recorded an album and EP there – therefore my music is a blend of my English roots and a love for Americana music.”

Did you encounter any problems (apart from the already mentioned Pledge Music campaign) when writing and recording the EP, or was the whole process relatively straightforward?

“No, we recorded quickly, and it went great,” Lisa replies instantly. “I usually work fast in the studio and Jose is also very quick with implementing his ideas. The musicians were all amazing and it was a really productive and creative experience.”

Do you have a favourite track from the EP and what are your reasons for this?

“I’m proud of all the songs. The title track ‘The Edge of Love’ and ‘Alone Tonight’ have turned out amazingly, capturing exactly the emotion and vibe that I wanted.”

What are your hopes for the EP ‘Edge of Love’?

“The first single ‘Anything But Easy’ has already been received really well, gaining lots of radio airplay and press. I recently filmed a video for it and that has also had a lovely response. I am hoping the EP will bring some good shows and festivals and that people will be moved and enjoy the songs.”

With Lisa Redford due for another busy scheduled now that ‘Edge of Love’ has finally received its official release, she leaves FLW with further information that reveals her passion for all things music by listing a few of the bands she’s currently listening to (Fickle Friends, Chvrches, Courtney Marie Andrews and First Aid Kit) as well as listing the three items that ensures her life functions accordingly ( “An acoustic guitar, notebook and a cup of tea!”). Therefore, only one question left to ask, what’s next for Lisa Redford in terms of writing, recording and, of course, the EP release?

“I am busy promoting ‘Edge of Love’ and will also be doing radio interviews and playing festivals and gigs in support of the release. I have been so pleased with the response and all the airplay I have received so far and can’t wait for people to hear all the songs. In the future, I would love to tour more of Europe and further afield and am always writing and being creative.”

The new EP ‘Edge of Love’ is out now and available @ Lisa Redford’s Bandcamp page: https://lisaredford.bandcamp.com/music

 

FLW - From the Tapes

FLW noticed that you performed a live session for Bob Harris’s Under The Apple Tree. How did this session come about, and what was the whole experience like? Furthermore, did you manage to look through Bob’s CD collection as FLW would not have been able to resist having a good look through such a vast collection of music?!

“I have been invited to record two Under the Apple Tree Sessions on separate occasions. Bob’s CD collection is certainly impressive, and it was cool of him to tell me that my CDs are amongst the collection! It’s been a real boost for me having had Bob’s support since my debut album ‘Slipstream’. He has played all my releases, first featuring ‘Be Around’; a piano ballad from my first record. He also featured my song ‘Dragonfly’ on a Best of British Special amongst major artists. I’ve also recorded two live sessions when Bob hosted a BBC Radio 2 show on Saturday nights and recorded the two live Under the Apple Tree Sessions. He has also introduced me on stage twice! Once at The Borderline in London and again at C2C Country to Country Festival at the O2. It has meant a lot to me having someone as respected as Bob Harris say such kind words about my music.”

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