Beth Rowley knows how to get to the heart of the matter.
A songwriter of striking power, her jazz-informed approach resonates with a raw sense of emotional feeling.
New album 'Gota Fria' is out now, a beautifully pieced together record that has rightfully earned widespread acclaim.
Set to play an intimate live show at Metropolis Studios in London this week, Beth Rowley told Clash about her Influences ahead of her set...
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Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young - 'I Nearly Cut My Hair'
This song. OMG it does something to me! Something about David Crosby's voice on this song goes straight through me to my insides. I only heard it for the first time this January... but it has already had such a huge effect on me and the way I feel in particular when I'm on stage singing. Words that spring to mind are: gravel, surrender, belligerence, humour, achingly real, intensity, utter commitment to the moment.
The combination of lyrics, him jokingly considering cutting his hair which was a political statement in the 60's and 70's. His rusty fat deep vocal, full of emotion and the musical conversation that builds between the four of them on guitars. They're all genius musicians but they go past that and let it all go to whats needed in the moment. You can hear Neil Young's guitar straight away. Makes me knees go weak.
They all reach this peak in this video where they're all stood in front of each other on stage in a moment that is there for a little while, but then it's gone. I think this is what I love most about creating music that you're there in a moment together, and the only thing that matters is that moment.
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Jesse Mae Hemphill - 'You Can Talk About Me'
I discovered Jesse Mea Hemphill when I watched a movie with Samuel L Jackson called Black Snake Moan. She is a killer guitar player, singer, songwriter, very under-stated but totally the realest deal. Her vocal is so raw and effortless and full of character. She inspires me when I sing to be myself, to not try to be perfect in any way or to round off any edges.
When I hear her music I feel like I am free to be exactly who I am flaws 'n' all. Most of all she emanates a real beauty and grace. Her sense of humour in her lyrics is a killer too. #BowdowntoJesseMea
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Talk Talk - 'The Rainbow'
At 2:40 Mark Feltham comes in on harmonica... I'd never heard anything like it before... brittle and gritty and all blunt edges. Unapologetic and real. Sat in amongst the beauty and calm ethereal vocal of Mark Hollis.
The music is cinematic and this album 'Spirit Of Eden' in particular was a huge influence on my own album. The way it builds using so many layers and how the tension rises around you without really noticing anything's changing or what's changing.
It's magical and changed the way I saw music... it could be a perce of art with no lyrics and no traditional structures if I didn't want.
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Tash Sultana - 'Notion'
I discovered this very recently so it was too late to influence Gota Fría BUT I've not stopped listening to it. I'm writing songs for my next album at the moment and the opening to this song is magical... something I would definitely aspire to capture in my music for sure. For me, her guitar playing and melodies seem very simple but they perfectly create this mood that instantly calms and sends me to a peaceful place. Her down to earth home made approach, her confidence and ability to build such a huge sound with just her guitar and the loop pedals is very inspiring.
I went down to Saunton beach with some buddies recently and got in the sea... I sat on the sand after and listened to this song in the sun, it's perfect beach music. Plus with six million listens on YouTube I don't think I'm alone in my thoughts.
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Karen Dalton - 'It Hurts Me Too'
I first heard of Karen Dalton in my producer friends studio in Bethnal Green (Will Flisk). He was reeling off a load of singers asking if id heard of them. I hadn't heard of many of them... and he played a song called 'Katie Cruel' by Karen Dalton. It was so pure. Really fragile and 'imperfect' but that actually meaning it was completely perfect and untouched. I felt like I was there in her garden with her. We sat and listened and both felt instantly inspired.
I love this song 'It Hurts Me Too'. The lyrics are venerable but strong and proud... there's a line "I love you baby, Ain't gonna lie, Without you darling, I can't be satisfied, If things are going wrong for you, You know it hurts me too..." -sShe's saying she needs him and she's letting him know.
This idea has come up a a lot over the last few years... that it's OK to be proud of how you feel when you love someone, even if it means offering yourself completely and risking everything.
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Catch Beth Rowley at Clash Live @ Metropolis on July 19th - grab your ticket HERE.
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