Joshua Burnside Releases ‘Live at the Elmwood Hall’ Album

May 25, 2019
Wrapped in Plastic Photography





Recorded at Belfast’s historic Elmwood Hall, as part of Quiet Arch’s fourth birthday in December 2018, ‘Live at the Elmwood Hall’ is a release that reveals the full spectrum of Joshua Burnside‘s emphatic alt-folk craft.

Featuring reworked, full-band arrangements of tracks handpicked from his Northern Irish Music Prize-winning album, ‘EPHRATA’, as well as EPs ‘Hollllogram’ and ‘All Round the Light Said’, it captures a set that effortlessly leaps between intimate and raw, to full-blown and celebratory. Together, these ten songs — which span heart-stung paeans to love and loss, to ecstatic musings on becoming and belonging — uncover whole new depths of gravitas and meaning.

At the heart of the release is Burnside’s desire to expand upon his recorded compositions. From the gossamer ebb and flow of ‘Grapes’ to the brooding ‘Unrequited Kind’, each tale, uniquely transformed for the occasion, is a snapshot of an experimental artist in constant creative flux.

Better still, with the expanded presence of Zarah Fleming on cello, Dan Byrne McCullough on lead guitar and John Conway on double bass, Burnside’s carefully-crafted repertoire feels more revelatory than ever before the spirit of the occasion — the one-off, unrepeatable energy within the walls of the famous concert hall and former Presbyterian Church that night back in December 2018 — is not just tangible, but potent throughout.

“It’s quite strange listening to it back in a way, like looking at a series of old photographs,” Burnside reflected.

“There is this exciting energy, somehow you really feel like you’re there in the Elmwood Hall. There are moments when every person on stage clicks and the song becomes so much more than a bunch of ideas that I strung together in my kitchen at 3am one night.”

But, like most truly special live albums, informing the explorative spirit and energy of Live at the Elmwood Hall is a clear lack of preciousness about how each rendition pans out. It’s this sense of unpredictability — Burnside’s open-ended instinct to allow his songs to take whichever form they so might — that makes the album such a profoundly rewarding release.

“I didn’t give the new band much instruction about how to play the songs,” Burnside said.

“Which worked out well because they interpreted things differently and breathed new life into some sections. It feels like more of a collaboration. I can’t control everything whilst performing so I have to just let everyone do their thing.”

“There was a real warmth in the room that night,” Burnside added.

“And a sense of community that has coalesced around Quiet Arch. I think everyone felt lifted up by that.”

Live at Elmwood Hall’ Album Tracklisting

1. The Good Word

2. Northern Winds

3. Holllllogram

4. Grapes

5. Blood Drive

6. The Unrequited Kind

7. 26th Street

8. A Man of High Renown

9. The Only Thing I Fear

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