There’s no big story here, just a recommendation from a friend.
Martin and I had been colleagues at work for several years, then both moved on over time to other places. A couple of years later work brought us back together in an official capacity – Martin was working for the industry regulator and visited the company I was working for to discuss some aspect of our operation.
Once we’d finished reviewing the approach to Non-Half Hourly Data Aggregation* (or whatever the focus of the meeting was) we got onto catching up on music, and Martin gave me the names of a few groups he thought I might like. We don’t agree on everything, but there’s enough crossover in our taste for it to be worth checking out.
As usual, it was off to Spotify at the first opportunity and although I don’t remember the other names Martin gave me, one jumped out – First Aid Kit.
First Aid Kit are two sisters, Johanna & Klara Söderberg, from Sweden – here I go again with female vocalists from the north – and their music is somewhere between folk and Country & Western (a genre which generally doesn’t do anything for me). They write their own songs, and very good songs they are – which I find astonishing considering how young they are – their first album was released in 2010 when Johanna was 20 and Klara 17. And they sing the most exquisite harmony.
I saw them live at the start of 2015 in the impressive Symphony Hall in Birmingham. Unfortunately, a couple of songs in there was a hitch – Klara disappeared off stage for 5 minutes due to a wardrobe malfunction leaving Johanna frozen in panic – and the delay sucked the energy out of the audience, leaving them struggling to recover. But then they performed an a capella version of Ghost Town – just two young women, one guitar, no microphones, singing harmony in the acoustically wonderful Symphony Hall – and those few beautiful moments of magic pulled the whole thing back together, and the audience loved them right through to the end of the encore.
If you’ve not heard First Aid Kit before, check out their albums The Lion’s Roar and Stay Gold, but do also dig out some of their lovely cover versions of songs like America, Universal Soldier or Abba’s Chiquitita.
And here are a few links:
Emmylou: their signature song with the signature harmonies, and with Emmylou Harris in attendance, moved to tears
The Lion’s Roar: this may be better listened to without the weird video
Cedar Lane: can’t decide if this is my favourite track from Stay Gold or the next one….
The Bell: ….actually, it doesn’t matter, they’re all good.
Thanks for the tip, Martin.
- for more information on Non-Half Hourly Data Aggregation in the UK Electricity Industry, read this.