Moving on from the rain-swept tension of ‘Taking The Wheel’ comes the latest single from Joshua Burnside and Laura Quirke. With their roadside drama abandoned, Quirke and Burnside move into the drowsy miasma of the living room sofa on ‘Far Away The Hills Are Green’.
Wistful banjo chords and floating violins soundtracks a lover’s impossible daydream, with Burnside and Quirke taking turns to lyrically lament the ironic relationships between Irish escapism and American paddywhackery. Velvet Californian sunlight and dew scented vistas are conjured up throughout as a couple dream of greener grass, whilst their west-coast counterparts indulge in old-world grandeur in search of something greater – each wanting what the other has, unknowing what they will have to give up to get it.
“Far Away the Hills are green is a song written as a kind of companion piece to Laura’s ‘Taking the Wheel’ – borrowing themes of youth, longing, and Irish weather. The demo was recorded at my studio and ended up being the actual recording used, with layers of Laura’s vocals added later. From the perspective of a young couple, it charts the thought process of longing for a better life, something like the glamorous and sunnier Californian lifestyles they see on their TV, to realising that everywhere people are basically longing for the same thing – to fill some unfillable emptiness inherent in us all. Laura’s transcendent vocals in the last half of the song lift what is a simple folk tune, up and out of the soggy fields and into the air, floating towards the horizon with never-ending hope for the future.” – Joshua Burnside
With notes of both traditional Irish folk and Americana, ‘Far Away…’ sees listeners fully entrenched in the tinted, sideways world of Quirke and Burnside. Flourished with banjo, acoustic and keys that fuel the alternative folkish harmonies and sunbleached melodies, this is the second track recorded in Burnside’s Vault Studio in East Belfast and features all the sonic hallmarks and stowaways that typify his unique production style. With a release date set for June 25th, ‘Far Away…’ is the penultimate single from the EP ‘In The Half-light’
Listen to ‘Far Away The Hills Are Green’ – BELOW:
Joshua Burnside and Laura Quirke (Lemoncello) recall the story of how they met differently – the former remembers passing a battered guitar around a Clonakilty pub and being blown away by Quirke’s vocals, while the latter cites Burnside’s performance of ‘Red and White Blues’ at Other Voices. Burnside harkens back to several shows supporting each other in 2019 “We shared the stage a few times after that in the following years and ended up singing a few songs together here and there.”
But it wasn’t until a duet in The Duncairn, Belfast that the two decided to work together. Respected and acclaimed performers and artists in their own right, today Burnside and Quirke announce a new collaborative project – ‘In the Half-light’ a four-track EP slated for release on July 16th.
With the core of the music recorded in Vault Artist Studios, the home of the studio where Burnside captured his second album, an initial one-off recording quickly grew legs. Laura reflected on this period in 2020 when lockdown restrictions had lessened, stating ‘I jumped at the chance to hang out and record and be in Belfast so when travel was freer, last September we spent a couple of days recording and throwing shapes in the studio. While I was there, ‘In the Half-light’ happened by accident. After that, it seemed that while we thought that we were helping each other out for our retrospective projects, actually we were making something that we would release together.’
With songwriting duties split between the two, the EP is bound by a singular theme: a desire for the unknown. Faceless yet universal characters search for truths, purpose and conclusions along the aural hallways and emotional horizons of ‘In the Half-light’, are constantly met with ambiguous endings, undelivered promises and wanderlust. Gliding effortlessly between the realms of swirling indie-folk, pitching alternative arrangements and traditional singer-songwriter roots. And despite the intangible nature of the tracks, they remain strikingly self-assured in their storytelling and intent.