Emily Faye, Two Ways Home & Jake Morrell

May 1, 2018
The Beford, Balham

“She definitely just whooped herself”

Jake Morrell was right; Emily Faye *did* cheer when her name was mentioned. With good reason, to be fair, having organised this epic night and delivered a fantastic EP to boot. The way Morrell recognised her voice and casually acknowledged the situation suggested he’d spent a lot of time with the future superstar in the corner.

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This was borne out by his set which included several “Emily Faye specials.” Long Way Round was inspired by their first meeting when Faye accidentally drive them round a Guildford roundabout six times. Classic Faye. The song was classic Morrell/Faye too, with a supremely singalong hook.

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Throughout the set, Morrell continued his understated assault on the UK country/Americana scene with twin weapons of easy charm and memorable songs.

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Englishman, Wire and Thorns and Kindness all had pleasing head voice and catchy choruses that made singalongs almost inevitable, even for those who were hearing the songs for the first time. They’ll be seeing more of him.

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“I can buy stuff now. I’ll just double-check if I actually want it”
That was Two Ways Home’s Lewis Fowler gently mocking duet partner Isi Mariee’s typically hard sell of their merchandise early on the set.

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It has to be said that Two Ways Home have some of the strongest merch game on the scene, and certainly the neatest; it all packs up into a suitcase. It wouldn’t be surprising if they had a lot more room in that case after their set, given the consistent quality of their musicianship right from the opening chords of Closest Stranger.

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The pair, accompanied by supremely talented Michael Clancy on guitar, took us “down to ballad town” with Take My Hand. 

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That was closely followed by another heartwrencher, Don’t Give Up On Me. Each song showcased their trademark “harmonies for days,” as Faye likes to say. Laughter filled the air as Fowler tried out some rock moves (did anyone catch that plectrum?), helping to build an abiding sense of playfulness alongside the memorable melodies.

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The band picked up the pace with the jaunty tracks Just For Now and Push and Pull, setting the crowd up for the main event: “let’s all party with Emily Faye next!”

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Check out twowayshome.com for details of their upcoming UK tour, and don’t miss their monthly songwriters’ round, The Round Up, a The Colonel Fawcett in Camden.

“It’s a girl boss song!”
Faye revelled in that description of Game Over, one of the instantly memorably songs from the new EP, Here I Am, that had brought everyone together for the night. It really was a family affair full of warmth and love. Faye’s relatives took over the mezzanine level, meaning her grandparents got to hear a beautiful performance of a song, Masterpiece, which they had inspired.

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Faye’s musical family was out in force too. Faye’s band were energetic and enthusiastic, clearly enjoying the positive vibes and the temporary addition of killer guitarist, Patrick Weeks.

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Like with Two Ways Home before them, the interplay between the bandmembers was particularly nice to see.

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Faye held the stage alone for a solo segment to showcase some of the more tender tracks. Giving In highlighted her gorgeous voice and way with words.

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Support artists Jake Morrell and Two Ways Home’s Michael Clancy also stepped up for duets.

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Even musician friends that couldn’t make it were there in spirit as Faye made sure to name-check co-writers such as Sue McMillan. She was particularly excited to perform a song written by Liv Austen and Alex Maile. Another song that Faye penned with Maile, Once Ain’t Enough, was timeless and contemporarily commercial at the same time.

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The crowd had the joy of becoming familiar with the EP still to come, but they were already well aware of the joyful lead single, Open Road. Being featured in Rolling Stone certainly helped, but the undeniable quality of the song and its supportive message  showed that this was no case of style over substance. Faye’s got something special.

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Other set highlights included the bluesy, smooth and soothing Macmillan co-write, Barefoot, a crystal clear rendition of the breathtaking song Me For Me, and the final epic full band number, Cold Hearted. 

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Emily Faye’s EP, Here I Am, is out now. Head over to emilyfayemusic.com to treat yo self.

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