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LIZZIE NUNNERY - Company of Ghosts

Company Of Ghosts
Fellside FECD232

“I didn’t really identify myself as Folk when I started playing”, Lizzie informed this writer in a recent interview, but if you regard an ability to tell heartfelt stories with a strong sense of place and focus, in song, then Ms Nunnery certainly warrants house room in a magazine with the word Tradition in its title. Here is her debut album and this 27 year old is not only a singer/writer/guitarist but an award winning playwright (‘Intemperance’ getting a 5 star accolade in the Guardian) from the Liverpool area. A product of the thriving ‘90s open mic scene locally, then finally finding her musical and literary feet at Oxford University these fresh and fearless songs often invoke a darkly dreamy feel with touches of foreboding. She’s not without a thespian nod to the stalls either as reflectively recited passages contrast with the once terminally unhip ukulele in a soundscape where her distinctive voice commands attention.

Lizzie’s fundamental strengths of intelligent, delicate songwriting embrace such subjects as race and a WW1 pro patria era of Empire, (England Loves A Poor Boy) an annal whose central issues mirror the recently-publicised plight of the Ghurkhas, through the transient oblivion of Pubs That Never Close to the title track’s ethereal, mist-grey wraiths on Huskisson Street; - a rich canvas, just as painted by the best of ballads.

Hers is emotive music, occasionally surreal, sometimes wearily melancholic. At other times there are pockets of redemption amongst the ‘tainted love songs’ (her description) but she’s always forthright – ardent and artful. “It’s how passionate you are about your songs that matters, not any distractions of celebrity” she told me, but on this evidence she may not have to bother flipping any coins!

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.