ALBUM REVIEW: Five stirring, blues-tinged folk songs from Hollie Rogers

Hollie Rogers. Picture by Scott Chalmers

Hollie Rogers. Picture by Scott Chalmers

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Hollie Rogers: The Body to The Ground EP

After a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, Horsham-based folk artist Hollie Rogers is ready to release her latest record.

Hollie Rogers. Picture by Scott Chalmers

Hollie Rogers. Picture by Scott Chalmers

The Body to The Ground EP will be launched at Cranleigh Arts Centre on April 22 (7.30pm) at a concert featuring Hollie’s full band.

It’s just under a month away but we’ve received an advance copy of the record to listen to.

With acoustic guitar, double bass and piano as the only instruments, this EP has a more stripped-back feel than Hollie’s previous output.

However, despite this seemingly minimalist approach, it’s clear from Hollie’s full-throated singing on the opening track ‘Sinner’ that she’s not interested in a shy or tentative delivery.

In fact, the instrumental limitations provide space for Hollie’s powerful voice and allow listeners to hear every twang of the sexy, pulsating acoustic guitar.

Next up is ‘When I Was Young’, a wistful song about childhood and family with a simple piano backing.

As far as blues-tinged ballads go it’s pretty straightforward, but it shines thanks to Hollie’s soulful and poignant delivery, hitting that sweet spot where music can become tear-inducing without feeling overly sentimental.

It’s arguably the best song on the record.

The third track, ‘S.R.S’, livens things up again after a slow start, building gradually from gentle guitar plucking and soft, husky vocals to a loud and soaring expression of longing.

It’s a beautiful way to express unspoken desires and a yearning for a romance that, apparently, isn’t quite reciprocated throughout the song.

The little details are nice too, such as the protagonist only liking tattoos when they’re on the object of her affections, and there’s a sense that she’s revelling in her feelings.

Hollie seems to lose herself in it at one point but doesn’t relinquish control of the music.

‘Give Me Your Love’ is probably the EP’s most challenging track. It creates a sense of frustration and powerlessness with its swirling, hypnotic guitar and blunt lyrics.

Dealing with far more difficult sensations than the previous track, this song seems to be searching for a strong melody that doesn’t fully arrive.

It’s gritty though, and the focus seems to be on emotional rawness rather than an easy listening experience.

The final song is ‘Beethoven’, a reworked piano version of a track from Hollie’s All That Fire album.

It’s one for those who are familiar with Hollie’s work already, giving this live gig favourite a completely different feel and rhythm, less confrontational and more sorrowful than the original version.

It also gives this short-but-sweet record a strong ending.

There may only be five tracks here, but The Body to The Ground EP displays more than enough depth and musical prowess to please Hollie’s existing fans...and win over some new ones.

To find out more about Hollie’s music, and to listen to ‘Sinner’, visit www.hollierogers.com.

Hollie’s upcoming gigs

March 30: The Lord Nelson Inn, Trafalgar Street, Brighton, 8pm, 01273695872.

April 5: Queen’s Head, Chapel Road, Barns Green, 01403 730436.

April 8: Sumners Pond, Barns Green, 8pm, 01403 732539, www.sumnersponds.co.uk.

April 12: The Brunswick, Hove, 8pm, 01273 733984, www.thebrunswick.net.

April 14: The Fox Inn, Bucks Green, Rudgwick, www.foxinn.co.uk, 01403 822386.

April 15: The Ranelagh, Brighton, 8pm, www.theranelagh.co.uk, 01273 681634.

April 16: Horsham Folk Club, The Normandy Centre, Denne Road, Horsham, 7pm, www.horshamfolkclub.co.uk.

April 19: Willows Folk Club, Arundel, 7pm.

April 22: Hollie Rogers: Body to Ground EP Launch & Support, Cranleigh Arts Centre, 7.30pm, £14, 01483 278000, www.cranleighartscentre.org.

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