As soft and gentle as anything you’ll ever hear – four new songs from the magical Bity Booker.
Release Date: 5th March 2022
Label: FreakFolk Records
Formats: 7” Vinyl, Digital
Bity Booker describes herself as “An Italian/Australian psych-folk singer and illustrator, based in London, UK.” That brief summary tells a bit of her story, but by no means all of it. Not by a long chalk. She’s been releasing her own particular brand of soft, dreamy music, featuring just her and her softly-manipulated classical guitar for quite some time now – since 2012, in fact when she first tested the waters with her debut EP, See You @ Elephant Tree. Since then, she’s released a string of EPs and singles, published two illustrated songbooks – The Mouse Song and Parrots In London – and issued a limited-release album, 2018’s Songs From a Window.
Bity – her name, incidentally, is pronounced Beatie – it’s short for Beatrice – spent her formative days in the Umbrian countryside in Central Italy in the bosom of her artistic family and her songs reflect that idyllic, pastoral upbringing. As Bity is keen to point out: “[My] songs are a dreamy ode to nature, about that instant when, alone with your mind in the woods, you become one with the trees and the birds and everything seems to fall into place, quietly.” Well – she can say that again. The songs on Dreaming In The Morning are as soft, gentle and contemplative as anything you’ll ever hear – and I DO mean ever.
It wasn’t always that way, as it happens. Before casting off for her solo voyage, Bity was a vocalist in a metal band – a role that I imagine required a completely different skillset, as well as very different lungs and vocal chords to those that deliver the soft intimacy of Dreaming In The Morning!
Bity is gathering a growing band of admirers and the compliments have been raining in. She’s been described as a cross between Simon & Garfunkel and Kate Bush and has attracted comparisons with the likes of Mazzy Star and Vashti Bunyan, with splashes of Joan Baez, Ane Brun, Björk and Edie Brickell thrown in for good measure. On the evidence of Dreaming In The Morning, some of those comparisons are, perhaps, more valid than others – to my ears, Bity Booker sounds like a pretty unique talent, with an intimate, melodic voice that is entirely her own, coupled with an uncomplicated, soft-touch guitar style that provides the perfect match for her songs.
It’s entirely fitting that Bity recorded Dreaming In The Morning at home – the songs benefit immensely from the absence of any production gimmickry; all we get is the voice and guitar and we get our first taste of that voice/guitar combination with Sad Song, one of a pair of songs in the collection that has already had an airing in the form of a video release. Despite the title, this is a rather happy song, full of the reassurance that pervades this EP and which Bity seems capable of serving by the bowlful. A simple fingerpicked guitar pattern provides the song’s only accompaniment and, uniquely, as far as this collection is concerned, Bity almost reveals the sharp edge to her voice that, just maybe, allowed her to inhabit her metal band alter-ego. A softly strummed guitar is the perfect fit for the lazy, pastoral, Summer Will Return, and that dreamy, rustic idyll carries over to Gone Bushwalking, the EP’s lead single. Essentially a stream-of-consciousness glide through the natural wonders that can be observed during any rural amble, it’s a delightful, restful short song.
This short collection concludes with the EP’s title track, yet another dreamy contemplation that conjures carefree images of a warm countryside summer’s day, with a hypnotic guitar line gives the song a slight Eastern European feel. There’s a certain magical quality to Bity Booker and I’m pleased to have made her acquaintance. Dreaming In The Morning is a delightful way of finding out what she has to offer.
Bity will be giving Dreaming in the Morning a live launch on 21st May 2022 in The Gallery Café in the Chapel at St Margaret’s House in Bethnal Green, London and she also has shows lined up at Thornsett Road, Penge on 5th March (Dreaming in the Morning’s release date!) and Café#9 in Sheffield on 27th March. In June, she’ll be at the Tangled Roots Festival on Radford Farm in Somerset on the 11th and on the 25th, she plays at the Folklore Rooms in Brighton.
Watch the Official video for Gone Bushwalking, the lead single from the EP, here:
Categories: EP Review