Single Review

Ava Earl – Ears Bleed: Single Review

Alaskan singer-songwriter Ava Earl comes to terms with partial deafness on her new single – and whets our appetite for what promises to be a very special forthcoming album… 

Release Date:  Out now

Label: Self release

Formats: Download, Streaming  

There’s a young Alaskan musician – actually a student in political science and creative writing at Northwestern University, Illinois – and she’s starting to make some considerable waves with her special brand of folky, poppy Americana.  Her name is Ava Earl, and she’s a bundle of energy – musical and otherwise.  

Let’s think about her musical energy first of all.  On top of everything else in her life – which I’ll come back to shortly – she’s found the time to write some top-quality music, engage the services of a veritable hoard of first-class musicians, help to score and arrange her tunes so that they are just the way she imagines them, and take occupancy of Great North Sound Society Studio in Maine, alongside Producer Zachariah Hickman to record her sixth album, Too Much, which hits the racks in mid-September.  

And, to stimulate our Pavlovian glands, Ava has already released a pair of singles to preview the album of which she is so evidently and justifiably proud.  Lead single Jealous of Her infiltrated the airwaves in mid-July, and the jungle drums immediately started to rumble, with words like “…warm and simple soundscapes” [Music for the Misfits], “…bright vocal quality and rich storytelling” [Dusty Organ] and – my favourite – “…contains only the best ingredients for a folksy pop song” [Up to Hear Music] being banded around and serving to stimulate my already awakened curiosity.  

And now, here comes single number two, the wonderfully engaging Ears Bleed.  

But what about that boundless energy I was talking about?  Well, as well as recording what promises to be an exquisitely crafted album, packed with confessional songs that recall Ava’s experiences from her early childhood to the present day, she’s also dealing effectively with her demanding studies, as well as helping her team of Northwestern student runners to qualify for US National cross-country competition – for the first time in 20 years.  Now that’s what I call active!  

But, getting back to the subject in hand, new single Ears Bleed sees Ava coming to terms with the permanent single-sided deafness that has recently affected her right ear.  As she explains: “After going deaf in my right ear, I was left with emotions that took months to unravel, sort and explain.  Six months in, I thought I had come to a semblance of peace when this song tumbled out of me, surprising me with a pain that was still so palpable.”  And, with lines like: “All the phantom sounds inside my head make me long for the old me,” “Left and right, up all night, with the melody,” and, particularly “Somewhere in the audience, the people are blissfully unaware of what it is to bleed,” Ava spares us very little of the anguish she has suffered.  And, yet, it’s stoicism, rather than self-pity that Ava conveys as the song’s overwhelming emotion.  Stoicism and no little bravery.  

The production is excellent – a great portent for the forthcoming album – with chiming electric guitar supplementing Ava’s acoustic.  Ava’s voice is gentle, yet insistent; intimate, yet often pleading, and thoroughly tuneful throughout.  A full album of tunes like this is an interesting prospect indeed!  

We’ll be delving a little deeper into Ava’s thoughts and motivations when we take a detailed look at the Too Much album next month.  In the meantime, have a listen to Ears Bleed – I’m sure that you’ll get the message.

And you can do that right now! Listen to Ears Bleed here:

Ava Earl online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

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