For me, it was just full of emotion. It was just so beautiful that I couldn’t help myself. You swept me off my feet.
— Tom Jones

Sally Barker has been around for decades but her voice just gets better with age. Whether she is singing to seven million on the final of TV's 'The Voice' or to 7 people in a local folk club Sally is the consummate professional. She has the ability to lift the words off the page as if you were hearing them for the first time.

Sally began writing songs and performing at the age of 10, influenced by the likes of John Martyn, Janis Ian, Steelye Span, Bonnie Raitt and Pentangle.  By her late teens Sally was performing folk and blues in pubs and folk clubs in the Midlands with bass player Chris Watson. Later the duo went on to support Steeleye Span, Gordon Giltrap and Roy Harper.

Chris moved to London and Sally entered and won the 1986 Kendal Songsearch Competition with 'Hunting the Buffalo'. Newly solo, Sally got to be the support to acts such as Richard Thompson, Taj Mahal, Richard Digance and Fairport Convention.

Sally with Jerry Donahue of Fairport Convention 1989

Sally with Jerry Donahue of Fairport Convention 1989

Sally wins the Kendal Songsearch Competition 1986

Sally wins the Kendal Songsearch Competition 1986

Sally and Chris 1982

Sally and Chris 1982

 

Solo record deals with Joe Boyd's Hannibal label and the Hamburg based Hypertension Music followed. It was around this time that Sally began the all-female folk group 'The Poozies' with Karen Tweed, Patsy Seddon and Mary Macmaster.

the Poozies

the Poozies

In the early 90's Sally opened for both Bob Dylan and Robert Plant in Germany and toured consistently in Europe during this time, both solo and with the Poozies, releasing albums along the way.  By the mid '90s Sally had left the Poozies and had two small children with the idea of concentrating on solo work.   Future plans, however, were shattered when her husband Chris was diagnosed with cancer and died in 2003.  Sally's 2003 album 'Maid in England', which had been six years in the making (interrupted by 2 pregnancies and her husband's illness), was muted by the death of her husband and she lost the desire to perform her own songs. As a young widow Sally turned her attention to bringing up her two sons while also studying for a

degree in Music Technology.  She took to performing Joni's songs in the duo 'Joni Mitchell Project' with piano and dulcimer player Glenn Hughes. Gradually, Sally began to perform her own songs again and in 2006 rejoined the Poozies.

By now teenagers, it was her sons Dillon and Ben who persuaded her to enter 'The Voice UK'.  She was Tom Jones' finalist on the BBC TV programme in 2014, reducing Sir Tom, and viewers alike, to tears with her flawless performances. Sally subsequently turned down a large advance and the opportunity to record a covers album for Universal, choosing to finish the Poozies' album 'Into the Well' and work on songs for her new album, 'Ghost Girl' whilst continuing to tour both solo and with the Poozies.

Sally changes the atmosphere in a room when she sings
— Radio 2's Chris Evans
Fotheringay 2015

Fotheringay 2015

 

January 2016 found Sally on tour in Australia and by March she had left the Poozies again.  Solo work, touring with Fotheringay, writing and recording the 'Ghost Girl' album plus writing with highly respected American finger-style guitarist and singer-songwriter Vicki Genfan took up the rest of 2016. 

Sally with Glenn Hughes

Sally with Glenn Hughes

 
Team Tom- Sally with Tom Jones, Georgia Harrup and Bizzie Dixon 2014

Team Tom- Sally with Tom Jones, Georgia Harrup and Bizzie Dixon 2014

 

A call from Jerry Donahue led to Sally also performing with the re-formed Fotheringay alongside original members Jerry, Pat Donaldson and Gerry Conway and newbies PJ Wright and Kathryn Roberts to promote the 'Nothing More' 2015 released box set

The emotion and passion in her voice, the
vulnerability and fragility of her vocal is an art that not too many singers can master
— Maverick Magazine
Sally with Vicki Genfan

Sally with Vicki Genfan

Sally has worked with Vicki sporadically since 2002 and their first duo recording 'In the Shadow of a Small Mountain' was released in 2017. Click here to listen. Other duo collaborations include working with Sarah Allen (Barely Works/Flook/Mike Scott) and a new venture with Brooks Williams, with whom Sally toured in May and June 2017.

Sally's album 'Ghost Girl' was released to coincide with Fairport Convention's tour as they celebrate their 50 years on the road with Sally as their support artist.

Her enormous vocal range and stupendous control can relax or rouse at will - she coaxes her voice from that of a mild modern English rose to raw throated blues
— from a review at the Edinburgh Festival