Sally Barker & Vicki Genfan
"Small Mountain” Tour – 9-22 November 2017
Two very special artists bring their music and talents together
'IN the shadow of a small mountain'
Meeting in 2002 and performing as founding members of the ‘Women on Stage’ tour throughout Germany, Austria and the UK (a 3-Act Tour featuring Vicki, Sally and Kerstin Blodig), Vicki and Sally have continued touring together in Germany and the UK since 2006. Eleven years later, they have prepared a special collection of newly penned, original songs and put together a show that is more collaborative than ever before.
The Trans-Atlantic duo can’t wait to get back out on the road with their debut CD, ‘In The Shadow of a Small Mountain’, reuniting with old fans and friends and welcoming new ones!
The ‘Small mountain’ project, germinated over five days in the sweltering heat of a North Carolina Summer in a cabin in the shadow of Pilot Mountain at the foot of the Appalachians, was tended to during Autumn transatlantic song-writing sessions via Skype and successfully bloomed in a New Jersey January as the snow drifts settled, knee deep, at the recording studio door. The resultant record 'In The Shadow of a Small Mountain' is a product of the modern age yet tells stories from both sides of the Atlantic with flavours of the American south infusing tales of a very British sort. Both Sally and Vicki sing and play acoustic guitar while Vicki also plays electric guitars, mando-tar, banjo-tar, bass and percussion. The only guest appearances are John Mettam playing drums on ‘SOMETHING BLUE’, Finn Magill (low whistle and vocals) and (from Malawi, Africa) Peter Mawanga (nsansi , chisekese and vocals) on the song 'MALAYA' (recorded by a mobile recording studio in a car park at Swannanoa Gathering at midnight!).
Sally, founder member of the Poozies, has released 7 solo albums and toured consistently supporting artists such as Bob Dylan and Robert Plant until the death of her husband in 2003 after which she performed sporadically. She re-emerged on prime time TV show 'The Voice UK 2014' on which she was Sir Tom Jones’ finalist. Rejecting the offer of a deal from Island Records (an album of covers) she has continued to plough her own furrow with the release of her latest album GHOST GIRL in February 2017.
Vicki holds the title of 2008 ‘Guitar Superstar’ having won the Guitar Player Magazine’s annual competition in front of celebrity judges Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Elliot Easton. She has released 4 solo albums, 5 instructional DVDs and tours throughout the US and internationally where she has supported artists such as David Crosby, David Wilcox and Larry Carlton.
The stories behind the songs...
HOPES, SONGS, DREAMS (Barker/Genfan). This tribute to British Folk legend Sandy Denny came about because Sally was explaining to Vicki who singer-songwriter Sandy was. “I was singing Sandy's songs in the re- formed Fotheringay and, during Skype songwriting sessions last autumn, tried to explain to Vicki what a unique talent Sandy had been and that explanation turned into the song.”
Vicki's mando-tar and banjo-tar infuse HOLDING ON (CAN'T LET YOU GO) (Barker/Genfan) with the warm flavour of the Appalachians, while lyrically this is Sally talking about her kids reaching adulthood. “I have been their only parent since their dad died of cancer when they were 7 and 5. It has been difficult for me to bring them up alone and now to let them go”.
Vicki provides a groove-alicious guitar part on FEELS LIKE FLYING (Barker/Genfan/Cassell) to take us back to our teenage years of dancing round our handbags at the Friday night disco. A time when you would fall in love and break up and then make up – all in one evening! Initial inspiration for the groove was Gill Scott-Heron's 'In the Bottle' by Brother to Brother (a song Sally danced around her handbag to many times)...
Sally delivers an intimate vocal performance over the sparse acoustic guitars of LITTLE RED BOX (Barker/Genfan/Cassell), gently guiding the song's emotional message. It grips our hearts with nostalgia in its lament for the British red telephone boxes that used to be on every corner of the land and remain a cornerstone of what is still stereotypically English.
HEART NEEDS A HOME (Barker). This is the only song that was not written originally for this project. Sally wrote 'Heart Needs a Home' for an ex- boyfriend and it tells the universal story of a heart longing for the perfect home... lush vocals over a bed of shimmering acoustic guitars.
SOMETHING BLUE (Barker/Genfan). Although both have been married, neither Sally nor Vicki has been left at the altar. However, one day, in the midst of a brainstorming session over Skype, they began to discuss what it would feel like and that discussion turned into the lyrics for 'Something Blue', a jazz waltz and the only song on the CD with a live drummer.
MOONSHINE (Barker/Genfan) embodies three interwoven narratives of the album: immigration, moonshine whisky and NASCAR racing. The Scots-Irish immigrants that settled in the Appalachian Mountains brought their whisky making skills with them to the US. They started using the corn that grew in abundance in the region to make their whisky thus giving birth to ‘Moonshine’ and the song reflects this heritage by bookending the song with a Celtic jig! The song itself tells how, during Prohibition, the teenage sons of the illegal distillers became skilled drivers while evading the law (aka 'Revenuers') as they transported the moonshine down the mountain to the cities. These young kids became the first NASCAR racers.
MALAYA (Barker/Genfan). Vicki's ‘Claw Hammer’ technique on her Emerald, short scale 12 string Amicus guitar combines with Malawian Peter Mawanga's thumb piano to establish an African themed harmonic foundation to the story of a young girl's journey up a mountain. Finn Magill’s low whistle bringing the song its wings, permeating the beautiful but stark imagery, as it weaves in and out of nature’s landscapes.
The pop groove of WEEKDAY HEARTBREAK (Barker/Genfan), a title gifted by Sally's son Dillon, led to a lyric that told the story of a man who had one girlfriend on the weekends, and another during the week. It's no-one we know, honestly!