'What's Left Behind' EP
It's Saturday afternoon at the Moseley Folk Festival and a group is beginning to form around the Janice Long Stage. Admittedly, some are here to shelter from the downpour, but the majority are here to see an act who, year-on-year is moving up the festival billing: George Boomsma.
The sky may still have been an unappealing grey when Boomsma arrived but that's no longer our concern. Boomsma is here to weave evocative lyrical images around deliciously intricate acoustic tunes, to tell stories in song and to chat cheerily between each number. Amongst the new songs being debuted is 'Soaking Southern Town', the lead number on this quietly startling EP. Who knows where this aptly rain-drenched love story is set or why the author '...long(s) for the sound of trains underground...' but yet images stay with you. Boosma's voice is a pure, effortlessly soaring instrument, always sincere (his North Yorkshire phrasing is evident). On record, the accompanying string section feels reminiscent of Robert Kirby's arrangements on Nick Drake's 'Five Leaves Left'. It's rather magical.
Another song unveiled on that soggy Saturday was 'How High the Mountain' which live is bravely performed acapella. This sincere love song ('we huddle close against the cold' - how apt), made some jaws drop. On record, the string section that gently takes over mid-way through the song is passionate and cinematic.
Away from acoustic guitar and strings, the EP also includes the piano-led 'Children' which has that stripped-back feel of Radiohead's 'Videotape' (there are also some Thom Yorke-like vocals) - a song that takes domestic life (the clue is in the title), and turning it into something wonderful. And, finally, as the elegant 'Wholly Wine' has been played on national radio alongside Jeff Buckley's version of 'Lilac Wine', I can think of no greater compliment or vocal comparison.
'What's Left Behind' is now available to purchase on Bandcamp. You really do need to catch him live, we're sure that he'll be headlining folk festivals soon!