After supporting Will Young on his UK tour in November, Jodie Marie’s anticipated debut Mountain Echo is finally finished. The album will be released on March 5th, and it’s definitely one to go out and buy.
Her story is like something out of The X Factor. A young teenage girl with a dream, living in the picturesque, sleepy village of Narberth in Pembrokeshire, Wales. I’ve been to Narberth, and trust me – there isn’t a huge amount going on there. At the age of 16, Jodie was working in a small bed and breakfast when the landlady overheard a customer discussing his son’s job in the music industry. She gave the man a CD of covers the singer had recorded, and four years later she is now signed to the label which that son works for, Transgressive Records.
Mountain Echo combines Marie’s soulful, bluesy harmonies with an intimacy created by the album being recorded live with all of the musicians in the same room. It begins with Jodie’s debut single ‘Single Blank Canvas’, which was released back in May last year. The song shows off her ability to hold a note, with lyrics doting her speechlessness at a lover as she sings “But now I’m lost for words/Like a single blank canvas”. ‘Numb’ tells tales of further heartache through impressive passionate vocals, while latest single ‘I Got You’ is more upbeat and poppy, and has received a large amount of airplay on BBC Radio 2. ‘On the Road’ was the lead single from the album, beginning with a bluesy electric guitar riff but building on this with percussion, brass, piano and Jodie’s powerful voice, which is showed off well.
Country and folk influences are displayed in ‘Like a Runaway’, showing that Jodie Marie isn’t only a singer of soul and blues but that her voice can be lent to a range of genres. This toe-tapping acoustic tune makes her sound more like an American country star than a 20-year-old from south-west Wales, whilst still sounding equally delightful. ‘Shadows of Rain’ is a ballad of yet more heartache, beginning with simple instrumentation consisting of a tambourine and piano and leading to a crescendo of strings, woodwind and percussion.
The standout track on the record for me appears near the end. ‘Greeney-Blue’ is hauntingly beautiful, and one of the most relaxing and chilled out tracks on the whole album. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, the track could be compared to classics such as ‘Fields of Gold’ by Eva Cassidy for its simplistic but stunning sound. In essence the song is an apologetic love-song, as Jodie repeats melancholically “I am sorry for what I have done” and “Haunted by the tears you couldn’t hide/Feel miles apart still side by side”.
The record as a whole shows that Jodie Marie is definitely not a one-trick pony, showing off a talent for making music from a variety of genres including blues, soul, country and pop. The press release alongside Mountain Echo states that Marie grew up “musically isolated” and that the record is “born out of the elements and otherworldly locations of Jodie’s upbringing”, and this can be heard throughout the album as her music transports the listener to these locations.
Comparisons will inevitably be made between Jodie Marie and other solo female singers such as Duffy, as they are both from Pembrokeshire, and others of similar styles such as Rumer and Adele. However, I feel comparisons like this would be unfair. Mountain Echo may not chart highly or win lots of awards, but it is a great album. Jodie Marie’s sound is timeless, and this record is one of those few albums which can be enjoyed by young and old alike. It has a sense of nostalgia – reflected by the vintage-looking album cover – which means this album will be adored by all ages. Its March release will coincide with Mothers’ Day (March 18th – don’t forget!) and would make a perfect gift. The airplay on Radio 2 of ‘I Got You’ suggests positive things for this album, and I definitely see Jodie Marie as one of the most exciting new artists of 2012.