Words and Music by Lizzie Nunnery
Back with a captivating second album, Lizzie Nunnery is set to bring her words and music together in an intriguing new show for the Everyword Festival. She talks to David Lloyd.
It was only a matter of time before her music would find a similar purchase on our soul.
Her latest collection, Black Hound Howling is a satisfyingly confident leap forward from her well-received debut, Company of Ghosts. With insistent strings, chiming vibraphones and all manner of urgent percussive beats, this is the sound of an artist hitting her stride. And of doing what she does best. Ensnaring us, wide eyed, into her world.
“Yes, I suppose there’s more storytelling in this one,” Nunnery tells SevenStreets, “there’s definitely a narrative within the songwriting on this album.”
It’s a narrative, SevenStreets suggests, that verges on that most dangerous of projects – the concept album.
That Nunnery succeeds is due to the set’s thrillingly broad canvas, from deep south spiritual to ragged folk, strident singalongs to introspective laments. Together, the songs reflect themes Nunnery has been wrestling with, on and off the stage.
“I’ve been fascinated with the idea of transience, time and loss,” Nunnery says. “And when an idea takes hold of me I kind of get preoccupied.”
It’s why, she says, ideas blend and melt into whatever it is Nunnery’s currently engaged on. “Themes come back in different ways, they always inform my work… I love working in different mediums for that reason, nothing gets lost. Things can get recycled into something new, something different.”
Together with ex-Wave Machine multi-instrumentalist Vidar Norheim and a supporting cast (including Vidar of Wave Machines and Gary Daly of China Crisis) Nunnery’s concocted a woozy, lyrical album of modern fairy tales, of biblical birds and sideways snow, of Japanese myths and carousing sailors.
“We wrote the song at different times, and with lots of different contributors, but it’s amazing how coherent it all sounds,” Nunnery says.
“We wanted to do something more ambitious with this album. Different arrangements, different textures and, hopefully, a different way of performing it live too,” she says.
One thing remains the same – Lizzie’s pure northern falsetto. No fake mid Atlantic accent for her.
“I”m proud of where I’m from.” says the Maghull-born Nunnery (that’ll explain those Lancastrian vowels), “I think it’s important to find an honest voice, in whatever you’re creating.”
As part of this year’s Everyword Festival, Nunnery plans to debut her new show, at the suitably atmospheric Nordic Church.
“Vidar and I will be joined by Hugo Harrison on double bass and Martin Heslop on guitar and percussion, allowing for a much bigger sound, and freeing Vidar up to tinkle the vibraphone, play the church organ, bow guitars and generally prove how clever he is,” Nunnery says.
Other special guests include Gary Daly on piano, Chops Caldwell on mandolin and the Liverpool Socialist Singers “giving it full voice”
“Alongside the music I’ll be performing new pieces of spoken word, building on the lyrical themes and adding some extra theatricality.”
Now, ladies and gentlemen, you really don’t get that at a One Direction show.
Black Hound Howling
9pm, Thursday 25th October
138 Park Lane.
The hour long show is part of the Everyword Festival: Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse’s new writing festival which runs from the 22nd-28th October.
Tickets will be £5 from Liverpool Playhouse box office, but some tickets will also be available on the door.