As mainstream popular music is slowly, tentatively rediscovering folk and country influences, a whole wave of upcoming artists continues to breathe new life into the much-loved genres.
Among them is Leah Haworth.
Born in Darwen, UK, and now residing in London, the singer-songwriter is stepping into the spotlight with her new EP ‘Midnight Loneliness’. Filled with deeply personal lyrics that are “really bloody scary to have the world hear”, the collection of five folky tracks aims to “make you think about life, love and loss”.
Let’s have a listen and see whether Leah succeeds in her musical and lyrical quest.
1) “Safe With You” (9/10)
“What if you flew into space? You’d see the stars and you’d want to stay.”
Starting off with the line “maybe we’re all born to die”, the EP jumps right into familiar singer-songwriter territory with its opening track “Safe With You” — a pensive yet hopeful mid-tempo gem.
Leah’s songwriting shines through from the first minute, pairing exceptionally captivating lyrics with proven melodies to leave you with a smile on your face in anticipation of the rest of the EP. This is how you open a song collection.
2) “Why Can’t I Sleep” (8/10)
“I stand and I stare as the world turns to stone.”
Starting off slower and darker than “Safe With You”, this track has folky verses that sound distinctly familiar in their beautiful simplicity. Really, though, “Why Can’t I Sleep” wins you over with its powerful chorus that quickly burns itself into your head and presents itself as the perfect soundtrack for a car ride on a rainy night.
Lyrically, the song stays in relatively safe heartbreak territory, but does so exceptionally well. Relatable, yet far from clichéd lines are carried by Leah’s powerful vocals, taking you on a highly emotional five-minute journey.
3) “Hours” (7/10)
“I’ll just let the world smile and speak for me.”
The pensive mood of the EP continues on the brooding “Hours”, which finds Leah putting emphasis on her vocal delivery in the dark verses and the intense chorus.
On a lyrical level, the singer-songwriter masterfully plays with well-known imagery, delivering the saddest description of taking a bath you’ve probably ever heard. “There’s something about the way the droplets hit my face,” Leah sings. “I watch them evaporate.”
“Hours”, clearly, represents the darkest moment of the lonely night the songer-songwriter traces on her EP. It may not feel quite as exciting and novel as the first two tracks, but it certainly keeps the songwriting on a laudably high level.
4) “Wish You The Best In Life” (8/10)
“I’ll keep hurting if it means that I can fight this whole thing and learn to find myself.”
While continuing her strategy of finding new words to describe well-known emotions and situations in sombre soundscapes, Leah returns to the lighter kind of chorus melodies she used on “Why Can’t I Sleep”.
As such, “Wish You The Best In Life” builds up beautifully from an “Hours”-style first verse to morph into a highly enjoyable, almost-but-not-quite uplifting folk song. There certainly seems to be an end to the darkness in sight here, a silver lining that works well in the context of the overall journey that is ‘Midnight Loneliness’.
5) “Shining Morning” (9/10)
“The ghost of all our memories, it fills the silence that surrounds.”
Leah seemingly applies the brakes again for the EP’s finale with a suitably unhasty and emotionally charged ballad.
But then, just after the one-minute mark, the song unexpectedly picks up pace. Leah says goodbye to the relatable lonely night that is the setting of her EP with what is probably the strongest of her chorus hooks, greeting the morning.
“Shining Morning” is the powerful finale we didn’t see coming at this point — but it’s the perfect closer for our sonic journey.
With her ‘Midnight Loneliness’ EP, Leah Haworth sets out to take the listener on an emotionally charged trip through the darkest hours of the night. And in that, she certainly succeeds.
From the pensive lines of “Safe With You” to the soaring chorus of “Shining Morning”, the intelligently written songs let us dive not only into the singer-songwriter’s heart but also our own. Specific descriptions meet universal feelings to create a folk music ride that you should definitely get on.
Follow Leah Haworth on social media and listen to ‘Midnight Loneliness’ on Spotify. Also, don’t miss her live shows in the London area.