Whether seductively delivering stalwarts like Sweet Nightingale and Brigg Fair or linking with The Claque on Four Pence A Day and Marrow Bones, it’s the rustic beauty of Oates’ voice that enthrals
Her first recordings were made as a member of Rachel Unthank & The Winterset (now known as The Unthanks). Her plaintive viola and voice helped define the dark Northumbrian sound that won them Mojo Magazine’s Folk Album Of The Year in 2005.
Leaving to pursue a solo career, Jackie has surprised and beguiled critics and fans with each new album; never repeating an idea or sticking to the safety of a formula. Yet at all times being unmistakably her.
‘A celebrity in the new folk scene’ The Guardian
Beginning with the pastoral sighs of her self-titled debut, Jackie turned to more mournful material for 2008’s intricately textured The Violet Hour. But after signing to the indie-vidualist One Little Indian records, she delivered an album that sympathetically blended traditional rural ballads with contemporary songs. Hyperboreans contained the first of several collaborations with Scotland’s dauntingly prolific Alasdair Roberts as well as songs arranged and performed with her brother, the similarly award-winning Jim Moray. Her cover of The Sugarcubes’ inscrutable 1987 masterpiece ‘Birthday’ became a surprise hit on Radio 2, XFM and 6 Music.
Jackie’s 2011 album Saturnine took several songs she’d learned from Devonshire pub singarounds and sprinkled them with bells, “eccentric” percussion and exotic world instruments found on eBay. A glowing review from Mojo insisted “it’s the rustic beauty of Oates’ voice that enthrals”.
2013’s Lullabies album grew to become her most ambitious project, culminating in a new archive of these often sinister attempts to soothe infants being added to the library at Cecil Sharp House in London. The Lullabies live shows were accompanied by parent & child singing workshops, while the evening concerts explored the more adult aspects of the songs. Belinda O’Hooley contributed the exquisite piano arrangements – continuing the work they began as members of the nascent Unthanks. Lauren Laverne chose the track Waiting For The Lark as her Headphone Moment on BBC 6 Music.
“Over the course of her solo albums and side projects Jackie Oates has been in possession of one of the most gorgeous and lyrical singing voices. There is a faraway quality to it, as well as a melancholy and a note of surrender in the sweetness and warmth.” Songlines
Throughout this journey Jackie Oates has trodden an often surprising path; being immortalised as a Lush cosmetics foundation (“for fairer folk and English Roses”), becoming a member of the internationalist folk collective The Imagined Village, contributing to BBC2’s The Great British Story, joining Ade Edmundson on a Devon beach for an episode of ITV1’s Ade In Britain and even appearing in an episode of Midsomer Murders.
‘Charming and occasionally jaw-droppingly beautiful’ fRoots
‘English folk-pop…as pretty as some spring mornings.’ The Independent
The release of The Spyglass & The Herringbone is supported by a tour which takes in dates not only in the UK but also in Belgium and Iceland.