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Joshua Burnside's Late Afternoon In the Meadow (1887) has conventional sound meet unconventional city

"Late Afternoon In the Meadow (1887)"

Release date: 18 November 2022
Joshua Burnside Late Afternoon In the Meadow 1887 Album Artwork
18 November 2022, 14:00 Written by Sophia McDonald

Welcomed in with the meandering storytelling of a man far off and a fiddle grasping for the next note at a gentle pace, Joshua Burnside captures your attention with his warm vocals and lush imagery.

Late Afternoon In the Meadow (1887) describes the seasons that pass through our city landscape and they’re given a musical voice to describe life passing through us. Inspired by his time in France and named after a Pissarro painting, Burnside takes the detrimental effects of modern economic pressure and gives an impressionistic soundtrack to the declining life of a Belfast man.

The titular track tells the tale of this man who is driven to the brink of taking his own life – the devastating lyrics of the speaker trying to understand: “Tell me brother why / why did you do that?” and a woefully heavy statement that “my life is something that’s just been happening to me.” The Belfast group of poets like Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley come to mind especially with Burnside’s Northern Irish accent peaking through.

A recurring feature of Burnside’s music now is his skillful guitar, but what leaps from this EP is the complimentary instruments that almost hug the main melody and embellish the song layer by musical layer. “Louis Mercier” (a potential cousin of another of Burnisde’s songs “Noa Mercier”) goes beyond the traditional Northern Irish influence and pushes into a more continental soundscape. There are elements of Beirut via the trumpets and accordion which could fit into any European buskers repertoire. Burnside keeps a tight leash on his typical experimentation, sticking close to a more homely feel on this record to ensure the story doesn’t sway off course.

“Where White Lilies Bloom” ends Late Afternoon In The Meadow (1887) on a hopeful instrumental note, one that could be played on any cosy night around the fire. Sincere in sound and subject, Burnside’s latest record basks in harsh modernity whilst keeping tradition alive.

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