Influenced by her father's Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones, and Sandy Denny record collection, Emily Barker is an Australian singer/songwriter based in the U.K. chamber folk scene. Her songs "Nostalgia" and "Pause" were used as themes for the BBC crime dramas Wallander (2008-2016) and The Shadow Line (2011), respectively.
Born in Bridgetown, a small rural town in southwest Australia, Barker began her musical career when she moved to England in 2002 and teamed up with guitarist Rob Jackson (Eddi Reader) to form the Low Country. The duo recorded two albums, Welcome to the Low Country and The Dark Road, before Barker decided to pursue a solo career. She released her debut LP, Photos. Fires. Fables., in 2007 on her own Everyone Sang label. After recruiting the cello, violin, and musical saw trio of Anna Jenkins, Jo Silverston, and Gill Sandell, aka the Red Clay Halo, she released her follow-up, Despite the Snow, in 2008. Its opening track, "Nostalgia," was chosen as the theme song to Kenneth Branagh's Wallander, the BAFTA-winning U.K. adaptation of the original Swedish series. Barker's third album, Almanac, arrived in February 2011 and included the haunting ballad "Pause." It was selected as the theme to the BBC miniseries The Shadow Line, which aired that spring. Still self-releasing her music via Everyone Sang, the Calum Malcolm-produced Dear River followed in 2013. Marked by rich vocal harmonies, she formed the folk-pop trio Vena Portae with Dom Coyote and Ruben Engzell and issued the Vena Portae LP in 2014. She released the solo album The Toerag Sessions a year later, then partnered with Amy Speace and Amber Rubarth for 2016's Applewood Road, the self-titled debut of the acoustic vocal three-piece. Barker's fifth solo LP, Sweet Kind of Blue followed in 2017 with a bolder presentation that counted blues, Motown, and Brill Building pop among its influences. ~ Marcy Donelson & Jon O'Brien