Bess Atwell with special guests Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys + Locks
Bess Atwell’s songs are written far from city lights, in the South Downs communities where she’s lived for most of her 21 years. But in her debut album, Hold Your Mind, local folk and singer-songwriter traditions meet a pop sensibility. Produced by Michael Smith (12 Dirty Bullets), observations on identity, self-dismay and claustrophobic social media combine intimacy with rock hooks and gauzier, more expansive atmospheres. Timeless in essence, her songs are solid with modern detail, and a sure sense of place: strong foundations for a subtly fresh new songwriter.
Atwell has honed her live craft around London and Sussex, regularly appearing at Soho’s much missed musical hothouse the 12-Bar Club, and at annual appearances at Brighton’s Alternative Great Escape. An intimate, direct performer with access to deep wells of suppression and doubt, her album’s fuller sound is stripped to its essence in person.
Atwell’s songs find her version of the universal in concrete, domestic moments: a light in the kitchen, a key in the door, catching the train, and the delicate, sensual nostalgia of recalling the pale, close bodies of an affair. “Quiet, countryside places are where I see myself and my music,” she says. “Not the city, where it’s busy and things are happening right now. My songs need that moment of stepping away, and reflecting.” Bess Atwell is a breath of fresh Downland air, confronting 21 st century concerns with older wisdom.
With support from Sam Jordan & The Dead Buoys and Locks.