After being so taken by Ailsa Tully’s 2021 EP Holy Isle, it’s excellent to see a new track, ‘Salt Glaze’, out this week along with the announcement of a short tour in April. ‘Salt Glaze’ is inspired by the time Ailsa spent at her grandmother’s house during lockdown last January. Tully says: “My Grandma passed away a few years ago and the house remained unchanged, it was like a museum of salt glaze ceramics and abstract art pieces which began to absorb into my creativity. This song is about that space and how my partner and I tried to make it feel like home during that period while also knowing that it wasn’t ours. It’s ultimately a song about acceptance, balance and letting things be”.
Ailsa Tully is a cellist and bass guitar player who uses these deeply resonant instruments to root her songs. Tully plays chords on the bass that undulate like marshmallow waves, giving the feeling of the tunings used by Joni Mitchell, while the cello provides fresh breezes, and both allow her voice to hang in suspension over the top. The more I hear Ailsa Tully’s voice the more I am taken with how unadorned it is. No vocal acrobatics, little or no use of tremolo, simple but effective use of harmony at key moments, but always utterly compelling. It feels like it is being broadcast from the best dream you ever had.
‘Salt Glaze’ has a woozily surreal feeling that permeates the song but it feels as comforting as butter melting on hot toast. I’m very excited that more new music is coming this year and that there is the opportunity to see Ailsa Tully live (tour dates below).
Friday 1st April – Sunday 3rd April; BBC Radio 6 Music Fringe Festival
Sunday 17th April – Clwb lfor Bach, Cardiff*
Monday 25th April – Hope and Ruin, Brighton
Tuesday 26th April – The Lexington, London
Friday 29th April – The Castle Hotel, Manchester
Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th June; How The Light Gets In
Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st August; Greenman Festival
Review by Paul F Cook