ELIZABETH MORRIS of ELVA – Song For Ewe

Photographs by
Jørgen Nordby

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest was the singer of Allo Darlin’, a Kent meets Australian band whose perfect pop album “Europe” I own on resplendent white vinyl and who had a propensity for unusual covers ranging from AC/DC to the Ramones via The Go-Betweens and who have a mutual friend/admirer in old VS mucker MJ Hibbett. Now she is half of a new duo called Elva with Ola Innset of Norwegian bands Making Marks and Sunturns. Meaning “The River” in Norwegian, Elva have an album called “Winter Sun” coming out on the ever ace Tapete Records, and I’m pleased to welcome to these pages, the sweet tones and incisive taste of Elizabeth Morris!

Check out a taster for the album below…

“Winter Sun” was recorded in an old school house in the Swedish forest, during moose hunting season, which certainly sounds like an evocative environment in which to make music (or should I say moose-ic. probably not). Elva take their cues from pastoral beauty, the powerful majesty of the weather and the equally momentous and beauteous birth of Elizabeth and Ola’s daughter.

Allo Darlin’ do have a legacy on this record beyond the inimitable voice of Elizabeth, with personnel including long-time band collaborators Dan Mayfield on violin and at the controls former drummer Michael Collins (who has recently produced the likes of Metronomy and Girl Ray).

Both Elizabeth and Ola dovetail on vocal and songwriting duty with an interplay that is both a nod to the Go-Betweens and yet uniquely their own.

Here’s second single “Ghost Writer”…

I was intrigued to find out what makes Elizabeth tick, and so without further ado, this is Elizabeth’s “song for ewe”…(plus one!)

“Song for Ewe

If I have a look through my Spotify recently played, I think I must be confusing the hell out of the algorithms. I have a toddler so of course there is the obligatory Baby Shark, plus music from a children’s TV series here in Norway called “Sangfoni”. At the same time I’ve been listening to a lot of Tallis and Palestrina polyphony, Phillip Glass and Dinosaur Jr. It’s an odd mix but it makes sense in my brain.

I really love Philip Glass’s music. I first heard of him when I was studying music at university and fell in love with minimalism, even if that type of music is very far removed from what I write as a musician.

I suppose a potential disadvantage with being a singer is if you sing, you never really have to push yourself on other instruments. I learned piano from a young age and now find myself teaching it, but have never been great at playing it myself. In my dreams, I’d play and compose music like Philip Glass. I still fantasise that maybe by the time I’m 80 i’ll be a good pianist.

A wonderful thing about being a musician is that you are never finished – it’s always possible to get better. This makes me think of the great Jeffrey Lewis song “Time Trades” – about how time takes so much from you but you can use time to get better at things you like. For me, that would be learning to play the piano like Philip Glass.

Philip Glass – Etude No. 2

Jeffrey Lewis – Time Trades”

THANKS TO ELIZABETH, AND TO SEAN NEWSHAM AT MUTANTE

“Winter Sun” is out now on Tapete Records

https://elva.bandcamp.com/album/winter-sun

Author: Nick Hutchings

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