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(Credit: Far Out / Camilla Aisa)

Music

Doctor’s Orders: Emma Tricca prescribes her nine favourite albums

@TomTaylorFO

“So strange how people walk into someone’s life,” Emma Tricca sings in her track ‘Lost in New York’, “changing the weather once and forever, then you don’t, you don’t, remember their face anymore.” You should be able to blow the best poetry towards a window with the natural ease of dispersing dandelion seeds and have the words shatter it when they collide. Much like Nick Drake before her, Tricca’s filigreed folk ditties do this with aplomb, carrying the ethereal weight of a tonne of feathers.

Part of the humility of her work comes from the fact that the songs seem lived-in, they are a hive oozing the spiritual honey of natural artistic sincerity. This makes the music that has inspired her during testing moments all the more notable when it comes to the nine records she has selected for our Doctor’s Orders feature in conjunction with CALM

As her biography reads: “In life and music, Emma Tricca is an explorer. Just as ‪Davey Graham set sail for Morocco and ‪Vashti Bunyan for the Outer Hebrides in search of their elusive ‪muse, Rome-raised singer-songwriter Tricca has journeyed to London, New York, Texas and further afield to seek the heart of her own music.”

This exploration has not only laden her work with ladles of layered reflection, but it’s also subtly sonically mixed too. You see this swirling whirl of influence tempered with profound individualism in her discography to date, from the most recent single tackling Bert Jansch with ‘It Don’t Bother Me’ and ‘Good Morning Diner’ back in 2021 to her excellent debut album Minor White from 2009. 

All of this music is borne from a love of the artform and the influences and inspirations that Tricca abides by. With valiant honesty, Tricca told us just what music means to her and the records that have kept her going during the waxing and waning of her career. Much like her music itself, her words on the matter come as a benevolent gift that cushions the edges of day’s potholes. 

In support of CALM, we’re asking a selection of our favourite people to share nine records that they would prescribe for anyone they met and the stories behind their importance. Doctor’s Orders sees some of our favourite musicians, actors, authors, comedians and more offer up the most important records, which they deem essential for living well.

Tricca’s inclusions form a beauteous playlist in of themselves. From the delicate pillow-propped dreaminess of escapism with Nick Drake to the wild wonderment of the exultant ways of Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz, Tricca’s mix is as eclectic as her music.

And it’s just as considered too, as she explained: “It’s difficult to not be self-referential or up-close-and-personal when asked to talk about your favourite records and how they helped you to duck and dive through perilous hours – having pre-empted my biggest fear, I’m going to jump into this open-hearted, with a few soul-felt liner per record. These are the record I owe a lot to and that have kept me company during the darkest of times.”

In support of suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). If you or someone you know is struggling, head over to thecalmzone.net for practical support and advice. There are loads of ways to support CALM and their life-saving services. If you fancy making a small donation, £8 can answer a potentially life-saving call.  

To learn more about Emma Tricca and her work you can view her website here and her Bandcamp by clicking here, as well as the video below. 

Emma Tricca’s nine favourite albums:

Joni Mitchell – The Hissing of The Summer Lawns

The delicate folk finger plucking of Mitchell is a well-established sound within Tricca’s oeuvre so it’s no surprise to see her crop up in the list and the personal corroborations that Mitchell always summons. 

As Tricca explains: “Hard to choose one of Joni’s records: from Blue to Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter there is a rich tapestry of explained feelings and circumstances that are the common denominator of all of our lives – I think that that’s where her genius stands alongside the intricacy of her melodies and the assertiveness of her delivery.”

Continuing: “The Hissing of The Summer Lawns, though, represents a moment of transition and growth in one’s life and poetry where the truth transpires. ‘Edith and the Kingpin’ and ‘Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow’ contain multitudes.

Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz – Sweet Mother

Back in 1977, West Africa was abuzz a new musical revolution that saw street parties swirling with a cacophony of local and emerging sounds. Prince Nico Mbarga was one of the leading pioneers and his music still burst like a part popper to this day. 

“This record is a total mood-switcher,” Tricca begins, “Prince of the Cameroonian-Nigerian Highlife movement, Nico Mbarga delivers sweet tunes to dance to and a getaway ticket from sadness – it’s a record that is held together by an invisible string made of impossible harmonies and slightly out of tune instruments that make total sense when converging in songs. 35 minutes of absolute intoxicating musical joy.”

Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks

Dylan’s so-called return to form (somewhat a misnomer) in 1975, saw the voice of a generation extoll his own catharsis more fervently than he had done before. His personal tales bare vulnerability as a strength and the record has offered a hand down to many people feeling the same. 

Tricca is no different, as she explains: “From the moment the needle hits this record you know you have just opened the pandora box of sheer lucidity in covering stories: said stories go straight like arrows from your brain down to your heart and then travel up to the heart of your imagination.”

Continuing: “For instance, in ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ you can kind of listen to the song and watch its film projected straight on the wall before you—the magic of this record is inexplicable. I escape into it; I heal through it. ‘You’re a Big Girl Now’.”

Judy Collins – Maid of Constant Sorrow

Many a rainy Monday morning, a chunk of Far Out HQ has turned to Collins’ beauteous duet with Leonard Cohen to ease into the day. Her voice and performative intonation is a force to behold and Tricca is no stranger to supping it down. 

“Getting lost in someone’s voice to the point of not hearing the words anymore – that’s what she does to me. She’s the finest of them all, the finest of all the Greenwich Village folk revival Queens – When I listen to this fine record, I want to crawl inside it and listen to the stories until music and words blur, and you don’t know where you are anymore,” Tricca says.

Continuing to eulogise the record, Tricca surmises that it does exactly what it sets out to do with graceful ease. “Judy is genius, an incredible musician and I believe this to be one the finest folk records of its time,” she opines. 

Patti Smith – Horses

Next on Tricca’s mind was a classic that millions have cut-loose to since it first emerged in 1975 and gave a cognizant voice to punk. “Possibly my favourite record of Patti Smith’s; I love how it glides from ‘Gloria’ to ‘Birdland’ to ‘Elegie’ – elegant and unpretentious it carries the weight of the future in music and opens the doors to what is to come in the arts world like Arthur Rimbaud did in his days – to mention one,” Tricca explains. 

Adding: “This record is never just a background noise for me, I have to sit down and listen and pay attention… and its mood, for me, changes every time.” There are millions of Horses fans who would say just the same for the amorphous swell of the ground-breaking record

(Credit: Arista)

John Renbourn And Bert Jansch – Bert And John

Back in 2021, Tricca channelled the ways of Bert Jansch her singl covering his works. His tones fit her style like a sonic glass slipper. That seemingly comes from a deep connection that she has with the music in the first place. 

As Tricca explained: “This record exudes youth and eagerness, companionship with a slight hint of competitiveness – Bert and John feed off each other and bring their playing to the limit without even realising what they are doing, or so it seems. This album has definitely been amongst my ‘I spent last night staring at the ceiling’ favourite moments. ‘The Time Has Come’ for me to go. Perfection.”

Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left

If Nick Drake’s work was any more wistful then it surely couldn’t be pressed on something as bulky as vinyl. You get the same impression with Tricca’s tracks as though they could float off the turntable at any time if something elsewhere took their fancy. Thus, it seems natural that there is a kinship between the two. 

“So much has already been said about the mood of this record and Nick Drake’s beautiful writing. Like every good companion, this record has led me through the seasons of love and friendship with its autumnal strings and vision. ‘The River Man’ will forever be the song I wish I had written… I know I’m not alone on that one,” Tricca explained. 

Odetta – Odetta at Carnegie Hall (Live)

Odetta was a numen who bridged the gap between folk, blues, and soul; as a founding figure of the Greenwich Village scene from its late 1950’s outset, she was a prolific actress and such a key component of the Civil Rights Movement that she was dubbed the voice of it. With all that in mind, she’s hardly enshrined in history the way that she should be. 

Live, Odetta was a force to behold and testimony to this is Tricca’s favourite of her records: This is a fantastic collection of the most popular folk songs around at that time – for hours, as akid, I would listen to this recording trying to learn tunes, understand them and being in awe of this immense voice as much as I was in awe of Judy Collins’.”

Adding: “Very much like Judy, she made every song her own, uncompromisingly so. Odetta scooped me up from sadness and made possible for me to build my own little world to find solace in. I’m forever grateful to her and her wisdom.”

Butterfly Child – Futures

One of the beautiful powers of music is its ability to help us heal. Grief is a crushing thing, and if only for a moment, music and illuminate some levity beyond circumstance. As Joe Cassidy once said, “Music and love is all that really matters in all its different permutations.” He may have passed away in 2021, but his beauteous music remains as a comfort for us all. 

As Tricca says, “This is a bittersweet one for me as Joe Cassidy was a friend and this album has been a regular on my turntable and iPhone ever since it came out – Futures has been the perfect long hold flight friend and ‘let’s put this on’ in the groggy morning of the ‘I can’t be bothered today’ days.

“This guy’s talent is a mystery to me, he can reel you from the back door and offer you a different viewpoint in music and in life. I just wish I could get an email from him saying that his ‘new record’ was being mixed.”

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