“Young Runaway” is the latest album from Hattie Briggs. Like trickling water, the softly played ukulele forms the perfect backdrop to a crystal clear voice as you play the first track, “The Lake”. Then just as the string section builds to a crescendo it stops and we are back to a trickle… “a shadow of a long forgotten tide.”
Like any good wordsmith, Hattie’s lyrics can be interpreted in many ways. None more so than “Lift Me Up” – but then, as Ange Hardy says: “We all hear music through the ears of our own experience.”
Then there is the self-confessed silly song, “Digging to Australia”, a self-deprecating piece about her perceived lack of a sense of adventure. I somehow doubt that she suffers from any such lacking – take a look at her busy tour schedule for example.
All of the tracks on this album are beautifully sung and produced. Depending on your mood or the day that’s in it each will find a way to your soul. However, the track I keep coming back to again and again is “Have We Met Before”. Co-written by Hattie and Jack Cookson and sung as a duet, it is a song that ponders on chance meetings and their consequences. What first struck me was that the opening sounds so like Mary Chapin Carpenter, perhaps it is just those opening chords. To quote the lyrics “…maybe everything’s illogical, maybe anything is possible?”
This album opens with “The Lake” and finishes with “The River”, the water songs perfectly framing a beautiful and memorable collection. You can read what Hattie has to say about them in our interview with her here.
Hattie came to the fore following her BBC 2 Folk Awards nomination back in 2014. Indeed, it was that that prompted her to leave university and become a full time musician. The music industry loves to categorise and label acts for any number of reasons. However, Hattie is a singer songwriter with her own style, beautiful diction and an envious way with words – please don’t put her in a genre box.
“Young Runaway” goes on public release on 8th July 2016. It is only Hattie’s second album, I feel there is far more to come from this young lady from Gloucestershire. With this album she has set a very high standard and having seen her play live I can only surmise that there is a lot more to come.