EP Review – Emma Hern

Badass blues babe Emma Hern releases her self-titled debut this month consisting of 4 blissful tracks which most definitely encapsulate her retro rock and soul sound.   

In Nashville,  the Music City, Hern has expanded her musicality and played a long list of prestigious Nashville venues and showcases, including that of Pilgrimage Music Festival. Her style reinvents soulful blues with a mix of rock and roll, while being reminiscent of artists such as The Commitments, Amy Winehouse, Duffy and Texas.

The catchy yet soulful single ‘Love Is Killing Me’ introduces the EP with Hern’s cool, gritty vocals layered over a bluesy bassline, which soon transform into the powerful clear-cut vocals which display her skills as both a singer and a songwriter. This song, which Nashville Scene describes as being about “making peace with feelings you can’t control” includes a sublime mix of poppy undertones and punchy trumpets  paired with lyrics about all the pain that comes with love and heartbreak. The most stand out line has to be the pre-chorus, with Hern’s delivery of ‘You’re everything I never want, and everything I never knew I needed.’

Hern’s bluesy vibes are continued through the EP with the track ‘Stole My Heart’ which effortlessly mirrors the rock and roll rhythm of late 60s and early 70s that she was brought up with in Richmond. Hern’s relatable yet somewhat sassy song-writing conveys her badass attitude and outlook on heartbreak with lyrics such as  ‘I’m a cold blooded woman with a hole in my chest’ and ‘you stole my heart and I want it back.’

Despite Hern’s powerful voice taking centre stage on every single track of this EP, it is in the Gospel-esque ballad ‘Fool Who Should Have Known’ where her vocals really shine; paired perfectly with a simple piano, with this track beautifully contrasting with her more upbeat songs.  Her soulful emotion is exacerbated with her likewise soulful backing singers, conveying lyrics such as ‘you took my loving for your own’, with the track really building near the end. Lockeland Springsteen states that ‘Hern’s vocal fortitude is one of enviable range, her band is a force to be reckoned with.’

The EP’s final track ‘Say Yes’ can be viewed as being a tad more optimistically charged than the previous songs that display raw pain and lost love. The electric guitars and cheery trumpets coincide with more positive and hopeful lyrics such as ‘you picked up all the broken bits of my heart’ and ‘won’t you give me chance for a real romance.’

Overall, Hern’s debut is a strong and wonderful piece of work coming from an extremely talented and hardworking artist who deserves some recognition. But as Lockeland Springsteen has already stated, ‘nobody is stopping the force that is Emma Hern.’

Megan Wood

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