Rachel Walker Mason’s ‘Colour Me Violet’ EP

Rachel Walker Mason is not a name familiar to many but her reputation extends far and wide within the music industry. The award-winning Bristol-based songwriter has penned songs for artists right across the spectrum, including country music. But she has saved three for herself which have just been released as the EP ‘Colour Me Violet’. Taking on a strong folk ethic, merging at times with soft pop, it is an intimate affair telling three stories of different relationships.

The first, ‘Magpie Heart’, is a love letter to her husband. It contains a striking second verse, beautiful in its imagery, in which she talks about them dancing together to Radiohead while holding their as-yet unborn baby in each other’s arms. The closeness of their relationship is captured perfectly; the magpie metaphor spoken of playfully as they steal the hearts of one another.

The second, ‘Pieces of You’, is more fragile. This gentle piano piece with conspicuous drumbeat describes a fractured and breaking relationship in which “I don’t know how to hold these pieces of you / without my own hands bleeding”. It resembles ‘Bruised and Burned’ by Jess Setterfield insofar as it describes being hurt by the brokenness of another. Yet here there remains the hint of a determination to keep going rather than let go; of one last chance on the brink of giving up. If it is the subject of ‘Grey Man’ however, then that chance has already gone.

This final song on the EP describes the results of a controlling relationship that is sobering yet holds a quiet power. Rachel Walker Mason sings in almost-soprano range vocals that “I’m wasted in your wasteland”, and challenges the draining effect of this person by positively affirming that “I’ll be kaleidoscope, carousel, painted shell / Might as well wave me goodbye”. The soft delivery of these words as part of the delicacy that imbues this whole track makes them gently authoritative. It underlines the intention of the record which, for Walker Mason, is “to show others who might be struggling in their relationships that they deserve love for being just who they are.” I think she achieves this with ‘Colour Me Violet’, and more.

Review written by Gareth Williams (twitter.com/lostinbluejazz1)

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