Gloucestershire-based songwriter Mara Simpson has announced her new album: it’s called In This Place and comes out on September 24 through her own new imprint Downfield Records. She set up the label “to try and promote transparency and equality, assist other artists to get public funding and to ‘pay’ forward the time and resources I’ve benefited from.”
In This Place comes after some tumultuous recording attempts and scrapped sessions, but eventually found Simpson working with Ellie Mason of Voka Gentle, in whom she found a natural collaborator. The album also reflects on the birth and early years of her daughter, and that’s where we find her on the title track, which is released today. Simpson says:
“When I left home to travel around the world and was so worried about breaking my Mum’s heart, I just remember her saying that your children are never yours to keep. This is a song about the rawest of loves, and the fact that however much we love someone, they are never ours, and the beauty in that.”
As is befitting such a delicate and momentary period in time, “In This Place” is soft and light-of-touch, but made so through splendid instrumental and production choices. The drums are firm but not overpowering as they bubble below, while Simpson’s guitar and mandolin form the silken melodic core. Atop this comes her voice, ripe with emotion as she sings “I am not fear I am flesh / I am bone becoming bone and heartbeats with your breath your breathing,” drawing us right into that intimate connection between parent and child. However, soon she is already accepting that it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in time, that soon her daughter will be her own person with her own concerns “You’ll never be mine / We only share this time,” she sings in the heart-swelling chorus. Even for those of us who haven’t had children, the feeling relayed is breathtaking. It’s a tender knockout.
Watch the video for “In This Place” below or find the song on streaming platforms.
Mara Simpson’s new album In This Place comes out on September 24 through Downfield Records. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.