Sally Barker

December 3, 2023 @ 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Temperance Cafe
33 Bath Street
Leamington Spa CV31 3AF

SALLY BARKER SOLO – an evening withIn 2020 Sally released her re-imagining of the Tom Jones song ‘It’s Not Unusual‘ to celebrate the venerable singer’s 80th Birthday. So far it has racked up over 4 million views on YouTube and divides opinion amongst fans of the Welshman’s classic (you can see it here: ) This slowed down version highlights the mournful and yearning lyrics to give the song new meaning. The significance of this recording? Sally was Tom’s finalist on The Voice UK in 2014 and although people mistakenly think she won, such was the impact she had on that show, Sally walked away without the main prize, coming in joint 2nd and then walked away from a record deal for an album of mainstream cover songs offered on the strength of her ‘Voice’ performances.

Despite her flirtation with the mainstream, Sally’s musical life remains firmly rooted in acoustic and folk music as a singer and songwriter with bands such as The PooziesFotheringayThe Sandy Denny Project, Iota and guest vocalist with Fairport Convention. Support slots have been many but highlights include tours with Bob Dylan, Robert PlantTaj Mahal and Sir Tom himself.

Sally’s musical journey has been a long and sometimes tortuous one. In the early 90s she had solo singer/songwriter success in Germany and toured relentlessly. Her 2nd album “This Rhythm Is Mine” received a 4* review from Q Magazine. Her ‘difficult’ 3rd album was less well received than the previous two and, as a founder member of the female folk band the Poozies, Sally diversified, splitting her time between mainland Europe and UK festivals and arts centres.Things became busier when she and her husband had two sons but she continued to record and tour until Sally’s train was derailed by her husband’s cancer diagnosis. By August 2003 Sally was a widow with two small children.

The following years single parenthood took over but Sally managed to complete a degree in Music Technology and continued to tour when possible. By now teenagers, it was her sons Dillon and Ben who persuaded her to apply for ‘The Voice UK’. She became Sir Tom’s finalist on the BBC TV programme in 2014, reducing him, and viewers alike, to tears with her flawless performances.This nationwide exposure thrust Sally back on the road with the Poozies with their ‘Into The Well‘ release and the offer to be part of the re-formed Fotheringay (singing the songs of the legendary Sandy Denny) alongside original members Jerry, Pat Donaldson and Gerry Conway to promote the ‘Nothing More‘ 2015 released box set.

Sally’s solo album ‘Ghost Girl’ was released to coincide with Sally as ‘Special Guest’ on Fairport Convention‘s Winter tour 2017 as they celebrated their 50 years on the road. Warmly received by critics and fans alike, FRoots Magazine said “Sally returns with a classy new solo album full of her matchless singing and exceptional writing couched in contemporary folk, pop,jazz and R&B stylings”.

Also in 2017 Sally released the first of two duo albums. ‘In the Shadow of a Small Mountain (Small Mountain Records) is the fruit of a collaboration between Sally and the US guitar wizard and songwriter Vicki Genfan. Its warm, low-key storytelling sits somewhere between Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and Sandy Denny and is every bit as accomplished as that comparison suggests.’ (James Miller Morning Star Wed 4th October 2017).

In August 2017 Sally met multi-instrumentalists Anna Ryder and Marion Fleetwood at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival and by the following August the debut CD ‘O YEH YEH!‘ by the indie folk trio they formed, IOTA, was released. R&R Magazine said “Three voices that seamlessly combine in rich, fulfilling harmonies with a wealth of instruments to draw upon and create a rich, varied, satisfying sound”.

Iota sparked another formidable exchange between Sally and Anna Ryder and in 2019 they released the duo album ‘When I Wake Up‘. The same year Sally debuted a solo show called ‘Joni, Sandy & Me‘ in which she brings some of the songs of both Joni Mitchell and Sandy Denny to the stage, interspersed with some of her own, to explore the inspirational singer/songwriter legacy that was forged in the 60s and ’70s.