Billie Marten’s rise to folk-pop distinction has been at the hands of YouTube performances gone viral; aged just 12-years old, her talent attracted thousands of views and, within a typically short period of time she was touted as the next folk prodigy. Three years later she released her first EP, a year after that her second. Buoyed by an prolific wave of creativity and a lucrative record deal in 2015, she continues to court critical attention for her intimate combination of Joni Mitchell-esque vocals and no-frills approach to guitar playing (the kind of guitar playing where you can hear the fret changes). Organic, soothing and swooning stuff.
Here, she returns with Milk & Honey, a track which deals in equal parts melancholy and dreamy contentedness. Her vocals are delivered subtly and within a breaths distance from the eardrum, as if she’s right there next to you. This kind of intimacy has been favoured by the likes of Laura Marling with chart-bothering popularity, and it looks as if Marten is destined for similar glories.
It’s a song about “the greed of people, the thoughts that we’re all stuck in this consumerist frame of mind”. The young singer-songwriter achieves this without being preachy or displaying any sense of faux-revolutionary agenda; it’s a sincere and heartfelt yearning for a simpler time. Folk has a strong history of expressing this sentiment, just listen to Nick Drake to see how to handle nostalgia tastefully, without over-sentimentalising it.
With an old head on young shoulders, we’ve every confidence that Billie Marten can handle the weight of critical acclaim and stardom; she’s already weathered the fickle ravages of YouTube, using it to propel her meteoric rise from Ripon, North Yorkshire, to wherever her talents may take her.