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Track review: Izzie Yardley – I’m Still Here

We live at a time when there’s probably more music being made and released in the UK every six months than there was in the entirety of the 1970s. Don’t worry though, this is not a post about “the good old days when music was real” or anything like that, but listening to Izzie Yardley’s stunning new single I’m Still Here did get me thinking about music in a broader sense. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that’s made just to soundtrack things that happen in your daily life; music to get you around your 10k in a new personal best time, music to have on in the background when you’re looking for a new pair of shoes, music to play non-stop when you’re frantically trying to calm your baby and the only thing he’ll listen to is Jack Johnson(!) – the list is exhaustive. Anyway, there’s that and then there’s music that you put on that stops you in your tracks. Stuff that makes you listen, and feel, and think. Stuff that’s extraordinary. I’m Still Here falls into the latter category.

Beginning with a rich, earthy, and warm acoustic guitar and a vocal so direct that Yardley might as well be sitting next to you, the song slowly unwinds at its own pace. As I mentioned above, it’s the kind of recording that halts time and pulls you into its own distinct orbit. Up until a minute and a half into the track it’s just vocal and guitar, before the beautifully scored string arrangement enters the mix. In the press release accompanying the track, Izzie talks about wanting to capture a sense of closeness, and here it’s achieved by building the track up from a sparse live take (originally intended as a demo) with minimal reverb and compression used on her vocal. It’s an extraordinarily nuanced performance too; full of tenderness and restraint. The same can be said for each instrument in the mix playing their part and gradually moving the song on to its emotional peak before unraveling to leave just Yardley and guitar. As an aside, I particularly love the sense of life that comes across in the absence of unnecessary embellishments and how, if you listen very closely at the beginning of the track, you can make out the sound of distant voices in the background as the guitar plays. It’s a very intimate, comforting experience.

Having already received support from the likes of Chris Difford, BBC Introducing, and Fresh on the Net, it should come as no surprise that I’m Still Here is such a confident and accomplished piece of work. I’ve seen those dreaded two words – Nick Drake – written down too, both as an influence as well as a comparison. For most people that’s just being set up to fail, but in the case of Izzie Yardley you can 100% see a similarity in the way that her playing is not only a means of accompaniment – but rather an actual voice working alongside her own.

Inspired by, written, and recorded over the lockdown period, Yardley states how she realised that the track was dealing more widely with the feelings of loss we encounter throughout life:

“I find talking about grief – expressing our pain and understanding it – can help us pull through it and feel hope. Shit happens, it hurts, but you will be ok and you are not alone. I lost my grandfather back in February and a very dear family friend passed away at the end of July (actually just 2 days after this track was finished), so peculiarly the music is really echoing life at the moment. If I can offer my comfort to others I want to.”

I was struck by the last line there. Weirdly, listening to I’m Still Here for the first time clearly brought to mind the image of sitting beside an open fire, completely content. Listening through again yesterday I realised that it wasn’t just any image, but it was actually a memory of a time my wife and I spent a weekend staying in a little shepherd’s hut on a farm shortly after we first met. We were in the middle of nowhere, underneath a sky loaded with thousands upon thousands of stars, and I was tending to the firepit while she was nearby (but not near enough at the time) making mac ‘n’ cheese in a rickety old barn. Anyway, that was long before our lives became complicated (and blessed) with endless paediatric appointments, nappies, and fortunes spent on cute tiny shoes that won’t last very long. I guess what I’m saying is that I miss those simpler times, and that this piece of music reminded me of that, and made me reflect on how now isn’t too bad either. Art has the power to do that, and that’s what this is.

You can find Izzie Yardley on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

* This track was discovered via Musosoup. A small fee was paid in exchange for publication. See ‘About / Contact’ page for more details.

3 thoughts on “Track review: Izzie Yardley – I’m Still Here

  1. Thank you for writing such a beautiful and relatable review for I’m Still Here. I always wonder how other people will receive Izzie’s music. I’m so proud of my little sister. And having recently entered the world of tiny shoes and nappies, I too sometimes long for those simpler times, and your review strikes a perfect chord! (Pun intended).


  2. Hi Abigail,
    Thanks so much for commenting, that’s really lovely to read! I’m glad that it resonated with you too. I often feel as though I’m shouting into a void writing these, so that’s really cool. 🙂



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