Wednesday 31 January 2024

Day 31: Josienne Clarke – Onliness (songs of solitude & singularity)


Today’s disc (the last in this month’s series of 31 albums and 12-inch singles) is the 2023 album Onliness (songs of solitude & singularity) by Josienne Clarke. It is a grey vinyl album and the most recent record in this series. I barely buy vinyl now but I am a big fan of this musician/singer/songwriter so I made an exception. I bought my copy on Bandcamp, I think, and you can too (vinyl, CD or just digital – go here). Here is a taste of the album, her song The Birds, which appears both on Onliness and on an acoustic selection of six tracks released later in 2023 as only me onliness:



I have written about Clarke on this blog before. In 2021, for a series of pieces about individual songs, I interviewed her about her song Done (read that interview here). Done, which is a magnificent song, makes an appearance on Onliness too in a lovely new version that I now love even more than the earlier recording. Here is that new version:



Clarke is, for me, an artist in the fullest sense of the word – she has an individual voice and a really specific way with words and sounds that gets things just right. The album starts gently, builds to some heights and big tunes (country anthem, anyone? Try Homemade Heartache) and then winds back down to a delicate close. I could keep posting tracks all week because every song is a hit waiting to be found, each one holding nuggets of truth. Have a listen to Chicago on the album, for example, and hear what she did with a crap experience a few years back – made it into pure gold.

Clarke has devoted fans but I do wish more people appreciated this brilliant artist. She said in the interview in 2021 “I’m only ever doing ‘one person hears it and recommends it to someone else’, that’s just how my career goes. It’s a slow burn.” Well, I’m doing my bit, I’m recommending again, and again, and again. Support individual artists, support creativity, support talent. Here’s another lovely piece of work from Onliness (the last track on the album):



So that’s me (and us) at the end of another series of posts about life and music (intro post for this months series here). We started on 1 January with The Wombles and have taken in a good sprinkling of genres along the way. Will I keep all these records as long as I’m here on this earth? Or will I send one or two on their way to go and live with someone else? I’m no closer to that kind of decision but I have enjoyed working out why I’ve kept these particular discs and donated or sold others. 


I don’t know about you but here it’s been another long January full of new years, birthdays, nightshifts and memories (am I obsessed with memories? Maybe...). Every January (on about 22nd) I say “I’m never doing this again” (a blog series). I mean, who’s reading, who cares? And then I think of something else I want to write about and off we go. Self-expression does help, somehow and in some way. It’s not everything but it’s worth a go.


Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I’ll leave you with a poem about life and music that I wrote a few years back that is in my wee book Turn. 




You get to a milestone; 

You look around, take stock. 

Maybe you sit down, 

Have a drink of something, 

Maybe with friends, 

Maybe not. 


You review the route so far, 

What’s loved, learned, lost. 

There is a soundtrack, 

You recall some of it. 

Maybe the greatest hits, 

Maybe not. 



Anonymous said...

God I love that poem today. And now I’m off to check out the JC Chicago track … big love for your beautiful writing xx

Anonymous said...

and Spotify tells me she’s playing Bath on 7 March

Rachel Fox said...

You should go!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for brightening another January

Danish dog said...

This is an outrageously brilliant album. Thanks for drawing it to my attention.

Best Duncan

Rachel Fox said...

It is great, isn't it? So glad to share the news 😊