There’s a sense of defiance to Hannah Acfield’s new record, her debut solo long-player, No Light Without Shade. There’s a sense of power, of fluidity, of almost endless space.
Above all though, there’s a sense of freedom, like Acfield, these days based in Melbourne, has found what it is she needs to properly feel alive.
It’s an album which sees her move well beyond the folk demesne that defined her early career, and into a new world, one in which she exhibits total control, one where her writing and her voice combine to create something powerful, fluid, spacious.
“I’d just found that pure folk wasn’t enough for me,” she says on making the decision to temporarily part musical ways with her brother and their long-running folk duo, The Acfields, in order to make this album. “I wanted to use my voice, I really wanted to use my voice to its full capacity; I felt people in the folk world didn’t really know the extent of what I could do.”
No Light Without Shade is the vehicle then, with which Acfield is able to showcase this voice – a voice that resonates across the record, boldly powerful and confident, rich with emotion, able to punch when needed, pull back when a softer touch is required.
The record translates into the live arena too, Acfield a seasoned, warm and engaging performer, able to charm audiences with this voice, with her songs, her very presence on stage.
This is, for Hannah Acfield, a new phase of her musical life, the importance of which cannot be underestimated; No Light Without Shade sets her talent free.
“Truly wonderful songwriting” – Larry Heath, The AU Review
“Extraordinary voice” – John O’Brien, The Courier Mail
★★★★★ – City Hub Sydney