Taken from “Beech”, debut album by Elk, out June 21st via Bad Elephant.
Elk is 21 year old Leeds based multi-instrumentalist Joey Donnelly, whose brooding and beguiling work on debut album Beech marries up the sound of Daudi Matsiko, Florist and Talons’ with the lyrical depth of Phoebe Bridgers.
“I love how dark and honest her lyrics are at times,” says Joey of Bridger’s writing, “and I tried to use that whilst writing the Elk songs.”
Working with brother Mikey in his band Miles, Joey began writing the music that would become Elk. Mikey did what all good big brothers do and kicked Joey out of the band.
“He made me do my own stuff, so he’s to thank for Elk. I’ve learnt a lot from him over the years about song-writing and just being a good person.”
Family is embedded in Elk. The 7 songs that make up Beech were written and recorded at the family home in York, over a 6-month period.
“I’d write the songs in Leeds and go home and record them with my brother Mikey,” with Joey handling everything except drums and some backing vocals.
Like a family, the songs envelope you in a trusting warmth; Joey lays himself bare, as his honest songs slowly welcome and wash over you.
The songs are a personal reflection on relationships, loss and growth, all told with the openness of family.
“We used to move around a lot when I was younger and the first place we stayed in for a long time was on Beech Avenue, which is the name of the album and [a] song, as it was pretty important to me”
“We moved out of the house and rented it for a few years, but before we sold it we all stayed for one last night. We stayed up all night, drank and ate Chinese food and reminisced about the time that had passed.”
Live Elk performs as a 2 piece with Mikey Donnelly joining Joey on keys, samples, glockenspiel and backing vocals. The show is a captivating glimpse of Joey laid open on stage.