The Small Change Diaries, based in Leeds, are an alternative acoustic ensemble, whose music is a fusion of acoustic, folk, blues, and gospel-style arrangements – accompanied by politically challenging lyrics.
Their EP, ‘Protest Songs’, is the follow up to 2015’s debut album, ‘Adam Blames Eve’. The four songs, starting with ‘Not One Of Us’, are upbeat and cheery sounding on the surface – but the light heartedness – which comes about because of the prominent use of ukuleles – covers up for the deep, sometimes dark lyrics.
‘Big Tony’, song two, is the perfect example of this. It’s sung in a bluesy, even swing style, but the lyrics tell the tale of a gangster, the “Big Tony” of the song, who commits a variety of crimes, bringing with him a feeling of fear and despair when he comes into town, “with all his crew”.
The Small Change Diaries comprise Jessica Bowie, Nick Cody, Adrian Knowles, and Richard Ferdinando. Their album, ‘Adam Blames Eve’, had selected tracks featured on BBC Introducing. The band draws their inspiration from current events, with the belief that more needs to be said about what really matters. ‘Commons Sense’ on the surface seems to a simple folk song – but when were folk songs ever simple – it’s a song about government, and with the beautiful vocals of Jessica Bowie, asks if the representatives of the people actually do that. It’s striking and disturbing and moving, a protest song reminiscent of those of Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joan Baez, or Joni Mitchell.
The Small Change Diaries plan to release their second album next year, and have a number of live gigs lined up for the summer. You can find out more information from their Facebook page, Twitter, and their official website. Also be sure to check out Nicky Cody’s YouTube page.
‘Protest Songs’ was released on May 18.
You can download ‘Adam Blames Eve’ from the band’s Bandcamp site.