By the time Gina Horswood stepped out on the Algonquin Theatre stage on May 20, 2016, she was already a seasoned professional—a talented performer and songwriter, blessed with a pure, clear vocal range, capable of stirring the deepest of emotions. Ready to take on the world with her new album Porcelain, Horswood was filled the excitement that only the promise of a life-long dream can instill.
Poised to begin touring extensively throughout Canada and later that summer in her homeland of Australia, Horswood was on the cusp of an exhilarating moment in her career that had taken her most of her lifetime to realize.
Porcelain, produced by the legendary Andre Wahl, is a work of devout, passionate song writing and craftsmanship. The assembled musicians provided a magical backdrop for Horswood’s songs and her soulful vocals. Moreover, Wahl created a formidable soundscape for a trio of background vocalists. Country pop artist Dani Taylor and blues powerhouse Tamica Herod, along with Horswood, gave these songs wings to soar. Their stellar performances are highlights on “Coffee and Gin” and “Porcelain”.
Despite her extensive marketing, touring, and endless interviews, Horswood’s breakthrough did not materialize as hoped. The record, considered an artistic and critical success, failed to connect with a large enough audience to warrant further touring—a massive undertaking financially and logistically. Horswood came home to Huntsville to chart the next stage of her development. Four years later, she has returned with a poignant self portrait entitled Bare Bones, an album of exceptional beauty, grace, and fierce honesty.
Gina Horswood has been in love with singing from her earliest childhood memories in Chinchilla, Australia. In 2006, she released a debut album with her sister, Melanie, Our Way, which introduced the duo to country audiences throughout eastern Australia.
Crazy Brilliant Mess followed in 2009 and “Ordinary Girl” from that collection became a regional hit, introducing Horswood as a solo artist and composer.
Fuelled by the success of her solo work, Horswood gambled all her saved resources and took off to Nashville to pursue every songstress’s ambition. The result of her tenure in the fabled city is an EP, The Nashville Sessions, which showcased “Six Mile Home”, a classic account of tragic events met with strength and resolve. Horswood delivers the melody and storyline with the utmost delicacy—purposely rising triumphant over adversity.
With miles beneath her boots and still searching for her destiny, somehow Horswood ended up with friends that supported her in Huntsville, where her gifts flourished. In the growing music scene in the area, Horswood was a standout and recognized talent, soon working solo shows and much sought as a harmony singer here and in Southern Ontario.
Often, Horswood would perform with her friend, Tamica Herod. Together they were booked solid, playing shows around the regional circuit. Andre Wahl became a close friend and advocate for recording Horswood’s songs.
Wahl is famed for his work with Anne Murray, Duran Duran, Pink Floyd, and Kim Mitchell to name but a few, and has a reputation for launching careers. Their collaboration on Porcelain had the elements of a pivotal moment in Horswood’s ascension in her development—great songs, phenomenal execution by all concerned, and Horswood’s own charming appeal, beauty, wit, and grace. She is a dynamic presence with an inviting smile, which easily wins over anyone she meets and she loves to hang out with friends and fans alike.
In the years that have slipped by since her last release, Horswood has taken the opportunity to address some of the lingering doubts and unresolved tensions she has harbored over a lifetime of chasing music. In an industry fraught with personal pitfalls and defined by an exhaustive workload that leaves even the most stalwart shaken, Horswood found that she too had to deal with the fallout. Financially drained and physically exhausted, she had to confront the realities of her situation. Winters saddened her, loneliness for her family haunted her, and poor habits inhibited her resolve. In the context of her personal struggles, a muse both cathartic and encouraging blessed Horswood’s songwriting. She continued to write and a collection of songs took shape that for the most part she felt were too personal to reveal beyond a select audience.
At Wahl’s insistence, Horswood went into the studio to explore options for future recording. Although the session was initially designed to assess the strength of material she had, Wahl was captivated by the raw purposefulness and vulnerability of the songs that Horswood presented. After recording close to twenty songs, Wahl convince Horswood that these songs could and must stand on their own merit and Horswood was in no way capable of underwriting a larger project.
Bare Bones was born in that session and the album, released September 25, 2020, is a work of exquisite tenderness—an enduring achievement, and insight into the creative thought and perseverance required through difficult times. The ten songs, although deeply personal, connect with a universal clarity we all share. We all seek love, understanding, appreciation, and freedom to walk our own path, pursue our own dreams that fill our hearts with hope yet somehow support a common good. Bare Bones is statement of matchless beauty by an artist rediscovering the scope of her talent and the depth of her gift. We find that some of what really matters is right here in front of us, no matter how hard the challenge might be.
Let love rain on these streets,
Let the fear fueled fire disappear,
We’re all but gone except for smoke and soul
Lay your weapons down, let’s go home.
Oh we’re all but gone except for smoke and soul
Lay your weapons down, let’s go home
From “Let’s Go Home” © Gina Horswood 2020
Learn more at ginahorswood.com.
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