RELEASE: An Education EP – Nicky Schrire

An Education EP - by Nicky Schrire

Words by Ed King

Nicky Schrire plays at Cherry Reds on John Bright Street, on Sunday 14th June – as presented by Best Seat Sessions. For direct gig & venue info, visit

When an established artist decides to jump from one genre to another there are usually some questions, trepidation, and a leap or two of faith.

But Nicky Schrire’s move from Jazz to Folk is not as strange as it sounds; her previous release in 2014, the six track To the Spring EP, was as close to Folk as a Jazz record can be – with arguably the solos and accompaniment drawing the clear line of distinction.

And as the woman at the centre of the decision says, “I love the improvisational nature of the music (Jazz) and the sense of community. But it’s difficult, it’s a very politically charged genre; I wanted to experience something different. It’s supposed to be more about how that makes you feel, how would that make a listener feel?”

An Education EP was recorded on home turf, Cape Town, and with Schrire’s childhood friend, Ariella Caira – with the promoting tour’s denouement bringing all familiar facets together, on stage at the Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Festival in August. It’s new(ish) ground, and the approach to writing and recording was “very relaxed” – delivering the five track EP in limited studio time.

The opening track, ‘The Water’, is a cap doff to traditional Folk – further squeezing the words ‘find him’, ‘morning sun’ and ‘gassy bed’ into the first 30secs. But it’s the titular second track that brings Schrire’s new direction firmly into its own; ‘An Education’ delivers a sly description of the move from the ‘looks that tell her how to play’ and ‘Coltrane lips’ of her Manhattan classroom into when ‘life lessons came long after college.’ Honest, witty, simple. Wild Sound Recordings

‘Quilt’ returns us to a more traditional approach, with Ariella Caira’s accompaniment beautifully introducing the EP’s mid way marker – and reminding this listener of the later parts of Kristin Hersh’s solo portfolio.

Then ‘Everybody’s Crying’ hits back with a lyrical shake down of those who ‘like to be remarkable’ but, of course, are not – as reminded by the ‘keepers of the gate’ of critical reception. Akin to the title track, this is exciting stuff.

An Education EP closes with the more soft and tempered ‘We Don’t Live Here Anymore’; the final track combining qualities of its predecessors, including a chorus that wouldn’t be a bad shape of songs to come.

As Folk EPs go, An Education certainly holds its own – albeit with some song structure resting too easily on repetition. But the shining moments (outside Ariella Caira’s mournful Vs mellifluous cello) are also in the lyrics; when Nicky Schrire has something to say, she is on superior form. In around three minutes or under, this singing storyteller can make you laugh, wince, and point fingers at your address book.

And after listening to it a few times, especially in context to her previous recordings, it no longer feels like such a chasm between one genre and the other – more the landing in a place Nicky Schrire could always have stood.

I could always be wrong, I’m neither a Jazz pedant nor Folk devotee; time and an album will no doubt tell.

Nicky Schrire releases An Education EP through Wild Sound Recordings on Monday 15th June. For more on Nicky Schrire, including online purchase points, visit

For more on Wild Sound Recordings, visit

Nicky Schrire plays at Cherry Reds on John Bright Street, on Sunday 14th June – as presented by Best Seat Sessions. For direct gig & venue info, visit


For more from Cherry Reds, including both the York Road & John Bright Street venues, visit

For more on Best Seat Sessions, visit