PJ Harvey – live at Peel Acres – May 20, 2004 – John Peel – BBC Radio 1 –
PJ Harvey to start the week. A session she recorded at the fabled Peel Acres on May 20, 2004 and broadcast over BBC Radio 1.
Without question, one of the truly unique artists to come along in quite a while – a distinctive presence and a lyrical urgency that drives her performances with laser-like precision. There is nothing ambiguous about the music of PJ Harvey; her words, her voice, her instruments – they are all elements that conspire to create a perfect storm of emotion and execution.
A few words on PJ Harvey via her bio:
From the outset of her career, the work of PJ Harvey has commanded attention. She formed the eponymous bass/drums/guitar trio in 1991 in Dorset, England and by the autumn had released the debut single ‘Dress’ on independent label Too Pure. Dry, released the following month was hailed as an astonishing debut album, not just in the UK but worldwide and particularly in the United States, where Rolling Stone magazine named Harvey ‘Best Songwriter’ and ‘Best New Female Singer’ of 1992.
In 1993, PJ Harvey signed to Island Records and released her second album Rid Of Me. The album, supported by a lengthy world tour which drew increasingly wide audiences, garnered Harvey her first Mercury Music Prize nomination. The original trio dissolved and Harvey’s solo work ‘4-Track Demos’ was released in the autumn of 1993. To Bring You My Love, an eclectic and starkly original album, followed in 1995, and was accompanied by a tour that saw Harvey explore a more theatrical edge to her live performance. She received her second Mercury Music Prize nomination, two Grammy Award nominations, and ‘Artist of the Year’ Awards from both Rolling Stone and Spin.
Her fourth album Is This Desire?, released in September 1998, attracted plaudits globally gaining several BRIT and Grammy Award nominations. The much anticipated follow up, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, was released in October 2000 and went on to win Harvey’s first Mercury Music Prize. ‘Stories…’ was supported by a sold-out worldwide tour. After a summer of live dates, including the first rock concert to be held at London’s Tate Modern gallery, Harvey finished work on her next album Uh Huh Her. The supporting tour saw Harvey perform to sold out rooms in South America for the first time. White Chalk was PJ Harvey’s critically-acclaimed seventh studio album, which marked a departure for Harvey as it was composed almost entirely on piano. It was supported by a string of notable solo performances including Manchester International Festival, The Royal Festival Hall, the Hay-On-Wye Festival of Literature, the New Yorker Festival, Sydney Opera House and a performance at Copenhagen Opera House for the Crown Prince couple.
Harvey began collaborating on visual projects with respected photojournalist Seamus Murphy in 2011. Murphy, an award-winning photographer, has spent over two decades documenting the world through his lens. His work has taken him to Rwanda, Eritrea, Kosovo, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. ‘Let England Shake: 12 Short Films By Seamus Murphy’ served as a visual accompaniment to the album, with each track having its own short film.
PJ Harvey has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including Thom Yorke, Nick Cave, Tricky, Björk, Hal Wilner, Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, Pascal Comelade, Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes, and Sparklehorse. She joined Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) on his critically acclaimed ‘Desert Sessions’ project  and worked with Mark Lanegan on his solo album, ‘Bubblegum’. Harvey produced the debut album by American artist Tiffany Anders and also wrote, recorded & produced material for Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Before The Poison’ .
She gave her debut public poetry reading at the British Library, and was a guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme in December 2013. Harvey was also awarded an MBE for services to music. In 2014 she was awarded an Honorary Degree in Music by Goldsmiths University.
PJ Harvey’s first collection of poetry titled The Hollow of the Hand, in collaboration with photographer Seamus Murphy, was published by Bloomsbury UK in October 2015. To celebrate the release Harvey and Murphy presented The Hollow of the Hand show – an evening of poems, new songs, images and conversation – two sold out nights at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of the London Literature Festival 2015.
Certainly a very full and committed life which shows no signs of letting up.
To get an idea of what she was up to in 2004, here is that Peel session, recorded at Peel Acres in May of 2004.