WHEN Mercury prizewinners Elbow toured America, they chose a hugely talented but unknown American singer-songwriter to support them on their arduous trek across the United States.

Now Jesca Hoop has followed them to Manchester……and it’s a musical marriage made in heaven.

“I think Elbow write from a heart-centred place and so do I,” said Hoop.

“They have a love of words, it’s not hard to fall in love with Elbow.

“There were people who had bought my record, but Guy Garvey (Elbow lead singer) was the first to lend a hand and tell people in the UK about my music.”

Hoop admits she is still adjusting to Mancunian ways, having moved here from her native Los Angeles five years ago.

“I’m always curious about how the house or surrounding area will influence my songs and Manchester has massively,” she said.

“I know that atmosphere affects your writing.

“I’ve come from LA, and because the sun shines all the time, you don’t feel the passage of time as much as you do here with the different weather, especially in an English winter.

“But I do think that candle light, with rain outside, is one of my ideal settings for writing.”

Hoop returns to the Ribble Valley this month, headlining The End Of The Line concert, run in collaboration with Blackburn College and also featuring By The Sea and Bird.

“I love that part of Lancashire.

“I played Cloudspotting in July, and there’s something a bit magical about it, a really nice vibe,” she added.

Hoop was born in South Carolina into a large, musical Mormon household.

After her parents’ marriage broke-up, she spent several years on the road in America, ending up as a live-in nanny to the three children of rock legend Tom Waits, who described her music as ‘like swimming in a lake at night.’

So what inspires her to craft such beautiful songs?

“I like to write about things that cause me to feel, things that stir my curiosity,” she said.

“I collect ideas everywhere that I travel and then I compile the ideas and form them into songs at home.

“I go for three or four days without talking to anyone.

“I walk around the house moving from writing room to wine glass to teapot and get very insular and internal.

“When I start writing there is a brooding storm and I get under a thick canopy of cloud and then, eventually the storm clouds break and I am able to write.”

There are intensely personal subjects too, like on her album The House That Jack Built, where she battles with the death of her father.

“I’m quite transparent with my songwriting,” added Hoop.

“He was a beautiful man, very heartfelt and a good listener but struggled to live his own life.

“The songs about him were especially easy to write but especially hard to sing.

‘But it is an experience shared by millions of people who watch their parents live through the end of their lives.”

Jesca Hoop, By The Sea, Bird, Dj Woody, are at Clitheroe Grand Theatre, on Saturday, September 21.

Tickets cost £10 and £6.

Box office 01200 421599.