Heidi Talbot’s fifth solo LP plays to the tune of quiet skips and giant leaps. It crosses the ages, jumps into the unknown, traverses oceans and musical styles – from folk, through Americana, to classic pop, and back again. The Co Kildare singer / songwriter, who now resides in Scotland with her musical partner and husband John McCusker, is joined by a host of musicians and co-writers on the album, including Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow), Duke Special, Adam Holmes and Boo Hewerdine.
Talbot was born in Co. Kildare in Ireland. She grew up in a musical household, and began singing as a child in the church choir her mother played organ and sang for. After finishing school, she spent time in New York, where she joined the Irish-American supergroup Cherish The Ladies. Her solo 2008 breakthrough In Love And Light won her international acclaim, including a US Indie Acoustic Award which signalled her music’s crossover appeal. Collaborations with Eddi Reader, Idlewild and Drever, McCusker & Woomble followed, along with multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk award nominations.
The new album revels in the comforting, and restorative, powers of music: it’s never maudlin or overly dark. “The album was written over a couple of years,” Talbot says. “I stopped touring, stopped recording, took some time after having another baby, and sorted everything out in my head a little bit.” And although it was recorded in just 10 days – “it’s the quickest album I’ve ever made,” she offers – it’s a measured and unhurried long-player which reflects on birth, and death, and getting older, from gorgeous country-pop meditation ‘The Year That I Was Born’ (co-written with Louis Abbott), through downtime bluegrass psalm ‘Do You Ever Think Of Me’, to exquisite mortal jig ‘Time To Rest’, written by Adam Holmes. ‘Song For Rose (Will You Remember Me)’ is not sorrowful, but rather gently uplifting. It ends on a lullaby, with a child’s voice: a celebration of familial birth, and re-birth. “That’s my little girl singing at the end,” Talbot offers. “When we played her it back she was like – I can’t hear me! Turn me up!”
This sense of family and home is reinforced by the album having been recorded in Talbot and McCusker’s self-built studio, housed in a converted eighteenth-century bothy next to where they live in the Scottish Borders. “Recording the album in our own studio was amazing,” Talbot says. “You’re in your own environment, you’re comfortable, you’ve got all the time you need, and the kids can come over. It feels like everyone can be a part of it.”
“What an impressive record this is. Very highly recommended.”
“A voice that’s both awestruck and tender”
– The New York Times
“Talbot is primed and ready for crossover success.”
– Colin Irwin, Daily Telegraph
“An engaging and impressive record.”
– Robin Denselow, The Guardian