Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

May Shows Heart and Soul; ALAN NICHOL Has the Lastest News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

May Shows Heart and Soul; ALAN NICHOL Has the Lastest News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN NICHOL

IMELDA May arrives on Tyneside today in Sage Gateshead's Hall 1 in the middle of a huge tour in support of her very impressive new album, Life Love Flesh Blood.

She could have added "soul" to that titular list because the album has it in abundance.

The Dublin-born singer (she plays guitar, bodhran, and bass, too) has certainly experienced some of life's highs and lows in the last five years.

The birth of her daughter in 2012 was followed by the break-up of her 13-year marriage, an ordeal that was compounded by the fact her husband was also the guitarist in her band.

It is no surprise evidence of the marital split can be found on the new album, her fifth, but despite that, the album - recorded in Los Angeles - oozes class across a range of material inlcuding some autobiographical reflection such as The Girl I Used To Be.

It also leaves behind the retrorockabilly sound and her former self - slicked blonde quiff fetchingly replaced by a more natural dark fringe perhaps more reminiscent of 60s-era Ronettes.

The album is classy not only because of May's effortlessly passionate vocals but guests like Jeff Beck (on Black Tears) and Jools Holland (When It's My Time) join a razor-sharp studiocrew that includes Marc Ribot, T Bone Burnett (who also produces), Dennis Crouch, Jay Bellerose and more.

Patently, the band was assembled for the album but Imelda has put together her biggest touring band yet and retains bassist Al Gare, Steve Rushton (drums) and Dave Priseman (trumpet, percussion, guitar) from her Thea old band plus ex-session guitarist, Oliver Darling among a top-notch line-up.

The pundits and the punters like the make-over, too, judging by the album reviews and the fact it has achieved top-five chart status in the UK and Ireland.

It is sure to do well further afield, especially as her current tour takes in Belfast and Dublin as well as mainland Europe and the USA where she will team up with Elvis Costello for some shows. …

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