Irish singer Brigid Mae Power’s third Album, ‘Head Above The Water’ is a rare and effortless modern take on traditional folk.
There is something so natural and pure about Power’s voice. Each song is tinted with a contemporary element of ornamented singing, her voice enriched with decoration and embellishments as she chants melodically over the piano and guitar accompaniment.
Power recorded the album over three days in Glasgow. Both her husband, Peter Broderick and Scottish folk singer Alasdair Roberts co-produced the album with her. Roberts’ vocal harmony eloquently complements her voice in a striking rendition of the traditional English ballad, The Blacksmith.
They are joined on the album by a small group of musicians broadening the texture of the work with the addition of flutes and bouzoukis.
In Wearing Red That Eve, the melodic piano-line caresses her delicate voice, as she swells and amplifies her vocal range. We hear the jazzy brush of the snare, as she remembers her own elemental courage in New York long ago, when a group of men were shouting profanities at her in the street; “my strength that came next, even frightened me.”
Her primordial strength is heard as her voice ascends joyfully above the mountains she adores. “From those Mountains I draw something deep…in my mind I climb them under the burning sun.”
As the song closes, her soaring voice is shadowed by the fiddle and gentle piano chords while she expresses her love for those around her. “Feeling love for everything and everyone.”
There is a somewhat lamentable tone throughout the album which seems to always resolve itself. Power has previously spoken about being a single mother and being involved in past abusive relationships. In Head Above the Water, Power is forgetting her past and looking to the future. “Looking across to the short, I wish you look with your losses from before.”
She is finding ease in times of desperation, and joy in the trials of everyday life. Her words are honest, and there is poetry in her truth. Her haunting voice carries us with her, as it flows through each song. Emotion and anguish cementing every crevice and crack as she meanders gracefully through the path of life.
Head Above The Water’s ten songs are a clear and unique expression of her experiences and when she is lost for words, her voice echoes that which can only be expressed through music.