Eddi ReaderCurrently in the middle of an extensive Irish tour, Eddi Reader’s new album ‘Vagabond’ has just been released, and is a nice European sounding addition to her canon.

I’ll Never be the Same Again is a catchy waltz-time opening, full of brush drums and gentle backing, a great start.  Immediately apparent is that her voice is in good nick.  Now in her mid 50s if anything her vocal work has just got slightly richer over the years.

Reading the album credits, there seem to be about 50 instruments listed and over a dozen musicians.  However, you don’t particularly notice them all when listening to the album – the producer has created a very subtle wall of sound, where nothing stands out particularly, just a beautiful flow of music streaming out of the headphones, so this is definitely not a criticism.

If forced to pick one, the most prominent instrument is probably the accordion, never more so than on Midnight in Paris, where it sits on top of a saxophone, which are not a pair of instruments you would imagine necessarily work well together.  This is perhaps the most evocative song on the album, with some French-language singing and lyrics that refer to the days when the likes of Sidney Bechet plied their jazz there.

As mentioned, the album is quite European sounding, but  Scottish and Irish influences are also evident in songs like Macushla (My Darling) and Buain Na Rainich.  The set also takes in lyric ballads and rockier numbers like the jazzy Baby’s Boat and the piano led Here Comes the Bells, and she closes things out with the gentle It’s a Beautiful Night.

It all works very well.  No doubt it won’t sell millions, but it’s good to see artists like Eddi still out there making such strong music nearly 25 years after she split up Fairground Attraction.  Definitely worth the purchase!