The fragile gossamer vocals of Heidi Talbot will brighten up your winter’s day and her new album Angels Without Wings (Navigator), set for a February 18th release is worth the wait. Since leaving her group Cherish The Ladies we have heard just one album, The Last Star from 2010 but for this new set more collaborations are evident some sharing the spotlight others just happy to be credited but not overpowering. While Jerry Douglas and Mark Knopfler are recorded they are subtly understated whereas Louis Abbot shares vocals on The Loneliest and Tim O’Brien duets on his own Wine And Roses and the traditional When The Roses Come Again (also features Julie Fowlis on the chorus harmonies), Karine Polwart has equal measures on Dearest Johnny and King Creosote becomes a duo on his own Button Up. In addition band member Boo Hewerdine on guitar and John McCusker on fiddle, viola and ukulele feature throughout and Phil Cunningham adds accordion on two tracks to complete a festival of artists within this selection of supreme quality songs which grow on every listen. Her title track is the nearest we get to a gentle swing – well perhaps a waltz with rich gypsy overtones. Heidi will launch the album at Celtic Connections at the end of the month with her guest musicians before embarking on a full UK tour which brings her to Carnegie Hall Dunfermline on March 7th.
After all the hoo-hah surrounding the new David Bowie release how refreshing to see Bryan Ferry announcing a full tour to highlight his 40 years in music and playing some venues he enjoyed with Roxy Music. His orchestral album The Jazz Age (BMG), is a surprising diversion though as it arranges Ferry songs we know for vintage orchestra. Cornet and muted trumpet, trombone and clarinet, banjo and real double bass instrumentation mean Virginia Plain and Love Is The Drug can be unrecognised here. Delightfully packaged with hardback booklet the concept scores on originality and could only be bettered on authentic 78 rpm shellac. Bryan brings band and orchestra to Edinburgh Usher Hall on November 13th.