John Murray on Eddi Reader’s stunning new album
With brushes on a snare drum, upright bass and sweeping waltz like rhythms you could be mistaken for the opening track on this new album – it must be Madeline Peyrou or Caro Emerald but no. This is a welcome return for Scottish sweetheart Eddi Reader. ‘I’ll Never Be The Same’ was the opening from a vintage 1932 lyric by Gus Kahn and what a joy it is leading nicely into accordion led but strings enhanced ‘Back The Dogs’ and we are off. Eddi has that rare quality in her voice that sweeps you to her place and Vagabond (Reveal), is her story helped by stories and memories and hosted by her long term collaborators like Boo Hewerdine who shares some writing and some vocals. Recorded during the Celtic Connections, it seems they all had a swell time, intimate while being simplistic at the same time. Even the introduction of a clarinet break on the lullaby ‘Baby’s Boat’ fits in well and on Macushla written by legend Michael Marra it begs a sing-along in waltz tempo. Phil Cunningham on piano and accordion adds the atmosphere to ‘Midnight In Paris 1979’ a song with a charming tale remembered lovingly by Eddi on her inlay notes from a time that changed her life. The O’s must be Scotland’s favourite Texas duo. Multi instrumentalists and purveyors of good times they are constantly playing over here and have now signed to Glasgow’s Electric Honey Records. The first album for the label called Thunderdog came out last month, recorded at the legendary Sonic Ranch Studio in Texas it typifies the jug band appeal that wins over new fans with their alternative folk country flavoured rock. The boys are at the Hydro on January 24 where they support Del Amitri and January 25th at The Arches.