Monday, 10 June 2013

Eliza Carthy - 'Wayward Daughter'

Festivals of all kinds can be a great way of discovering new art. I have a lot to thank the Patti Smith curated Meltdown festival in 2005 for. She introduced me to the punk cabaret ragamuffins that are The Dresden Dolls. She also introduced me to Eliza Carthy. I was sort of vaguely aware of Eliza but had never paid any attention and then Patti put her on stage right in front of me and she opened her mouth to sing and I was entrapped. Since then I have bought records and seen her play live and her latest record is 'Wayward Daughter'.

'Wayward Daughter' is a new 'best of' of Eliza's work over the last couple of decades to coincide with the publication of a new biography of her under the same name. Interestingly, it's a collection of her vocal work with a wide variety of artists including her family and a range of bands she's worked with. She hints at another collection of her as a musician in the liner notes.

If there's something Eliza more than adequately demonstrates on this record it is that she's not afraid of genre. Moving from the 'pure' folk of Waterson:Carthy to the Latin beats of Salsa Celtica to the fusion of styles of The Imagined Village and her own solo work. The record moves easily from the synth-laden 'Space Girl' to the voice, fiddle and horn of 'May Song'. All unified by the power and purity of her voice. It's that voice that does it for me.

As the scion of the Carthy and Waterson folk dynasties you'd think she had it made but she's done it all on her own terms. She works with her dad in The Imagined Village collective and she released a record with her mam a few years ago, just the two of them singing stripped back songs.

Give it a listen and enjoy that voice, if only as a change from the auto tuned voices we hear all the time. This is real singing.

No comments: