Rooting around in a dusty corner of The Wolfcave Heather Small's 2000
solo debut album 'Proud' jumped out of a pile of CDs which hadn't seen
the light of day for more than a little while. Listening to it once more
for the first time in almost a decade was like meeting an old friend again.
Taking time out from M People Ms Small delivered some of the finest recorded
performances of her career in these twelve cracking songs. What a voice! Solid
as a rock, warm, expressive, powerful and capable of making the hair stand up
on the back of your neck. The first three tracks : 'Proud', 'Holding On' and
'Wherever The Road Goes' are among the finest pop anthems which the noughties
had to offer. The soulful torchsong 'Ease Your Troubled Mind', too, burns with
beautifully articulated emotion; 'Garden Of Eden' sports some rich gospel
backing vocals and a wonderfully sinuous string arrangement and final track
'What Do I Have' brings the set to a superlatively uplifting conclusion.
Ms Small's 2006 release 'Close To A Miracle' has more than a few highlights
too but 'Proud' remains her most memorable achievement by a long country mile.