It seems to be turning into a weekend about women and the sea.
Listening to Emily Barker's wonderful new album 'Almanac' got
me thinking about Grace Griffith's 2010 album 'Sailing'.
They are quite different creatures in many ways but what connects
them (at least in my mind's ear) is a clarity of purpose in their
writing and in their ability to tell a good story well.
Ms Griffith's sound-world springs from the warm heart of the
American folk tradition (the spirits of Joni Mitchell and
Joan Baez sometimes watch quiety over her shoulder) in these
eleven well-crafted compositions but there is also a golden
seam of something essentially her own evident in songs of
lean, winsome beauty such as 'My Life'; a cracking tune and
whistful words brought beautifully to life by Ms Griffith's
velvety vocal tones. She really does have a lovely voice.
In 'Ripples In The Rockpools/Kiss Of The Fiddle', however, she
gets fully in touch with her inner-Celt. Brimming over with
magical harmonies she turns the bones of a rough and ready
shanty into a blissfully evocative seafaring rhapsody.
'Carry You' could quite possibly make you cry if you let it.
'The Cuckoo', on the other hand, might just make you dance!
It is these variations in texture and mood which makes the
album so special. Our attention is never allowed to lapse.
The final acapella number 'The Last Leviathan' brings the
album to an evocative and deeply affecting conclusion.
A song of pain and anger for what has been lost in the world.
Ms Griffiths has her eye set on the far horizon.
It is more than worth making the journey with her.