Heidi Talbot has added to her growing reputation with another fine recording. This is a more focussed album than In Love and Light (which had a number of styles running through) and is unashamedly folk from beginning to end. She possesses three main advantages; an unusual voice, excellent song selection, and she happens to be married to John MacCusker who is a superb record producer.
Her main forte seems to be wistful, low-key songs like "Hang Me" and the title track where she sounds not unlike Kate Rusby and Cara Dillon however the accent is different from Rusby and she doesn't make as much use of trills as Dillon. There are some fine up-tempo numbers to counter-balance these like "Sally Brown" and "Bleeker Street".
I would question her decision to do 2 Battlefield Band songs (MacCusker's former group) they're both brilliant (Shepherd Boy and Starting All Over) but she's asking for direct comparison wth Karine Polwart and even though Talbot has a better recorded sound I still prefer Polwart's singing.
"Willie Taylor" is a song with many alternative versions. This one leaves out the chorus but still works very well and is an ideal opener.I must admit to loving the second track "Tell Me Truly" which is a simple waltz with a catchy chorus that builds with extra voices and I can't help singing along myself.
There isn't a weak song on the album but for me she sings too many songs in the same range and style which can get a bit tiresome. Her voice hints at a husky or hoarse edge but sounds smoother on this recording than I've heard in her live shows. Also the albums closing two tracks are just too similar to what's gone before to leave any sort of wow factor.
The backing musicians are a who's who of the folk scene and help add further sheen to what is a very strong release. Talbot is not far from being the next big thing on the British and Irish folk scene, and her next album may well be a career - defining work. This album is well worth your time (and money!)