Describing Claire's voice in words is almost impossible. Try to imagine Jess Glynne with something deeper, richer and more soulful. Wrapped in the smoke and gravel of her voice there's also a wonderful warmth. She has poured so much of herself into each performance and it really is quite exceptional.
Claire grabs the listener's attention right from the opening moments with a soulful vocal accompanied by nothing but simple percussion. What follows is a rich and varied soundworld provided by the host of musicians, almost twenty strong, that have collaborated on the project. Claire takes her place at both the piano and guitar whilst the supporting cast includes Double Bass and strings, percussion, mandolin, organ and accordion. The interplay between the musicians has woven together some satisfying textures.
In terms of genre, 'My Mother, The Mountain' sits comfortably in the contemporary folk repertoire. With the vocal supported by acoustic guitar, this track has a raw and honest quality and it's easy to believe that the events and people that inspired the lyrics were close to the writer's heart. The imagery is beautiful and there is a directness in the delivery. This passion spills over into rest of album, but it appears in a slightly different guise each time. In 'Words, Your Weapons' this energy has been moulded into something with the feeling of a ballsy protest song. From this she continues to dance between soulful ballads and much bigger anthemic numbers.
Although she retains her impassioned style of delivery, in 'I Blame the Moon', Claire seems to slip into the role of lounge singer for this perfectly understated song with just a hint of motown. Her voice is nuanced and coloured by a sweet vibrato and it's a welcome contrast as the album ebbs and flows. With a palette like this to draw, there is always a little more to be gleaned with each listen.
|Claire Hastings: Between The River And Railway||Rosie Carson & Kevin Dempsey: Nightbirds|
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