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Eddie Reader Eddie Reader
Album: Starlight
Label: Reveal
Tracks: 5

Eddi Reader, celebrating her 40th year as a live performer, follows the excellent acclaimed CAVALIER album with a new five song EP. ‘Starlight’ from the CAVALIER album is a warm embrace with Eddi the smooth jazzy crooner on fine form. Reader’s voice slow waltzes over a soft easy listening choir of voices. The effect, on this Boo Hewerdine song, is like rich cream topped hot chocolate with a large nip of something stronger in it. ‘My Favourite Dress’ has a more intimate intensity, as Eddi croons the lyric on her own song. Piano and a stroked guitar provide gentle accompaniment behind a sublime vocal performance, up there with KD Lang’s INGENUE for me. ‘Scarecrow Song’ a more spirited Reader vocal. The massed chorus choir is a thing of wonder, like a huge chilled club audience or one of tenement sing along sessions Eddi often mentions in concert. Bless Eddi that they all get a name check on the sleeve with their relationship to her. Mum, Sister, Son, Nephew and pals.

This track is proof of why you must see Eddi Reader in concert, if any is needed. The musicianship is wonderfully soulful, she flies over the choir backing and it sounds like one of those audience moments where she turns a concert hall into her front room and conjures up pure magic involving everyone in the moment. Goodness knows why this was left of the album, but it’s a thing of wonder. ‘No Reply Dot Com’ is a more than slightly tongue in cheek 21st century County lament with a surreal Billy Connellyesque lyric and Western Swing backing. ‘Build High Build Wide’ is a wonderfully spiritual song, jazz guitars and soulful electric piano shimmer while again the voices carry you away. The interplay between Eddi and the ‘Keynotes’ on backing vocals is simply stunning church music. Yet another release that proves Eddi Reader is a vocalist, musician and performer with star qualities consistently delivering the goods live and on record.

Marc Higgins