I was keen to review this album as Elaine and I have something in common. She was brought up in North Yorkshire and I currently live in this wonderful county and have now done so for over thirty years. Possibly not the greatest reason to choose a particular album to review but it worked for me.
Having performed and toured with artists such as Emmylou Harris, Donovan, Damien Rice and Patty Griffin, it is clear that this is a lady of quality and pedigree.
Some of Elaine's music has a distinct feel of Nashville about it which also pleases me. She claims that the album is "a collection of songs I wrote influenced by my travels in Arizona, across deserts and through canyons." Quite a trip really and quite an influence! It is described as an album of love, life and landscapes which seems to sum it up pretty well!
Having released three previous albums, Elaine took time out in 2010 to give birth to her daughter Elena who is the subject of one of the songs on the album. This to my mind shows that Elaine knows where priorities lie and it makes me appreciate and understand her so much more.
I have to admit that I am not sure if I like this album or really like it. It sounds better each time I listen to it. A slow burner it most certainly is. A mixture of country and folk influenced sounds, it is the slower numbers that I think work best for Elaine's voice. Having said that, her voice goes from soft to raucous without losing any of its clarity.
"In The Meantime" my favourite track, is a delightfully soft and harmonic piece of music, in total contrast to the opening track "The Great Escape" which comes at you like an express train and gets your feet tapping. "Dreaming" is a real throwback to 90's country music with its fabulous pedal steel guitar work. "Show Me The Way" with its finger style guitar backing is totally absorbing. "Red Lights" is somewhat reminiscent of Tanita Tikaram. "Minefield" with its slightly quirky, at least for this album, jazzy feel and sound, it is a track to bring a smile to your face. It even includes a section of whistling which is not something that you hear very often these days. Perhaps Roger Whittaker is alive and well after all.
This is an album of different styles and moods. Never boring and always inducing the listener to wait and see what is just around the corner.
Elaine is currently on a UK tour although all but two of the shows are being held in her presumably dearly loved North East. I am not sure whether or not she has a supporting band or just features herself and guitar. In either case, I think an evening of quality and emotive music is guaranteed.
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