As a collaboration between acclaimed Irish singer songwriter and noted painter Chris Gollon, it is perhaps surprising to find so much of Naked Music deals with private thoughts, feelings or situations. Then again, maybe not as McEvoy's songs were offered to Gollon to respond to and he duly delivered two paintings on the theme of nakedness and another two to illustrate the lovely version of Terry Allen's mordant Lubbock Woman and perhaps the album's stand out track, the quietly anthemic Dreaming of Leaving, co-written with Lloyd Cole.
The songs are quietly set, as befits the title most are simply guitar or keys and voice and the reworking of The DJ from the After Hours album dispenses with all instrumentation, exposing the voice to our full attention. In truth there's little surprise to anyone who's heard her sing before that Eleanor McEvoy's voice more than stands up under such close examination. It's a rich and multi-layered creation that can augment and interpret all manner of lyrics, ideas and musical settings, something its owner demonstrates with aplomb on classy new versions of earlier career highlights, Heaven Help Us and Whisper a Prayer to the Moon.
Although this is territory Eleanor McEvoy has trodden before - most notably on 2011's Alone - and fans will bemoan the paucity of new songs, there's something admirably old fashioned about a singer songwriter who has enough confidence in her singing and her songs to render them in such sparse settings. They're even divided into 'Side One' and 'Side Two', just like a real elpee!
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