Blue O'Connell
Album: Choose The Sky
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12

This may not exactly be politically correct, but, actually so what, I think it's going to be the best way to get across my thoughts on Blue O'Connell's "Choose The Sky" after it had made its way across the pond to land on my door mat.

Dame Evelyn Glennie, despite how she was often portrayed in the media, was not a deaf percussionist, she was a world class percussionist that also happened to be deaf. Similarly Blue O'Connell is not a heard of hearing singer/songwriter operating in the country/blues idom, Blue O'Connell is a pretty sharp singer/songwriter/guitarist/flautist that happens to have profound hearing issues.

On the face of it I'm bringing together two artists that have nothing in common except hearing issues, which on the face of it is wrong and it would be if that was all they had in common, but it's not. Evelyn and Blue also share a vision, in that ultimately they define themselves by their music and reach onto a wider role in the world, that of being respected for their music and what they bring to it. I could have just let it pass, but I do feel humbled by it, I fear in the same position I would have bitched about my lot.

I hadn't read the sleeve notes or accompanying sheet of paper when I put this album into the cd player, but I did notice that on the inner sleeve Blue had written the album title in nine different languages which actually started me thinking about the nature of the album and what I was going to hear as here appeared to be an artist thinking about wider audience and the nature of what she was going to bring them.

The title of the album proves to be key to understanding the album. The sky is a very changeable thing, always there, but full of so many different moods and atmospheres, warm and welcoming, dark and brooding, intriguing, a blank canvas, and full of clouds just waiting for you to turn them into shapes and that is how Blue O'Connell writes her songs, to reflect that variety.

Predomiently she accompanies her Americana styled songs with just a guitar, occasionally adding native flute into the song to give it a roaming spirit feel, and that really gives her a chance to deliver her poetic thoughts from within a simple wrapper.

I have to say there were times when I found her voice, slightly grating, it is a voice that carries a sharpness to it, but it rarely detracts from the song or accompaniment leaving the feeling of an album that has been an enriching forty two minutes and you can't ask more of a singer/songwriter than that.

Neil King