Sounds Around / By Liz Noonan
I'm so lost in Heidi Talbot's new album "Angels Without Wings" that I can hardly snap out of my delectable musical cloud to write about it! Her voice is sweet and tender as ever, her lyrics, breathtaking and romantic - it's music to daydream to.
As I listen to the beautiful new material from the Kildare-born folk singer/ songwriter my mind drifts back about 11 years to the time when I heard her first self-titled album and was swept away by her voice. Shortly after discovering her music I wandered into a local pub in Yonkers on a quiet weeknight and found her there bewitching a handful of captivated bar dwellers.
So much has changed for Talbot since then. She joined the well-loved all-female Irish traditional group Cherish the Ladies in 2002. She toured the world and recorded two albums with them while simultaneously working on her 2004 solo album, "Distant Future.” After leaving Cherish the Ladies in 2007, Talbot went on to record two more solo albums, "The Last Star" in 2010, and "Angels Without Wings,” due out Jan. 29 on Compass records.
In a recent conversation with Talbot, she spoke about her diverse musical influences, from Joni Mitchell to Shane MacGowan, the Fureys and Belle and Sebastian. But her biggest influences in the composition and recording of songs for her latest project were the long list of musicians and songwriters that lent their talents to make "Angels Without Wings" a very special album. "The idea was to write an album of modern day folk songs with input from a lot of different people", she said. The album features collaborations her band mates, John McCusker and Boo Hewerdine, as well as Mark Knopfler, Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien and many more. The relationships between band members and special guests were a major ingredient in the final product. Talbot spoke about her desire to make the album sound as live as possible. "It was more about capturing a performance than having it sonically perfect. We wanted to make it feel like a band playing together, feeding off each other. We are all friends and everyone had input."
Although Talbot is relatively new to the craft of songwriting, and admits that it doesn't always come easy to her, my favorite track on the album is her original composition "I'm Not Sorry," a song that only took her 20 minutes to write. Other highlights include the title track which features a Parisian influence with lovely accordion solos from Phil Cunningham, and "New Cajun Waltz,” a song that paints a very pretty picture of two lovers dancing under the stars. As for Heidi Talbot, her favorite track on the album is the playful song "Will I Ever Get To Sleep.” It's a song that her 2-year-old daughter likes to listen to on repeat. Now there's a kid with good taste in music!
Mark your calendars for Jan. 29, the day you can add "Angels without wings" to your collection.
Here are my picks for some of the best Irish music around town this week: Mary Courtney at Christ Congregation Church in Princeton, NJ on 1/18, Jameson's Revenge at Ulysses in NYC on 1/19, and Bangers and Mash at Good Friends in Mastic Beach, Long Island on 1/19.