Jill Dornan,
For the Love of Song
(self-produced, 2001)

This is a labour of love. It takes a selection of beautiful well-known songs and gives them a treatment that can only be provided by singers who truly love the material.

"Mingulay Boat Song," which opens the CD, is sung without accompaniment and sets a very high standard to be carried through the album. Like most old songs of the sea it lulls the listener into feeling the salt spray and gentle rocking of the boat.

Dornan takes centre stage on Thomas Moore's "Minstrel Boy," accompanied only with a drum or bodhran, and gives it a beautiful interpretation. "Beggars to God" is new to me and it is a beautiful tune that has a lovely Christian message well told. Jill's husband Steve sings the classic "Old Paint" to great effect.

They combine voices on "Long Black Veil" and give a heartfelt interpretation that has been covered by a wide variety of singers from Johnny Cash to the Chieftains with Mick Jagger. The perennial of the Irish get-together, "Danny Boy," is also produced here without accompaniment in a combination of Jill and Steve's voices.

"Cyrus in the Moonlight" is another new track to me and it is absolutely fabulous. It is a tribute to the world of nature and sounds so beautiful in its "under produced" simplicity. I was captivated by the lyrics and the simple tune.

The surprise of the CD has to be "Il Mio Cuore Va." Everyone has heard "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic but sung here in Italian it gets a new dimension and is well suited to Jill's voice.

Although this CD is listed as being by Jill Dornan, it is really a Jill and Steve album and it is all the better for that. Jill has a beautiful operatic voice but like the sweetest confection, too much of it can be cloying. Combining with the solid vocals of her husband she gets that effective blend that lifts these good tunes to great tracks.

As a self-produced CD the information is a little sparse and sadly it may not get the attention it deserves. Anyone interested in new interpretations of old standards should seek it out and invest in this breath of fresh air.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 13 July 2002