Hilary James,
Burning Sun
(Acoustics, 2008)

When you hear Hilary James, you know you have heard Hilary James. Her voice is magically suited to the songs -- varied as they are -- that she chooses. With the wonderful backing on Burning Sun, you can sit back, relax and let the music flow over you.

The dozen tracks on this new CD range from the well-known traditional to the lesser known, with some lovely new works interspersed. She opens the proceedings with her re-interpretation of an old American folk song, "O'er the Ocean." The opening lines of a poem inspired her next track and James has expanded this into a haunting and thoughtful "Busy Old Fool."

"La Marche des Rois" will give you a flavour of the comprehensive musical credentials onthis album. It started as a 13th-century carol in Provence, it was borrowed by Bizet and here you hear in it French sung by singers of English and Hungarian backgrounds. From carols we jump to a tale of gruesome murder on "Two Sisters," but somehow her lovely voice almost hides the sad nature of the tale. Listen to the wonderful strings on this track.

On "Lonesome Day" she again brings us wild and wonderful mixture with a tune with Eastern European inspiration and words of an American traditional song of English origin.

The magic of this album is that although the origins and mixes of inspiration span time and geography, Hilary James manages to produce a sound that will never jar. Her harmonious voice, perfect diction and the magical backing give the listener a fantastic audio experience.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

14 March 2009

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new