Gillie McPherson,
Our Street
(independent, 2006)

Gillie McPherson was borne in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and left her homeland to live in the French region of Brittany very early in her life. With her latest album, Our Street, she evokes memories of Ireland and especially Belfast, her hometown.

The CD features 12 tracks, most of them self-composed songs. McPherson is accompanied by some talented French musicians: Thierry Pigot on bodhran and Tibetan bowl is also co-producer with McPherson and Coefficient 7. Yves Perrin is on guitar and flute, and Sophie Bardou is on fiddle to complete the core of the band. Paul Habourdin and Vincent Blin on violin, the latter also on mandolin, serve as great guest musicians.

The album starts with "Dark Dream," a hauntingly beautiful fishing song about the dramatic life on the sometimes rough sea. Bardou plays the fiddle with an obvious gift, and you can feel the melancholy and sadness of loss when the battle against the raging sea is lost. Another highlight follows straight up: "Never Save," a rhythmic lament on the Northern Ireland conflict, includes a brief Breton tune sung by Yves Perrin, who also plays a brilliant rhythm guitar.

McPherson is a great singer and songwriter, and her songs cover a wide range of styles. The bluesy "Our Street" as well as the melancholic "Carry Me Away" tell us about her leaving Belfast. Even though the feeling is rather sad, her thoughts are somehow future-bound and the lyrics are very strong. My favourite song, nevertheless, is an old traditional English song, "Bedlam Boys." Breathtaking rhythms and singing together with psychedelic guitar and fiddle playing create a perfect musical background to this song about London's oldest psychiatric hospital.

Gillie McPherson's music certainly is a wonderful sample of Irish folk-rock music fused with influences from her second home, Brittany. These influences are strongest when it comes to instrumental tracks or tunes that are interwoven in her songs.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Adolf Goriup

15 November 2008

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