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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Moya Brennan
Label: BEO / Fierce!
Length: 12 tracks / 47 mins
Having brought out an autobiography it was always likely that Moya Brennan's life would find its way into album form.
Signature is that collection, but Brennan insists that the songs are “just snapshots” that give impressions of incidents or stages in her life and eschew chronological order.
Some of the lush production that characterized Clannad has returned to her solo work, yet there are enough lightly-touched pieces to let her harp playing sparkle. Even the Celtic instrumentation is used with great discretion.
After the somewhat meandering Two Horizons – where the story was hard to detect, let alone follow – Signature is focused and full of strong songs, each deserving its place.
While many of her lyrics are “abstract” there is no mistaking some of the incidents referred to, such as the lostness of her narcotics years in “Purple Haze” and the darkness of the time when she had an abortion in “Black Night”.
In the same way the hope and joy of forgiveness shines through brightly in other places. “Hear my Prayer” is plainly about coming to faith ('Hear my voice, stay with me / Bring cool water to my lips / Hear my prayer, set me free / Sing Hallelujah'). “Tapestry” is about the story of a boy who used to look up at his mother's weaving and think that it looked a mess, whereas looking at the 'proper' side, his mother could see its true pattern.
The final track, born of her experience in traditional Gaelic music, “is about a mother's sadness over her son leaving the ministry and her not knowing what's going to happen to him. She's basically asking him not to desert her either. It's a forgiveness song.”
With its musical consistency, lush muti-tracking, strong tunes, real life connections and spiritual themes, this CD is among the very best of her work – and that includes the Clannad years.
Derek Walker 2/25/2007