Honest with experience, purposeful regarding hope and lyrically rich, this is a deep and rewarding release.
Time: 12 tracks / 49 minutes
It’s a real shame that the cover of this disc is so washed out (intentionally retro?), because the music inside is far more colourful.
It starts off with the vibrant, mandolin-driven “Where the Poor Find Gold,” and while she doesn’t explicitly point to where that is, those who know of her faith recognise where she is coming from (with husband David, she wrote the lyrics to Dave Bainbridge’s Celestial Fire project).
Try these lyrics:
O pure river will you drown my pain?
Wash away the sorrow with its ugly stain?
I’ll find healing in your ebb and flow...
You’re running to the place where the weak grow bold
Running to the place where truth unfolds
You’re running to the place where the poor find gold.
I’d happily sing that in church.
Another hint of faith comes with the Beatitudes-like chorus of “Sweetest Freedom,” which seems to describe the struggle to forgive a deep hurt, but the relief of doing so.
That’s a bit of a theme. Lyon writes in the liner notes that this project,” reflects my own journey of gathering together fractured pieces to find a way forward,” and that is clear in songs with titles like “Hope” and “All is not Lost,” where she sings:
Beauty not shame,
Hidden in scars,
We are carried by love,
And all is not lost."
There is gathering together in more than once sense, as five of these tracks are re-works from previous albums. Such are the changes that those who already have the earlier albums will probably enjoy these versions.
Andy Jones and ex-Wet Wet Wet member Graeme Duffin have superbly co-produced and brought some fresh sounds to some tracks – ambient edges to “Farewell” and “She Survived the Winter” – as well as a poppier approach to the upbeat “Everything’s Fine.” Each song sounds different to the rest, so that you feel you have feasted by the end.
Lyon has shared stages with the likes of Patti Griffin, Karine Polwart and Eddi Reader. The music here fits very comfortably with the latter, as well as with Boo Hewerdine, a sometime co-writer, and several others on the current folk circuit. So does her song-writing, which has just enough mystery to keep you guessing, while such rich content that you can get a definite feel for the heart of the songs.
As a Scot, her roots come out, not so much in Celtic sounds, but in the way some tunes evolve.
I was not impressed by her live performance supporting Iona a few years back (maybe I was just too impatient for the main act) but the sheer strength of these tracks has forced me to re-evaluate her.
Honest with experience, purposeful regarding hope and lyrically rich, this is a deep and rewarding release (once you’ve put the cover away and just listen to the music).