If you’re looking for a means of escapism this summer – let’s face it, who isn’t? – then look no further than Brigid Mae Power’s 2020 release: 'Head Above The Water'.
On her third album, the Irish folk singer has created a record shrouded in mysticism and mystery – that carries the listener far away from lockdown life. The star of the show is Power’s vocal; piercing with clarity as the singer plays dextrously with the melody on each track. 'Wearing Red That Eve' is ethereal in its beauty, and could be mistaken for an ancient folkloric tune (were it not for the reference to New York).
The pastoral dream continues on 'The Blacksmith', where Power is joined by husband Peter Broderick in remodelling a centuries old traditional English folk song. The pair’s harmonies lend the track a modern day spin – and exemplify how the power of melody and storytelling can last through the ages.
But it would be a mistake to place 'Head Above The Water' into the sticky noted ‘Folk’ box and shut the lid there. Power is originally from Galway, but the country twangs of, 'On A City Night' could leave her in Nashville, or Austin, or Dallas. We Weren’t Sure combines psychedelic guitar with an Elizabeth Frazer type upper register. We can be sure that Power is redefining what it means to be a folk artist today.
Album closer and title track, 'Head Above The Water', is a lullaby-like end to the album. However, instead of sending the listener to sleep, it is a signal that the dream is over and we must with reluctance, return to the real world.
Words: Sophie Church
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