Heidi Talbot - The Last Star
The fourth album from the Irish singer sees her continue to work within an ever growing support system of redoubtable musicians and songwriters. With songwriting and production credits for John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick, Eddie Reader, Karine Polwart and Boo Hewerdine, The Last Star is nothing if not assured. A combination of originals and folk standards gives Heidi Talbot a chance to flex that unmistakeable layrnx which, to these ears, is undeniable and irresistable but I'm given to understand that its rasping cadence might not be for all. Their loss then. On 'Tell Me Truly', where the building sweep of the band quickens the heart, and on Julie Fowlis' 'Start It All Over Again', she sings with naked and startling candour. A fixture on various tours and recording collectives for a while now, this may be the album that affords her a real portion of the broader spotlight. If Laura Marling's proto-folk has whetted your appetite for tradition, then this admittedly glossier, but far from sugared, set could take you to other places, other times. A genuinely captivating album and, in Fowlis's gem, a record whose high spot is a dead on indicator of the quality within.