Angels Without Wings
The finest voice in Folk Music comes of age.
I’m far from an expert; or even a fan when it comes to traditional Folk music; especially the Celtic variety; but Heidi Talbot’s voice and choice of songs on her previous album; THE LAST STAR instantly captured my attention and appreciation.
Not only does Heidi follow on from that exceptional record; but with yet another understated song from Boo Hewerdine, the accordion driven title track Angels Without Wings which opens the album, actually takes an unbelievably massive leap forward. The song is very easy on the ear and the musicianship is exemplary as it compliments her beautiful voice like a Highland malt and a roaring fire and will make you sit back and want to take in to everything that follows.
King Creosote aka Kenny Anderson duets with Heidi on Button Up and the result is simply magnificent as their voices compliment each other in the most unlikely of fashions, but could easily be the template for a new dalliance (in recording terms).
There are several writing collaborations here – Boo Hewerdine, John McCusker, Tim O’Brien and King Creosote himself; but it is the way Ms. Talbot expresses those words that is extraordinary; especially on The Loneliest where she captures the spirit of the character she is singing about in such intimate detail the sparkling duet with Louis Abbott had me choking back the tears.
One of the highlights of this delightful album is another duet with Kenny Anderson; Will I Ever Get To Sleep? And this very clever Folk (?) song owes much more to the 1980’s Glaswegian Postcard Records than it does to the Incredible String Band and I can’t think of any higher praise!
When The Roses Come Again will get plenty of press coverage as it features a heart stopping duet with Tim O’Brien, who also adds some beautiful fiddle playing and Mark Knopfler never threatens to overshadow the singers but his guitar playing is the glue that holds it all together.
Although Heidi Talbot and her entourage are generally British in origin; after a few listens there is a definite Americana/Appalachian ‘feeling’ to ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS and it becomes all prevailing with the poignant reminisces of a first love in Wine and Roses which could easily have been a Kathy Mattea or Nanci Griffith song if Heidi Talbot hadn’t been such a bloody good singer herself!
The album ends with a song called Arcadia which brings all of the previous strands together on an effortlessly handsome song about dreaming a dream of a perfect love and lover and; by jings I haven’t heard a finer end to a record in a very long time.
I’ve been very careful not to drop in the long list of Folk and Americana names that were involved in the making of this spectacular album; as the real ‘stars’ here, are Heidi Talbot and her songs.