Published on November 20th, 2017 | by Mike Ainscoe0
Kirsty Merryn: ‘She & I’ – album review
‘SHE & I’
Steve Knightley has called her “sassy and sexy, witty and wistful” and then invited her to join Show Of Hands on their tour of cathedrals. Having missed out on the tour, let’s see if Kirsty’s ‘She & I’ album will do instead.
It’s an album of piano based songs, produced by Gerry Diver, on which Steve also contributes a vocal to ‘Forfarshire’ and our old friend Luke Jackson also appears on ‘Delilah & Samson’. Just two of several songs that celebrate inspirational women in history; Victorian spiritualists, Lady Hamilton, Grace Darling and who could forget Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive (don’t try this at home but maybe store the name for an interesting bit of trivia at the pub quiz or a lull in a family party).
What would be a pretty fair companion to Findlay Napier’s ‘Very Interesting Persons’ that was sourced from similar material. Eight songs across half an hour, none of the adding to fill our eighty minutes of the cd but more like the sort of vinyl sequencing of four songs per side.
There’s also a song about herself – the family story of Kirsty’s great-great-grandfather Tommy Mitchell, Derbyshire miner and champion boxer – that kicks off the record. A lovely full production with a smattering of percussion and depth from the double bass that contrasts with the starker feel of ‘Bring Up The Bodies’ – a skeleton of a song that relies upon a sparse lyrical and musical rhythm and strange effects.
Star song may be the immediate ‘The Fair Tea Maker Of Edgware Road’, Nelson’s queen, Emma Hamilton and what sounds like “a mist of sailors” in her hair. Jaunty and again rhythmically arresting, it provides a further contrast with the darker tales of Grace Darling’s fights against the tides in ‘Forfarshire’ and the first person narration in the guise of Delilah against Luke Jackson’s anguished Samson – a minor cameo but in a few lines he’s pulled out one of the performances of his career against the shimmering background of betrayal. The highlight of ‘side two’.
An album that wouldn’t have been possible without a Creative Seed Funding Bursary from the EFDSS, the powers that be can consider ‘She & I’ as money well spent.
Here’s the official video for ‘Forfarshore’ featuring Steve Knightley:
The official Kirsty Merryn website is here