Sarah Gillespie: Glory Days – review


There's a diminished contribution from multi-instrumentalist Gilad Atzmon on this album, fewer electronic tricks, a place in the band list but barely in the music for star UK pianist Kit Downes, and a lot more of her own incisive guitar-playing than before – all of which suggests that Sarah Gillespie, the fiercely articulate British-American singer-songwriter, is increasingly happy to fly solo. This album comprises a collection of original songs (the traditional lament St James' Infirmary aside) with a newly personal slant. Her appetite for social commentary with a sting ("I wish I was a soldier/ A bag upon my back/ Far away, dying to get back") hasn't waned, and a mixture of resignation and venom continues to bubble through her lyrics ("You need a mama and a sycophantic secretary/ Some hooker in the background/ And I don't mean John Lee"), while an aching, Madeleine Peyroux-like swerve has now joined her rich vocal palette of Janis Joplin soulfulness and gritty, Dylanesque irony. Touches such as the Atzmon sax-honk on Babies and All That Shit and the sneaky clarinet opening to St James' Infirmary add plenty of jazzy bite.

This article was amended on 28 June to correct the star rating


John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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