Holly Macve: Golden Eagle review – hard-luck songs make like the delta blues

(Bella Union)

Singer and songwriter Holly Macve was raised in Galway and Yorkshire, but you could be forgiven for assuming the 21-year-old is from the Mississippi delta or the Appalachian mountains. The shimmering guitar on Heartbreak Blues and the doom-laden piano chords and faraway backing vocals on The Corner of My Mind sound like they’ve been beamed from Sun Studios in Memphis, circa 1957.

Golden Eagle, her debut album, has a strong country or bluegrass flavour – though some songs, such as Fear, deploy more unpredictable chord sequences. Her lyrics, with their themes of heartbreak (All of Its Glory) and hard luck (No One Has the Answers), are a good fit. Thanks to the sparse instrumentation and producer Paul Gregory’s deft use of reverb, there’s a timeless feel to Golden Eagle.

And it’s pretty convincing. Macve sings with real power as she glides from note to note in a dreamy glissando – although the Tammy Wynette-style catch in her voice is a quirk that is perhaps overemployed.

Holly Macve: The Corner of My Mind – official video


Jon Dennis

The GuardianTramp

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