Callaghan

Callaghan

(Absolute/Universal)

 

 

We have followed and indeed featured this songstress and performer for some time now, as she criss-crosses the Atlantic to write, rehearse, record and collaborate on her music. Which is best described as country-inflected songs and balladry that..well, travels. Callaghan appears to have made many friends in her sojourns and whilst touring. Indeed the last performance of hers that we saw, in London was on a bill with New England troubadour Jesse Terry. Now, a new album of material is ready. In essence it rounds up recent years’ EP recordings into an album programme.

Opening cut Silence has a soft and atmospheric vocal over a synth bed at its commencement. The voice heads to almost falsetto as the full ensemble kicks in for passages, bass figures and steady drumming all part of the whole. It’s a strong but sombre ballad and the string arrangement has a filmic tinge, you can envisage waves crashing on a windy shore. On to the clear singing of The End Of The World, again somewhat downer in tone but an optimistic lyric nonetheless. The band stays back, letting the song ring clearly. The backing vocals lend a whiff of Enya.

Better Together is much lighter on its feet and gives a welcome contrast as its syncopated beats patter away and slivers of guitar and horns stud the arrangement. The organ could be much more prominent on the mix without blotting any of the vocal frequencies. Whistling gives a toe-tapping ingredient. Next up Skin On Skin we do recall from live performances and it’s a moody twilight effort, breathy singing and wistful lyric. The singing is poignant and quite beautiful. Definitely a highlight in the collection. The Other Side is piano led and as a song could be a Carpenters outtake.

Callaghan very typically does not oversing this and when the sound firms up she rides it to perfection. Could use a trumpet counterpoint, with lots of delay!

Surrender returns us to melancholy but is sung with tenderness. I Don’t Know How To Lose You does have the ring of a hit from a West End musical, its stealthy setting suggesting a back story of romantic complications. A quality lament. Solid Ground is somewhat folky, with neat bass playing and a gentle sway to it. Maybe my favourite on this album. Broken goes for a lush sound but again it leans to the lachrymose for this listener. All Through The Night – Prelude revisits that Broadway smash overture thang before the song All Through The Night arrives, arpeggio piano and almost stark vocal on a hymnal melody.

If You Miss Me is quasi-gospel as it starts and mines the wistful slowie sphere of song. Finally Summer Days manages to evoke warm breezy climes on a steady funk tempo and more spirited singing and empathetic playing.

So…FAR too much balladry in this set, more uptempo numbers would have done much for the flow of the programme. The production is superior if a tad timid for a David Axelrod and Rotary Connection fan like me. Callaghan has a truly gorgeous voice, heard to good effect on every inclusion. We think she must be experienced live.

Pete Sargeant



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(Thanks to Steve Rose at Emms Publicity and Callaghan)

You can watch the official music video for the track 'Broken' in this article.

Callaghan's self-titled debut album is out now on Absolute/Universal.

You can find all of our Callaghan articles including an exclusive interview with her here: http://bit.ly/2l06EXh

You can purchase the album here: https://amzn.to/2xQ5YKT

For more information visit her official website here: http://bit.ly/2N0rvWF

In addition, Callaghan will embark on an eight-date Autumn 2018 headline UK Tour with special guest Danni Nicholls.

All dates, venues and ticket links can be found below: 

Tuesday 30th October 2018 - NCEM, York, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2QYyFhu

Thursday 1st November 2018 -  Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1oDZkS0

Friday 2nd November 2018 -  Thorner Victory Hall, Leeds, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2zucnO0

Sunday 4th November 2018 -  LiVe (Guildhall), Preston, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2NBYZ2S

 

Tuesday 6th November 2018 -  Cuban Embassy, Birmingham, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2DwBXpl

Wednesday 7th November 2018 - Dingwalls (London Roots Festival and Seated Show), Camden, London, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2Q8yBKV

Thursday November 2018 - The Fringe, Bristol, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2zu0jvQ

Friday 9th November 2018 - Thornton Village Club, Wirral, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/2NFx56c