Saturday, February 23, 2019

Scotland's Music: Eddi Reader: Cavalier

Through music, through lyric, and through ideas, you can always count on Eddi Reader to lead a journey worth the taking. On her recording Cavalier that includes travels to ancient texts, a song that reminds of a 1940s ballroom, a song about fishing -- and so much more -- and many other pathways, byways, and excursions. Through it all Reader’s gorgeous voice and poetic choices guide a journey which makes a confident whole.

“Star light, star light, how long did it take you to get here tonight...” Reader sings in a song by Boo Hewerdine that will have you imagining a night sky filled with stars as much as it will have you thinking about how light -- from stars and otherwise -- passes by. There is a song in memory of hr former partner that is filled with image and story and poetry.

Do you remember the song Perfect? In the late 1980s when Reader sang with the group Fairground Attraction, it was their big hit. Reader still often sings it in concert. The song Wonderful, which is on this recording, draws from that same well of uplifting emotion with substance backed by a melody you will find yourself listening to and perhaps singing along with, as well. Reader and her husband John Douglas wrote it.

There are more gems in the sixteen tracks -- that song about fishing, for one. Go Wisely arose from Reader’s experiences as the parent of children who were becoming adults. Meg o’ the Glen is a lively re-imagining of an older text, something Reader does elsewhere on Cavalier. Take especial note of Pangur Ban, a story with words drawn directly from a medieval poem from Ireland, as a monk contemplated the similarities between the work he did hunting words and the work his cat did...hunting mice.

It’d hardly be an Eddi Reader recording without a reference to Robert Burns. She draws the music on Cavalier together, and to a close, with a quiet, conversational take on A Man’s a Man for A’ That. It, like all the songs on the album, invites more than one listen.

It is certainly Reader’s voice and vision which anchor the music. Reader and Douglas invited a number of musical friends along, however, to help them realize that vision. Among them are folk you’ve met here along the music road in the past, including John McCusker, Phil Cunningham, John Joe Kelly, Siobhan Miller, and Euan Burton.

Photograph of Eddi Reader at Celtic Connections by Kerry Dexter, made with permission. Thank you for respecting copyright.

You may also wish to see
Singer, poet, Scotland: Eddi reader and Rober Burns
Scotand's music: Emily Smith: Echoes
Eddi Reader sings the songs of Robert Burns

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