Her new CD after six years
The last time we heard from this talented local singer songwriter was her seminal album ‘Pure Blue Green’ and then when she performed at our second Jazz Festival in 2013. That was over six years ago and now she is a mother to Ray who at nearly six has provided her with the new focus and freedom to continue her interrupted artistic career.
One listen to these nine tracks on ‘Moonbird’ will suffice anyone who knows Kirsty Almeida and her music that it almost seems as if she never left. None of her charm and magic, as well as song writing skills, has been dented by life. She got together again with her band ‘The Troubadours’ and with her fellow co- producer Matt Owens set about recording this fine bunch of nine songs into which she poured her heart and all her creativity.
Five times Grammy award winner record producer Jerry Boys (Buena Vista Social Club) was tasked with mixing the recordings and being the master that he is, has painted with sound an incredibly beautiful picture of Kirsty’s tuneful and whimsical songs into an audio feast. It’s immersive if you listen to the album on good headphones because none of the subtle brushstrokes which enhance the listening experience will be lost by distractions.
Musically there is so much going on in each track and nothing is lost. My best recommendation is that if you were ever into Joni Mitchell’s legendary song productions then you are in the same audio ballpark here. Good songs well sung and played, beautifully arranged and elegantly produced sonic landscapes to embellish them. This is not a Rock album and there are no thumping beats and wild guitars. Instead there are complex layered vocal harmonies, sensitive arrangements of romantic ballads which tell good stories and all the fairy dust which our songstress can weave into a musical tapestry. There is a rousing New Orleans jazz flavoured song titled ‘I’m going to love you’ which for me should have been the closer, but that is all I would have done differently.
Some highlights to point the way for you now. The opening track is called ‘The Fire’ and is in the key of ‘heart-warmer’, it brings back the best of Kirsty the songwriter and singer so that you are immediately surrounded by good music brilliantly captured. ‘Dance with me’ is the new single and there is a video clip online which was shot here on the Rock last year featuring local Dance wizard Nathan Conroy which is a must-see. The song is deceptively simple and tuneful and soon grows on you with its swirling choruses which will draw the listener into the magic world that Kirsty plucks out of her soul. ‘Josie Brown’ is a lovely story of a child who helps an older person once a week and lights up her world. The lyric melts the poignant story and Kirsty puts a masterful stamp on what, for me, is a standout track in this collection.
The title track ‘Moonbird’ is awash with atmospheric bird calls and a South American flavour helped along by a syncopated double bass and Kirsty’s plucked parlour guitar, always her trademark. Judicious dollops of reverb on choruses and echoes bring the rich mix together with an always interesting and developing orchestration. Just to have come up with this stellar track justifies our long wait for Kirsty’s overdue return.
If you like your music in concept albums this one has a gravitational pull that will satisfy you as you will discover ‘new things’ in the imaginative song arrangements and polished performances from the lady and her band. If you know her previous work, you are sold already. If you saw her tantalising live performance here, even more, but if you are willing to engage with her music now you are in for a treat. Buy ‘Moonbird’ now and post your happy comments on social media – she is totally deserving of them and will love that.