In love and light’
"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light."
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1882 - 1950) US "author, poet"
Celt In A Twist: From Cherish the Ladies to cherishing the opportunity to explore her personal musical vision, Irish songstress Heidi Talbot is back with the follow up album to 2004’s acclaimed solo debut, Distant Future. In Love and Light brims with collected, confident and creative individual energy of ensemble artist who has come into her own. We’ve reached Heidi by phone to tell us more. It’s a pleasure to talk with you.
Heidi Talbot: You too, Cal.
CIAT: Where have we reached you?
HT: I'm in Edinburgh in Scotland.
CIAT: Oh, lovely! Heidi, you recorded this album at The Farm in Surrey. That’s the Genesis recording studio isn’t it?
HT: No, actually it wasn't in Surrey it was in Cambridge.
CIAT: OK, so this is a different Farm entirely?
HT: Yah, a totally different farm studio in Cambridge and actually this studio belongs to the man who wrote Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & The Waves). You know that song?
CIAT: Yah, of course. We thought that was a Canadian song.
HT: Well, he actually might be Canadian.
CIAT: So, what’s the vibe like there? Is it an urban studio or a rural studio?
HT: It's out in the middle of a field.
CIAT: Ah, like the name suggests?
HT: Yes! It's sort of on a country road and hard to find. But, it's really lovely, yes? There are horses at the back and fields of corn. Besides that, you're in the middle of nowhere. So, it's quite productive because there's nothing to do except...
CIAT: Make music? You’ve surrounded yourself with some of our Celt In A Twist favorites on the new album, people like Michael McGoldrick, Kris Drever, and Eddi Reader … but we’re not familiar with your producer, Boo Hewerdine. What can you tell us about him?
HT: Boo works with Eddi Reader all the time. He plays guitar with Eddi and he's produced a couple of Eddi's records. He’s from Cambridge/ he's a really famous singer/songwriter over here. He's written songs for anyone and everyone and collaborated with people from K.D. Lang to Natalie Imbruglia to Mel C from the Spice Girls. He does a wide range of stuff and he's an amazing singer. I think he's one of England's treasures.
CIAT: Heidi, the album is a grab-bag of odds and sods, beautiful songs, all of them but they come from everywhere, all bound together with your lovely Irish lilt. What do you see as the common thread between them?
HT: I suppose the common thread is me. These are songs I've collected over the past four years. It took four or five years of gathering different songs so we ended u p with forty songs and then whittling it down to ten or twelve songs and not having too much of a contrasting mood between each song. There wasn't any sort of a requirement in my head saying, "Well, you can't do that kind of song because that's a country song or that's an old tymey song ... I'm an Irish singer and I'll sing anything!
CIAT: No boundaries.
CIAT: The Village Voice describes you as Bjork combined with Enya, which is fine company to be in but seriously, what were they smoking when they up with that comparison?
HT: (laughs) I liked it at the time. I thought, "That's cool."
CIAT: But, do you see it? I don't!
HT: No. But, I don't think anyone really does. But, it's a nice comparison.
CIAT: You’ve got your Celt In A Twist and we’ve got Heidi Talbot on the line to talk about In Love and Light, her second solo album on Compass Records. Feel the love and enlighten yourself with an introduction to Heidi and her music at www.heiditalbot.com. What was the inspiration for the title, Heidi?
HT: It's a blessing. I was on my way to the States from Scotland. I was going on tour for five weeks and I was leaving my boyfriend and I was a little bit sad about going away on the road. Some of the girls in church got me this book of angels. I had it in my bag on the plane. I’m sure a lot of musicians are like this. You have a bag and it just becomes full of stuff and you never think to empty it. There are loads and loads of odds and ends and you never know what you're going to find. So, I had this book and I hadn't read it yet, so I'm sitting on the plane and I opened it on this page and it was a blessing you would say to the angels. Not to go to hippie or religious on you but that's what I thought.
CIAT: That's beautiful. You’ve made a big impression among your contemporaries. Tell us about some of the other projects you’re guesting on this year.
HT: I'm a guest on Philip Selway, the drummer for Radiohead. He, at the moment is recording a solo album and as well as the album he's doing a LP of four or five songs so he asked me to sing one of the songs on the LP. So, I was really so delighted and chuffed to asked to do that. And, I’ve just come out of the studio. I was doing some vocals on a new record that's coming out with John McCusker, Kris Drever, Roddy Woomble from Idlewild and they're bringing out a record and the girl singer ... the chick back-up singer I suppose is me. That's coming out at the end of May or June.
CIAT: I can hardly wait! There seems to be a real community among Celtic new traditionalists. How do you see the scene developing in the future, these kinds of collaborations and building the scene?
HT: Yah, I don't see why not. I think it's something that has always been there, but maybe it more apparent now because folk music is getting more attention. There is so much happening and there are so many things on the way and it's just getting better and better!
CIAT: We’re going out on a lofty song from the new album called Cathedrals. Can you set this up for us?
HT: Yes, this is a song I heard from Jump Little Children. They're a band from South Carolina or North Carolina ... I might be totally wrong. They’re a band from the States, and it's just a beautiful song. It's such a lonely song, so we decided we would do a version of it. Hopefully if they hear it, they won't hate us (laugh).
Heidi Talbot was interviewed by Cal Koat on February 21st for broadcast on Celt In A Twist, AM 1470, CJVB
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