Hardest Place To Fall
Bluebird And The Roses
Then There’s You
River Is Rising
Is there no end to the talent pouring out of Northern Ireland, no end to the excellence in literature and the performing arts, no end to the creativity in every artistic endeavour?
No, thank God and just to emphasise that point, I have been listening to a brand new CD from singer/songwriter Janet Henry, Going Home.
To start from the outside, as it were, it is designed and packaged beautifully and it comes with a lyrics booklet. The cover opens out and there’s Janet on the left, guitar in hand, sitting in front of a car bumper and her Dad on the right, guitar in hand, sitting in front of a car bumper. The connection is very powerful especially when considering the decades between the two photographs.
‘Recently I came across an old photograph of my late father in the early 1950s, sitting in front of a Humber car, playing his guitar and singing. As I looked at it I realised that this was where my journey began, even before I was born, and that now I had taken over a part of what he started and what he loved.’
I have listened to the CD three times. Its superb, flawless production is a joy to behold. The musicians simply cannot be any better. And Janet’s voice is (and I know a lot of hard work goes into these projects) effortless, calm, confident and often stunning. In this era of screeching divas – all genders – from TV talent shows, (you know the ones who think they’re in a lung-busting contest to see who can hit the highest note), well, you’ll not get any of that here. This is classy. The mood is easy and the songs are excellent.
The opener, Hello Radio, is a natural for much airplay and I hope it gets a fair crack on the wireless across the UK and beyond. (Are you listening Nashville?) The tracks evolve into reflections on life, falling in and out of love, memories, getting away from things and, of course, going home. Here are a few extracts:
‘Driving in my car a hundred miles an hour
To get away from you, away from you.
Switching off my phone so I can be alone
Away from you, away from you’
‘She’ll wrap her wings around you
Walk the miles beside you,
Protect your world around with her light,
She must be right’
I thought of my mother.
I thought of my mother.
‘The shadows of that August sun still haunt like some old ghost
and the things best forgotten are the things remembered most’
I love that.
Then There’s You:
‘Doesn’t matter how I’m feeling
if my heart is black and blue,
when I think there is no reason
then there’s you’
‘Why are the colours grey instead of green or blue?
Why does the falling snow make me think of you?
Why is my beating heart beating on its own?
I really think it’s time that I was home’
This is an exceptional album in so many ways, musically and lyrically. Janet Henry has a showcase collection here that deserves much attention from broadcasters, audiences and the record buying public. It is impossible not to like it and it is a match for any album of its genre, bar none, an outstanding achievement.
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