Sunday, October 22, 2017

EP review: Calling You by Lyn Bowtell

There is absolutely no way that Lyn Bowtell could produce something that is not worthy of an effusive review. Even if you never paid attention to any of her lyrics, her voice alone makes her extraordinary. Those who have seen her play live know that her clean, sweet, warm, perfectly pitched sound is as pristine live as it is recorded. And they also know that she is adept at conjuring powerful emotions - it is hard to get through one of Bowtell's gigs without shedding a tear. So her voice is a powerful instrument, which means something - and means more because although she has a huge range and it has such an incredible sound, she never uses it for display. There are no superfluous notes because Bowtell also respects the song and will do whatever is necessary to serve it.

Calling You is Bowtell's first release since her exquisite 2014 album, Heart of Sorrow, although it is not entirely her work.

Three of the songs are covers: the first track, 'He Burns', was written by Foy Vance; there's also a version of her live favourite 'Hearts of Gold' by Sting, and of 'Let it Be' by that somewhat popular songwriting duo Lennon McCartney. Bowtell, of course, makes these songs sound like she wrote them - when a performer is so accomplished and also understands music so well, it can't be a surprise that she is able to find a new and personal way to interpret an old song.

Bowtell is also part of the country music troika Bennett Bowtell Urquhart and there is original music by her on their album. So I won't grumble that there's not a complete album from her now - instead, it is a treat to have any new songs. The three original songs on the EP - 'All My Life', 'Calling You' and 'Far Away' - sit beautifully beside the three covers. As with all of Bowtell's originals, they are stirring and thought provoking. If the EP were just those three songs, it would a lovely piece of work. It is an absolute treat to have more. Let's hope there is even more soon.

Calling You is out now.

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