Recently I was contacted by Helen Meissner of Folkstock Arts Foundation, who wondered if I would like to review Kelly Oliver‘s latest album (her second), Bedlam; which was released back in March. Of course, I was keen to do so; and so she sent me a promo copy CD; along with some fact-sheets.
I first became aware of Kelly and her music a few months ago, when Daria Kulesh suggested that I go on line and see a gig that both ladies were to play at The Convent, Gloucestershire. Although I experienced a few problems with the streaming, I was nevertheless very impressed by Kelly’s songs.
Bedlam is a ten-track album of original works – either written solely by Kelly; or co-written with others. It has already received some great reviews, to which I can add little except to say that it certainly is a remarkable album. Kelly has crafted a fine collection of well thought-out songs with inspired lyrics, that tend to grab your attention from the start. She has interesting things to say; and I found that I wanted to hear them. I personally had this playing in my car on repeat for a few days – that’s a good sign! The songs feel traditional, yet fresh and original at the same time. There is good use of alternative guitar tunings which I like because it adds a uniqueness (and sometimes a quirkiness) to the overall sound of the songs. Her voice – and the accent with which she sings – is a pleasure to hear; and entirely suits her music.
I’ve found it almost impossible to pick a few favourites from this collection because each song is equally fantastic. But if I’m pushed I’d say the title track; plus ‘Miles To Tralee’ and the Folk-Rock finishing number ‘Rio’ (which reminds me a little of Kirsty MacColl). Its a good’n to end the album on – and no doubt would be a rousing finale to a live show too. But all the songs are very good indeed.
The CD that I received was a promo copy, so I cannot unfortunately comment on the sleeve / case that it would normally be sold in. It is also apparently available in 12″ vinyl, I’m glad to say. Samples of the songs may be heard via the Folkstock Records website. Recommended. PTMQ