DAISY CHAPMAN – Shameless Winter – Songs And Whispers SW17/Folkwit Records f0090

ShamelessWinterSometimes I really don’t know where to start, other than to advise you to listen to this album as soon as you can. Shameless Winter is Daisy’s second album, on top of two EPs, all original material except for Billy Corgan’s ‘Disarm’, with a small group of musicians in support.

Two things stand out: Daisy’s powerful voice and her equally powerful songwriting. Written on tour, the songs embody the dilemma of doing what you want to do – need to do – while wanting to be back home with equal fervour. The closing song, ‘The Girl In Hannover’, with just solo piano exemplifies it best – ‘one man’s triumph is another man’s trial’, she sings. Much earlier comes ‘Better Me’, a title that leads to certain preconceptions until you realise that better is used as a verb not an adjective. That’s very different. Next is ‘The Gentleman In 13B’, a long song describing a flight from Moscow to London. In fact, Daisy has a facility for narrative songs, narratives in which not a lot happens but a great deal is learned.

On paper, the arrangements seem to be rather mainstream: strings, bass, a little brass and some mighty drums from Tim Smith with Daisy’s piano well to the fore. The reality is different. The gypsy violin on ‘Better Me’, for example, suggests the life of a wanderer which is the focus of the record and the pizzicato passage in ‘The Gentleman In 13B’ suddenly breaks the pattern of the song before you get too relaxed. Recorded by Ali Chant, the sound is big and rich and all the instruments have room to work – a remarkable balance. To provide a comparison by which to judge Daisy I want to say Sandy Denny – she’s there in the piano, the songwriting style and the voice. I hope that neither of them will object.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: www.daisychapman.com

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