Its title derived from the recording process, an exposed intimacy designed to capture the one voice, one instrument, feel of her one woman shows, McEvoy’s 13th studio album features four exclusive artworks by celebrated painter Chris Gollon, themselves created in response to the songs and the album concept, who is, in turn, launching a new exhibition featuring these and other works inspired by the other songs.
These, fourteen in total, are almost all revisits of past recordings, a mix of self-penned, collaborations, one cover and a traditional arrangement, all distinctively highlighting her Dublin accent. Taking the latter two first, the cover is a gentle country jog through Terry Allen’s ‘Lubbock Woman’, McEvoy accompanying herself on acoustic guitar while the traditional takes the form of ‘Oft In The Stilly Night’, sung to a simple repeated electric guitar pattern.
The album opens with a breathy jazzy blues version of the lust/guilt fuelled ‘Wrong So Wrong’ from 2007’s Out There picked out on acoustic guitar, proceeding to 2001 Lloyd Cole co-write ‘Dreaming Of Leaving’ and, again in bluesy vibe, an itchy ‘Deliver Me’ off I’d Rather Go Blonde, tapping out the beat on her guitar. The oldest number, a fingerpicked ‘Whisper A Prayer To The Moon’ harks back to 1996 while both ‘Land In The Water’, co-written with Dave Rotheray and Nat Johnson, and the circling patterned ‘Heaven Help Us’ (an even better version of one of her best songs, though I doubt it fades away in the live performance) both stem from 2013’s If You Leave.
A strummed early Joni-ish rework of ‘Please Heart You’re Killing Me’ gives new life to the 1999 song, but perhaps the most striking number, from a vocal point of view, is ‘The DJ’, the Early Hours number about the companionship of music being given a wholly a capella reading that reminds what a terrific voice she has.
Other journeys into the past see her revisit ‘Look Like Me’, ‘The Thought Of You’ and, with just voice and hollow hand drum percussion, ‘Isn’t It A Little Late?’. It’s all good stuff, but the inclusion of the excellent, bittersweet, electric piano accompanied ‘Half Out Of Habit’ merely serves to underscore the fact that this is the only new material she’s produced since 2013 and, while this time she intentionally set out to make an ‘as live’ project, Naked Music is essentially still a companion piece to 2011’s ‘accidental’ solo collection, Alone. Perhaps it’s time to replenish the wardrobe.
Artist’s website: http://www.eleanormcevoy.com/
‘Wrong So Wrong’ – the original version: