KIRSTY ALMEIDA – Moon Bird (All Made Up)

Moon BirdKirsty Almeida is a writer and singer whose musical and personal journey has taken her around the world.  Born in Scotland, her father’s work has taken her to his home country of Gibraltar as well as the USA, Far East and South America.  She also joined orchestras and has studied both art and music as well as teaching choral pieces that involved fusions of classic and world influences.  If that wasn’t enough she has also been a backing singer for Atomic Kitten.  As you may imaging from this varied history her work is not going to neatly fit into one genre of music and her latest album Moon Bird, the first since Déjàvoodu in 2014, reflects that.

The nine tracks on Moon Bird are hard to pigeon-hole beyond “very good”.  They have an easy style which belies some of the themes explored and each song is presented well; production values are high here.

The album opens with ‘The Fire’ which is a deceiving simple piece, opening with guitar and piano overlaid with Kirsty’s voice before building layers.  Her voice is gentle and soothing, with just a trace of huskiness that allows emotions to be displayed.  On the surface this is a kitchen table song about a fire that won’t that light, but a deeper listening shows the real story a fading relationship where the spark has gone leaving only regret behind.

Following on from that rather downbeat start ‘Dance With Me’ is a love song that is rather beautiful, with lush strings and a flute highlighting the melody.

One of my favourite tracks on the album follows on from it.  ‘Josie Brown’ is a beautiful song about a young girl befriending the old lady of the title.  The beauty of this song is many fold.  The story of two generations, one looking back the other looking forward, would be enough on it’s own but the song finishes with the young girl being the first to find her friend dead in her home.  There are many things that could have been done with this but I think Kirsty got it right by keeping it stripped back and telling a story about life without overplaying the sadness of the situation.  We will all be Josie one day and she’s had a good life with a good friend at the end of it.  Again the main instrument is the voice and her distinctive style will be appreciated by anyone who appreciates quality singing, be it in a folk, blues or jazz setting.

The title track, ‘Moon Bird’, ups the tempo and rhythm.  There’s a Latin feel to the much fuller musical accompaniment with the vocals sitting back slightly. It makes a good change of pace and allows Kirsty to demonstrate her skills as a writer and arranger.

Closing out the album ‘Ode To a Parlour Guitar’ is a restful piece, a drawing of the curtain which doesn’t mainly feature a guitar but uses Kirsty’s voice as another instrument; there are no lyrics.

The overall impression of this album is very favourable.  There are seventeen other musicians listed but they add to and support the music rather than competing.  It’s one to listen to when you want to be reminded that the troubles in life are not unique, other people are going through the same thing but they get through it and become stronger as a result.  As a live performance I believe the audience would be entranced by the purity of Kirsty’s voice.  Every word is clear and expressed.

The album has now been released as is available through the artist’s website and there are also several chances to see it being played live, mainly in Lancashire and Yorkshire through February and March.

Tony Birch

‘Dance With Me’ – the single: