LORRAINE JORDAN – Send My Soul (Hazelville Music HZ013)

Send My SoulBorn in Wales of Irish parents, a purveyor of Celtic soul, this is her fifth studio outing on which, accompanied by a host of backing musicians on the different tracks, she opens in fine fettle with the anthemic acoustic chug of ‘The Secret To Everything’ before, as the notes have it, ‘Heavenly Voices’ offers an intermingling of both Celtic (fairy rings) and Catholic (angel wings) archetypes, all to the accompaniment of strings, piano and Steafan Hannigan’s low whistle.

Backed by just guitar, piano and strings, again drawing on mysticism, ‘Light Seekers’ raises a musical glass to “dreamers of the night” and “distant healers working through these troubled times” and make you feel like smiling rather than crying. Again featuring Hannigan, this time on duduk, with Jordan on bouzouki and Gill Hunter adding accordion, ‘Desert Sands’ has an Eastern tinge and snake charmer sway to a song that falls firmly into the ‘to see you again’ category.

There’s rather less of a sympatico nature to the relationship on ‘Say It Now’ (“you’re smiling but the smile I see/is not a smile that makes me feel/that you and I have made our peace”), Jordan harmonising with herself and Sean Whelan accompanying on mandolin.

She describes the lovely understated Celtic spiritual title track as “a reflection upon society”, not a particularly upbeat one as she talks of walking lonely streets, her soul lost and how “I can’t tell you when/I stopped listening/I can’t tell you/When I stopped believing”, John Wallace on resonator solo and the backing voices gathering on the chorus as she declares herself “ready to be found”.

That theme of looking to be found, of searching for glimmers of light, of rising above the obstacles of life and love runs throughout the album, finding expression on the likes of the quiveringly sung ‘A Sign’, one of the few tracks to feature drums, ‘You Come To Me’ (which would seem to suggest Armatrading, Baez and Cat Stevens influences),the heady rhythms of ‘Gypsy Soul’ (Jackie Leven traces?) and the organ and piano-backed gospel tints of ‘Love Is All Around Us’.

It ends with, first, the five-minute slow but deliberate paced ‘The Riverside’, a song of those (a lonely, suicidal woman, a soldier seeking meaning to his life, a young girl emigrating to bring blue skies back) who have lost their compass (“someone has moved the northern star..led us too far along the path/left is to find our own way back”) and, finally, the waltzing, far more optimistic shuffle of ‘Minor To Major’ (“it feels like something is waking up in me” as the blues have “called farewell and adieu”.

I want to dance and sing and I want to spread my wings”, she sings at the start of the album. You should join her in the flight and soar.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.lorrainejordan.net

‘The Riverside’: