After years of honing her craft and reputation as one of the rising new talents in Irish music, singer Heidi Talbot stepped into the limelight in 2007, leaving the established Celtic ensemble Cherish the Ladies after a five-year stint and beginning work on In Love + Light, an album that combined modern songwriting with the traditional folk and classic melodies that she had been known for. Working with noted producer and songwriter Boo Hewerdine -- known for his own solo albums and his collaborations with Eddi Reader, Talbot made the album an important stepping off point and an important catalyst in creating her newest work The Last Star, arriving September 28 (Compass).
"I definitely feel the most settled I've been for years," says Talbot. "And I feel I'm finding my feet as a solo artist, not only as a performer, but also in terms of coming up with new material through the live side - working things out at soundchecks, trying out different songs and arrangements." In addition to the traditional covers, Talbot not only began to lean more heavily on new songs from producer/writer John McCusker and Reader touring companion Hewerdine. She also began writing lyrics. "It's another whole learning curve," Talbot reflects, "another slow process of gaining confidence, but I've really enjoyed it." Accessible and appealing, new songs such as The Last Star's tender title track, brim with quiet confidence, marking an important and pivotal position in Talbot's own rising star arc.
Heidi Talbot - "The Last Star" (from the album The Last Star)
Heidi Talbot - "Hang Me" (from the album The Last Star)
Ireland has long been a font of great female singers, but Heidi Talbot’s breakthrough solo release, 2008’s In Love + Light, swiftly assured her promotion to the premier league. Its artfully chosen mix of traditional and contemporary material, allied with Heidi’s achingly bittersweet, spun-gold voice, won her a growing audience across three continents
Now, at last, comes its hotly anticipated follow-up, The Last Star. Produced by her multi-instrumentalist, multi-award-winning partner, John McCusker, and marking her debut foray into songwriting, it also sees Heidi engaging afresh with her traditional roots, meanwhile seeking out the best of modern-day balladry. It's an album that simultaneously reaffirms all the diverse expressive magic of its predecessor and extends it in arresting new directions.
This singular breadth of eloquence rests on deep and extensive foundations. While In Love + Light saw Heidi widely hailed as a major new talent, its seeds were sown years earlier, as she grew up in a musical household with eight siblings in rural Co. Kildare. After studying at Dublin's renowned Bel Canto school, she moved to New York aged 18, where she paid her dues in wedding bands, then honed her craft around the city's bars and clubs, soaking up influences, examples and experience. Via the Big Apple’s vibrant Irish musical community, she was recruited in 2002 as lead singer by the celebrated Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies, with whom she toured coast-to-coast and beyond for the next five years. The launch of In Love + Light, at Glasgow’s world-famous Celtic Connections festival in 2008, announced her return to solo performance.
Besides fronting her own trio line-up - with McCusker, plus Boo Hewerdine on guitar - recent highlights of Heidi's intensive live schedule include opening for Eddi Reader on her 2009 UK/Irish tour, and featuring as a regular guest with folk/rock supergroup Drever, McCusker Woomble. She's also lent her radiant tones to a string of albums by other leading artists, including Michael McGoldrick, Idlewild, Kris Drever and Sandy Wright - most of whom have now lent their talents in turn to In Love + Light’s hotly anticipated follow-up, The Last Star.
Now living in Edinburgh, where she's found a home from home in the thick of Scotland's vibrant contemporary roots scene, Heidi will soon be on the road again to promote The Last Star, a true gem of an album which is sure to send her own star yet more steeply into the ascendant