When Joan Armatrading has a new album – and she has, Not Too Far Away – it is a cause surely for celebration and making a connection since it dropped in the spring. We all need a trusted voice to believe in sometimes.

We over reward by contrast and in every measure vapid Z list celebrity and even trust snakeoil selling chancers and yet we rarely pause to truly reflect and acknowledge sheer artistry that we might somehow diminish otherwise through some sort of complacent neglect and actually just absorb instead what is real and true. We are all fools! Ain’t that a shame.

Artists like Armatrading will speak to you when nothing else will if only they are given the sincere respect that they deserve, and more than this act as a tributary towards a change of consciousness and reboot of the imagination it almost goes without saying and not because life is getting any better for many, often it is quite the reverse. Armatrading is and I suppose always has been emerging like an articulate speech from the heart, an oration borne of indignation, a humane conscience. 

After you listen... try from Back in the Day (2000) Courtney Pine’s take on Joan Armatrading’s deathless ‘Love and Affection’ one of her classics featuring the London Community Gospel Choir and Cameron Pierre on guitar joining Courtney accompanying Kele Le Roc take the lead vocal for further insights.