Two years on from Ballads singer-pianist Liane Carroll’s new album Seaside is to be released by Linn Records on 18 September.
The title track was written by singer-pianist Joe Stilgoe the album produced, like Ballads and the singer’s 2011 Parliamentary Award-winning predecessor Up and Down, by trumpeter James McMillan who told Marlbank: “I’m really pleased with the record, one of the best pieces of music I’ve ever been involved with... after 25 years of producing records.”
While Ballads was full of torch songs Seaside takes a different approach, its nautical theme including songs that match the concept in different ways with, as well as the title track, the Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin classic ‘My Ship’, standard ‘I Cover The Waterfront’ and the hymn ‘For Those in Peril of the Sea.’
Beginning with an atmospheric practically Edwardian brass band-type introduction to ‘Seaside’ the lyrics concerning the protagonist waiting at the usual place and the request to look out for me: “just throw a stone and say a prayer/the skies will fade/to take the air.” The chorus with its plea to “come kiss me quickly/we might not have long/before all this is washed away” highly affecting.
Lerner and Loewe song ‘Almost Like Being in Love’, which featured in the 1940s musical Brigadoon, is the next song, Liane scatting exuberantly, moving to a swinging uptempo pace. The third track is the Arthur Kent/Sylvia Dee song ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, which became the theme song for Morecambe and Wise, is next, the quite slow and moody feel transforming the song from how we might immediately know it.
The fourth track is begun by throaty tenor sax, with a bluesy feel to the traditional ‘It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ sung back in the 1920s by Blind Willie Johnson.
The next track is the Gordie Sampson/Fred Lavery song ‘Get Me Through December’ Alison Krauss included on A Hundred Miles or More begun here by a short piano introduction, its message “faith can move mountains.”
Mary Gauthier song ‘Mercy Now’ above in a live version is a real tearjerker, prepare yourself, a brassy break eventually relieving the heavy emotion before Liane shows her power and returns with the line “Every living thing could use a little mercy now” as the song becomes more gospelly.
Track 7 is ‘Wild is the Wind’, the Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington song, lovely mournful brass accompaniment well into the song a feature in its north country poignancy. Track 8 begins with an acoustic Django Reinhardt-esque guitar opening to the 1930s Johnny Green-Edward Heyman standard ‘I Cover the Waterfront’, again the sea theme recurring, a tasteful guitar solo cropping up midway through.
The penultimate track opens with a piano introduction unfolding into 1940s song ‘My Ship’ by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin famously covered by Miles Davis in an instrumental version on Miles Ahead the following decade. Much later Liane scats as she takes the song uptempo against piano comping and thrusting, swinging drums. The final track is the beloved 19th century hymn associated with seafarers, ‘For Those In Peril of the Sea.’
Liane Carroll and Ian Shaw sing at Kettner's, London on Friday 14 August. Click for tickets