Irish songbird Imelda ushers in new direction

Imelda May

Imelda May

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IF you don’t know Imelda May, prepare to be amazed. If you are already a fan, get ready to hear her as you never have before. With Life. Love. Flesh. Blood. it is clear that one of Ireland’s biggest exports has found a new groove, presenting a personal and intimately autobiographical album.

All this and more will be evident at the Usher Hall on Tuesday.

Born and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, May has become one of Ireland’s most celebrated female artists.

Discovered by Jools Holland, who asked her to support him on tour, she has gone on to perform alongside legendary artists including Lou Reed, Bono and Smokey Robinson and can count high profile artists including Bob Dylan (who recently revealed he is a fan in a rare interview with Bill Flanagan) and Bono amongst her fans.

Her new headline tour will see her perform tracks from her latest album, which was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett.

“I’ve never met anyone quite like Imelda May. When I first happened onto her music, she was a punky Irish Rockabilly singer with a great band.

“I was intrigued by her deep feeling for and understanding of that American art form, much of which had originated in Ireland,” he says.

“When I ran across her several years later, she had gone through a change of lives and was writing about it with a wild intensity and singing about it in the most open hearted way. I was inspired by her honesty and her generosity, and I continue to be intrigued.”

Life. Love. Flesh. Blood was recorded over seven days in Los Angeles, with musical contributions from May’s guitar hero Jeff Beck, who plays guitar on the heart-wrenching single Black Tears), and piano legend Jools Holland, on When It’s My Time.

The album marks a new direction for May whose life changed considerably in the run up to recording when her 18 year marriage ended.

She explains, “It’s therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of people read. Some of my favourite songs don’t say much, but they reveal everything.”

Imelda May, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Tuesday, 7pm, £31.35-£38.50, 0131-228 1155