It has been a mystery to me for many years why Eleanor McEvoy is not a household name. It is fair to say that many of her, less talented, contemporaries have achieved greater success while she has almost been forgotten by the music establishment. McEvoy is a songwriter that I have held in great affection for many years. She has an honesty to her music with lyrics that have never shied away from the darker sides of live whether that be the abuse of women and children in Africa or by the catholic church in Ireland.
With Alone McEvoy revisits a career that covers 10 albums and 22 years of recording with stripped back re-recordings of tracks from every period of her music. Her best known songs, Only A Woman's Heart & Sophie are both present and sounding even more fresh and poignant than when she first recorded them. Only A Woman's Heart catapulted McEvoy to fully fledged star status in her native Ireland, and indeed in most of Europe, but moving away from major labels to gain more control over her career meant that her public profile dipped considerably. This is a real pity as she arguably recorded some of her better work when freed from the confines of label interference, as the majestic and unsurpassed album Early Hours demonstrated.
You'll Hear Better Songs (Than This) from the afore mentioned Early Hours is a definite highlight with its sideswiping lyrics and melancholy diminished chords. Throughout McEvoy's trademark distinctive Irish brogue is in full effect. Days Roll By is an equally splendid song that deals with growing older and unaccomplished dreams that can ring true with all of us. For Avoidance Of Any Doubt is a masterclass in lyric writing that shows a wry sense of humour that is an undercurrent of much of McEvoy's music.
If I'm honest, then McEvoy's last two albums have proved to be huge disappointments in terms of the songs and the production but with Alone she has recaptured that something, that indefinable something, that makes an artist truly special. The voice still has the capability to make my spine tingle and 20 years on from first discovering her music, I have fallen in love with it all over again. The re-recorded versions of Just For The Tourists and Only A Woman's Heart are simply magnificent and are worth buying this album for, excuse the pun, alone.
Eleanor is currently on tour in the UK and Ireland. Catch her if you can as she is quite simply magnificent live.