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The new album, releasing May 16, 2008 on MOSCODISC

Eleanor McEvoy’s latest record typically strikes out in a new direction. Love Must Be Tough is an album that explores the ebb and flow of romance through distinctly non-rose tinted glasses. These are not songs of innocence but songs of experience.

McEvoy is renowned for bucking the norm, consistently defying categorisation. Reflecting on her six previous offerings, a distinct pattern emerges. It’s quite simple really – she weaves between musical styles as a rite of passage, her life, thoughts, loves and losses recorded over fifteen years. A musician who records consistently over such an extended period is simply registering their walk through life. Listening back on her records is akin to an evening spent reminiscing over dog-eared family photo albums.

Her 1993 self-titled debut release was her bed-sit album, first loves, first disappointments, the singer songwriter emerging.1996’s What’s Following Me was McEvoy’s rebellious album, a spiky grunge laden affair that shuddered and spat at the world. Snapshots in 1998 saw McEvoy shirk off the introspection and begin to explore the world outside her own bubble. The 2002 album Yola showcased McEvoy gaining confidence as both woman and artist, stripping away the musical machinery and laying out her inherent musical talents, raw and bare. Early Hours followed three years later, a laid back McEvoy emerging with a sonorous 4am album. Her last release, 2006’s Out There, depicted the quirky, feisty, tongue in cheek McEvoy.

And now Love Must Be Tough, where McEvoy interprets songs that have moved her for many years. Love Must Be Tough is a collection of tracks, typically sung by men about women (apart from the track Hands Off Him). When sung by a woman, with the minimum of alteration to the lyrics, the words breathe a different life and tell a new story. McEvoy’s mischievous side revels in the gender juxtaposition.

Recorded with The South King Street Band, with arrangements by Peter Beckett, Love Must Be Tough kicks off with the Rolling Stone’s Mother’s Little Helper. Opening the album with the line ‘What a drag it is getting old’ sets the tone of the entire collection. McEvoy’s interpretation is more Kurt Weil than Mick Jagger and sung by a woman, the song spins from the original put down to sheer frustration. The title track, Love Must Be Tough, written by McEvoy and US legend Johnny Rivers during a late night songwriting session in Killarney, is a nugget of West Coast Americana, a couple who’s love has been dragged through the dirt, but you put up and get on with it. The lead single Old, New, Borrowed and Blue, penned by McEvoy and longtime friend Dave Rotheray (Beautiful South/Homespun) is a twist on the jaundiced over optimism of the standard wedding song. Another track by the duo, The Night May Still Be Young, But I Am Not sets the bar scene – she wouldn’t have given the guy a second glance not so long ago, but a few drinks in and she realises she’s not getting any younger…

Terry Allen’s Lubbock Woman portrays the character at the heart of this collection – the make up, the hair, the unrealistic hopes, the almost predictable disappointment, but she’s proud of who she is and she’ll always keep going. On Sly Stone’s If You Want Me To Stay, McEvoy strips his most biting lyric back to a ‘work-song’. Roll Out Better Days is McEvoy’s own composition, inspired by a recording session where McEvoy asked her engineer to ‘Roll out the treble, ride up the bass, roll back the last take and throw it away’- in other words ‘scrap what we’ve just done and start again’. The line seemed poignant in the context of the album’s theme.

Hands Off Him, a 1955 hit by Priscilla Bowman, the only original female vocal on the album, is a straightforward ‘the man is mine’ warning shot across the bows of any usurper! This lady ain’t takin’ no chances! The Rodney Crowell classic Shame On The Moon, is a magnificent story of shirking responsibility for a wrongdoing. Easy In Love, another composition by McEvoy, this time with Brad Parker, is an optimistic roll call of some of the world’s best -known romantic couples. He Never Spoke Spanish To Me, the Butch Hancock classic, evokes hot moonlit nights, somewhere near the border, a Mariachi band playing in the background, yearning and regret. The album comes to a close with Nick Lowe’s I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock ‘n Roll). The song takes on a whole new meaning when heard through McEvoy’s observations of how the bride used to be.

So which McEvoy is revealed in Love Must Be Tough, her seventh record in fifteen years? Perhaps the answer to that lies in her yet to be recorded eight album.

Eleanor McEvoy - Love Must Be Tough, the new album,
releasing May 16th, 2008 on MOSCODISC.

Eleanor McEvoy live:

Friday 2 May Passionfruit Theatre, Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Saturday 3 May Áras Inis Gluaire, Belmullet, Co. Mayo

Sunday 4 May The Clarence, Sligo
Monday 5 May TBC, Leitrim
Friday 9 May St. John’s Theatre, Listowel, Co.Kerry
Saturday 10 Station House Theatre, Connemara, Co. Galway
Thursday 15 May The Errigle Inn, Belfast
Friday 16 May Áras Chronain, Clondalkin, Dublin
Saturday 17 May Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Cork
Friday 23 May Burnavon Arts & Cultural Centre, Cookstown, Antrim
Saturday 19 July St. Michael’s Theatre, New Ross, Wexford
Saturday 2 August Ballyshannon Folk Festival, Donegal

Permalink - Posted: April 23, 2008 at 12:57 pm