3Arena, Dublin, December 22
While her haunting performance of ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ before the blockbusting Mayweather V McGregor fight certainly brought her talents to a global audience, here in Ireland we’ve always known that there is something special about Imelda May.
New album, LIFE. LOVE. FLESH. BLOOD, saw the Liberties native step away from the highly coiffured and raucous rockabilly sound that made her name, to instead embrace a more intimate and personal blues style. The album was recorded in Los Angeles in just seven days and features musical contributions from guitar hero Jeff Beck (on ‘Black Tears’), piano legend Jools Holland (on ‘When It’s My Time’) and an accomplished group of backing musicians including the core trio of guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss) and bassist Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets, Mini Mansions).
Legendary producer T Bone Burnett was at the studio console, overseeing a collection of the west coast’s finest musicians. Taking inspiration in part from the 1960s Britpop girls (Lulu, Dusty, Petula, Cilla, Sandie), as well as absorbing a wide palette of American roots influences, the record stands as May’s most varied collection of tunes to date.