Saturday, 1 October 2011
Review: Blue O'Connell
Blue O’Connell - Choose The Sky (Independent)
In 2009, after many years suffering loss of hearing, Blue O’Connell had cochlear implant surgery for her left ear and received a new digital hearing aid for her right ear. Since then O’Connell’s busied herself teaching music from her unique perspective and recording her new “Choose The Sky” album.
She’s a wonderful guitarist, taught by Robert Fripp, no less, and her words are intelligent and moving. You can hear her deafness in her voice, though it’s a minor distraction, and combined with gentle finger-picked strings, the effect is always profoundly musical, though not always easy to categorize – like a babbling stream or finger bells, or some ancient ‘60s free folk design.
Nevertheless, her songs follow narratives and are written to share her stories and experiences. The title track, which also opens the album, sets the tone quite brilliantly, and just in case you’ve not been paying attention, the records ends with “To Belong” which features a lyric that pulls no punches whatsoever. In between you’ll find much to love, not least instrumental tracks like “For the Lily Grows” and “Owl’s Dream”, both of which are just astounding – like hearing a long lost Davy Graham session for the first time.