Sophie Parkes of EDS (EFDSS)
reviews On Blue Stockings by Lauren McCormickher debut album’s subject matter: the bluestockings, who dared to question the social and political agendas of eighteenthcentury society.
It is the headstrong characters and their determined decision making, or the boldness of ideas and observations, which have evidently led to the singer choosing the material for this collection, and so Lauren’s voice is very much brought to the fore. Accompanying instruments are pared down and dropped back – if they appear at all. ‘The Sprig of Thyme’, for example, is beautifully presented unaccompanied, given all the credence of a national anthem. The listener can only imagine Lauren’s head held high, her arms raised, as she reaches out for ‘the lily’. In light of this rendition, her thanks to Norma Waterson in the album acknowledgements make perfect sense, as does her proclamation that it might be her ‘all time favourite song’.
Few young performers putting out their first album would dare to showcase one of their own songs unaccompanied – but such is Lauren’s skill and experience that ‘A Song for My Mother’ could quite easily be mistaken for a song passed down through the generations, should the listener not refer to the liner notes. Though the lyrics initially depict an uncertain protagonist, ‘sometimes I wish I was young enough to hold my mother’s hand’, it soon becomes a celebration of the strength and prowess of her ‘bluestocking friend’, her mother.
On Bluestockings doesn’t push any boundaries or seek to experiment with sounds or styles, but fulfils exactly what the listener envisages the singer set out to do: neatly arranged, confidently sung songs which explore a theme that intrigues and inspires the singer.