Oz Hardwick of R2
reviews On Blue Stockings by Lauren McCormickSince the early demise of The Devil's Interval, Jim Causley and Emily Portman have each carved substantial niches for themselves, but Lauren McCormick seemed to have disappeared. That's finally rectified with the release of this solo debut, which stands every bit as tall as the best from her erstwhile bandmates.
Blessed with a strong, clear voice, McCormick delivers a compelling selection of traditional songs and contemporary material, including a fine brace of self penned songs. The traditional choices may not push the envelope, but 'Trees Grow High' plays nicely with pace and benefits from some busy flute and fiddle, while 'The Cuckoo' slips imaginatively into gypsy jazz territory courtesy of James Delarre's excellent guitar work. By contrast, A Sprig Of Thyme' is an exemplar of unaccompanied singing.
Leonard Cohen's 'Everybody Knows' is the pick of the well chosen contemporary material, but the original material shows McCormick to be no mean songwriter herself. A Song For My Mother', from which the album takes its title, is touching without being cloying, while 'Lucy: Meaning Light' offers a spirited take on the Bluebeard folktale. All this adds up to a storming album that's been well worth the wait.