‘The Meeting of the Waters’ is, believe it or not, Claire Hamill’s first new album of solo material since 2004’s ‘The Lost and the Lovers’. It has been a long time coming, but is well worth the wait.
This is an exciting time for Claire as what has probably become her most famous song, ‘You Take My Breath away’, is to be one of the lead tracks on the new ‘Best of Eva Cassidy’ album. Released just in time for Christmas.
And Claire is also in the process of writing her autobiography, due for publication in 2013. Now that should be an interesting read.
‘The Meeting of the Waters’ features several of the same local musicians as ‘The Lost and the Lovers’, including Phil Hudson on guitar and Russell Field on drums. Production is covered by Claire herself and Roland Clarke. And a good job they have done too.
The album kicks off with ‘Wild Swimming’ and the title track ‘The Meeting of the Waters’, both of which could be described as being very typical of what Claire is best known for. Well written, well constructed songs from the softer side of the musical spectrum.
But, this is far from being a one dimensional album and includes a great deal of variety amongst its 11 tracks. There are also a number of themes and topics running through many of the tracks. Namely drinking, Ireland, love and even a hint of sauciness as well.
‘Let’s Chase The Sun’ and ‘The Lily Field’ are far more upbeat and prove that Claire can write a decent pop song when she wants to. ‘The Lily Field’ sounded especially good as a live song at the recent launch gig for this album. You can find a review of that gig here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/reviews/gigs/claire-hamill-filo-october-28th-2012/
Talking of pop songs, next comes the album’s only cover version ‘Human’, originally written by The Killers. Apparently the idea of covering ‘Human’ was Claire’s daughter’s and a very good choice it is too. The song has been stripped down, emphasizing the lyrics and it sounds very different, but equally as good as the original. It also features some excellent harmonica playing from Jem Turpin, who pops up on other tracks as well.
We then come to two of my favourite songs and two of the most different too. ‘Irish Blanket’ is almost a jig and has some nice fiddle playing from Garry Blakeley. It also covers several of those themes mentioned earlier and includes some of the best lyrics on the album. Including ‘Kiss my neck, kiss my knee, kiss the part, that in the dark, only you can see’.
Now you can see what i meant by the hint of sauciness.
Next up we have ‘Pour Me Out Onto The Pavement’, which could only be a song about drinking couldn’t it? This is a song i’m sure many of us can relate to and it, once again, has some great lyrics. Such as “Call and come over, tomorrow when i’m sober and we can start drinking again”. Hic!
The lyrical quality continues with ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’, which is one of those songs that you’re sure you’ve heard before somewhere. It sounds that familiar and has the jazzy feel of a song from the 1950’s. It also contains the line “The boys are all wondering how long i can last, ‘till my animal instincts break their fast”.
I keep quoting the lyrics, but the whole of ‘The Meeting of the Waters’ is chock full of great lyrics and they are one of the albums highlights. They really jump out at you at times and i could have included many more examples here.
The Irish theme returns with ‘Derry Boy’, the penultimate track. which has real echoes of the classic ‘Danny Boy’ and even breaks into it at one point. Maybe Claire just couldn’t resist it?
Possibly saving the best until last, ‘The Meeting of the Waters’ closes with ‘Truth, Beauty and Happiness’, which is the perfect ending to what is a very good album. For me this is a better and more consistent album than ‘The Lost and the Lovers’ and most certainly bears many repeated listens.
‘Truth, Beauty and Happiness’ ends with the refrain “You were truth, beauty and happiness and the love in your eyes is what i live for”.
Sounds good to me.
For more info about ‘The Meeting of the Waters’, Claire Hamill herself and how to buy her music, both on CD and mp3, visit her website at: