Eddi Reader headlines the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing on October 22 on the back of her new album Cavalier.
Featuring 16 songs, including recently-performed live favourites Wonderful, My Favourite Dress, Starlight and Maiden’s Lament, the new album was recorded and produced in Glasgow by Eddi and by John Douglas – just under an hour of new music incorporating both contemporary and traditional songs.
Speaking just before its release, Eddi said: “I am in that moment of anticipation. Since I gave my stamp of approval to the mastering and the running order, I have just got to try to think about other things! It is just one of those things – you just don’t know what its journey is going to be.
“It was four years since I had been in a studio properly recording. I had bits and bobs that I had not used before, and I thought maybe I could make a torch album, but you just start and the ideas come and things change as you go along. You start with the itch and you just scratch it! You are not just letting it happen in the sense that you don’t know where you are going. I did know what it was that I wanted to capture. The sessions for this album were maybe three sessions and within that I managed to cull about 27 songs and out of that I got rid of maybe three. And then I chose 16, but there are at least five that I am desperately interested in getting used somewhere. They will not be lost.
“But I think if there is a theme on the album, it would be sanctuary. In Deirdre’s Farewell to Scotland, she is a girl in pre-history mythology seeking sanctuary, and at the time I was recording, there was a lot in the news about refugees. I was totally appalled to see babies drowned on the beach, as everyone would be.”
And that’s where music comes in. People can be quite animalistic and cold faced with such tragedies.
“Music has always been about bringing our heart back to the surface of our humanity. I have been listening to the song What’s It All About, Alfie. And there are the lines: Without true love we just exist, Alfie; Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie. Humanity doesn’t come without love. It’s a song that is a slap in the face to shake us into being kind again.
“The song Go Wisely on the album is a list of everything that my family used to tell me, things like always have the bus fare home, always be good to yourself. It was all the truths from home to send you out into the world, with all those truths ringing in your ears. It is about nurturing. It is about going out there, about the world being your oyster.”
Music helps give us that connection: “And so does story-telling. People say what is the difference between a poem and a song. There is part of poetry that is always going to inform, but with a song, you are being dragged along to the conclusion. The poem is revealing something, but the song is not so much the revelation as just pushing you into the water and you have to swim before it saves you and then suddenly you are refreshed and revitalised. That’s why I love singing poems so much.”