Eleanor McEvoy,
(Blue Dandelion, 2001)

I don't know if Eleanor McEvoy is in touch with her feelings. She's certainly in touch with mine.

Anyone who listens even casually to the words on Eleanor's album Yola is sure to find an emotional connection there. Listen closely, and you may wonder if she's been tapping your phone or reading your diary. But no, I suspect the real truth is simply that Eleanor has the soul of a poet wrapped in the body of an incredibily talented singer-songwriter, and the combined package is hard to beat.

Eleanor has the ability to write happy love songs that are sincere, but never precious ("I've Got You to See Me Through," "Easy in Love," "I Hear You Breathing In"). She can write songs of troubled love ("Seasoned Love," "Dreaming of Leaving," "Leaves Me Wondering"), anger ("Isn't It a Little Late") and heartbreak ("Did I Hurt You," "The Rain Falls") that avoid the usual cliches.

And she can wrap a story up in music and deliver it with the intensity of a brick through your window; take for example "Last Seen October 9th," which explores the pain suffered by those left behind when a person vanishes without explanation.

The music is simply, but elegantly arranged, backing Eleanor's compelling vocals with her own guitar and fiddle licks, co-producer Brian Connor's keyboards, Liam Bradley's percussion and backing vocals, and Eoghan O'Neill's bass.

Vocally, a listener may hear shades of Suzanne Vega, Natalie Merchant and Jewel, but truthfully, I enjoyed Yola as a package more than anything I've heard by the other ladies I named. That's no slight against them, it's high praise for Eleanor McEvoy.

Yola is an outstanding album that mixes great vocals with emotional, often poignant lyrics and solid supporting music. It's a winner any way you look at it. I'm betting you will listen to it often, as I have been since the first time I slid it into my car stereo.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 16 November 2002

[ visit the artist's website ]

Buy it from Amazon.com.