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Evon Brennan - Small Mercies

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 17 / 7 / 2006



Evon Brennan - Small Mercies
Label: Select Label
Format: CD

intro

Autobiographical debut album from Irish-born singer-songwriter and outstanding major new talent, Evon Brennan


Another new name and another name to watch out for. Born of an Irish Mother and African Father and living in Ireland from the age of two months, Brennan was placed into religious care. Feeling alienated Brennan, as many do, built up her own world and turned to music. After leaving school where she learnt piano she moved to London after a spell touring Ireland with a band she joined. After London Evon worked as a backing vocalist touring Africa and America. Moving to Santa Monica seemed to be a turning point in her life. Performing in clubs she also started writing songs about her background and what it meant being black and Irish. After a couple of years Evon returned to London to perform on her own and has since appeared at The Cambridge Folk Festival. The ten songs on this album tell Evon’s story to date. But don’t feel that this is some type of concept album or an album that is hard to appreciate due to the personal nature of the songs. It’s not an album which has to be listened to all the way through to understand what Evon has been through; to discover where she is heading. It can also be listened to on a much lighter level. While the lyrics obviously pay an important part of the album two other things hit home first. The first is Evon’s vocals. I’ve been trying to find some kind of reference, some other female singer who sounds like Evon. So far I’ve been unable to do that. No names come freely to mind. There’s no roughness to Evon’s vocals, no sharp edges. There’s smoothness, a certain calmness although there is also passion showing through at all times. Evon doesn’t resort to the screaming or the screeching, the vocal aerobatics which have passed for singing over the last few years. The girl can sing, really sing and has no need to shatter ear drums or send the dog off running for cover to get her point across. The other thing that stands out before one realises that the lyrics play an important part of the album is the way Evon has with writing melodies. You could almost sing along to these songs after just one listen. The melodies are that strong. And all the songs are written by Evon. So with those outstanding vocals and heavenly melodies fighting for your time it does take a while before the importance of Evon’s lyrics fully sink home. That’s not a bad thing. On paper it could seem that these songs covered a heavy topic, one which many of us can’t really relate to and therefore wouldn’t necessarily give much time to. But those melodies pull you in and within the first minute of the opening song, ‘Call Upon’, Evon’s sweet and unique vocals have won you over. After a few repeated plays, and this is an album which will rarely be far away from the CD player, it’s time to concentrate on those lyrics and then we realise that Evon is a major talent when it comes to writing intelligent, thought provoking lyrics. In other hands a song like ‘Pauline’ which tells the tale of a school friend of Evon’s, whose death was never properly explained and who was buried in a paupers grave by the nuns, would be over sentimental but again it’s not the lyrics which register first. It’s the melody, brilliantly played on the piano by Evon, and that pure voice which capture you before you realise what a heartbreaking tale Evon is singing. This is an absolutely outstanding debut, and one that is going to appeal to a wide audience. Evon’s vocals are perfect, the playing first class and the lyrics are always strong. But those melodies are something else. Can you imagine singing along to a song about the Irish Government’s ‘Order Of Detention’ as it played on the radio? Listen to ‘Long Long Ago’; it’s not impossible to imagine that floating over the airwaves due to the outstanding melody and the strong chorus and sing along to it you would. This album has been a major discovery for me and introduced me to a singer who is very near the top of my favourite female singers list right now.



Track Listing:-
1 Call Upon
2 Do Not Worry
3 Daniel
4 Waiting
5 Pauline
6 Anxiety
7 Long Long Ago
8 To Love Again
9 Come On
10 Too Good



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