Anne Lister - A Twist In The Story

Anne Lister - A Twist In The Story
Hearthfire HF008

The eighth solo album from Anne Lister is a mixed bag of songs from this excellent singer-songwriter - some old, some new, some inspired by folklore, some inspired by people she met while running storytelling workshops in prison. Don’t let that put you off! Anne makes it highly accessible by filling the collection with melodies, chord changes and rhythms, along with a deceptive use of language, that makes the songs instantly join-inable.

The two songs previously recorded when she was half of Anonyma, How To Stand Still and Stone Circles, are beautifully arranged and performed here, thanks in part to, respectively, Jacey Bedford and Jo Freya, and Steafan Hannigan on, respectively, low whistle and uillean pipes.

Whether complex and atmospheric - such as on The Ghost or King Herla - or stark - as in the unaccompanied White Powder - the arrangements sympathise with the songs, bringing variety to the album but also making it work as a whole. Well done also to Matt Crum (keyboards and sax) and Mike O’Connor (concertina and fiddle) for their part in the chemistry. Only time will tell if there are any new songs here as enduring as Moth or Icarus, but the CD ends with a contender in the form of Who Will Dance. It could easily be a traditional song but uses a non-traditional arrangement and deals with the pain of bereavement in a curiously uplifting way.

Underlying most of the tracks on the album is Anne’s understated and underrated finger-style guitar and the nice, clean recording is by Brian Bedford.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 84 of The Living Tradition magazine.