Liane Carroll - Slow Down

Splash Point Records SPR004CD    ****
Liane Carroll (v, p, Wurlitzer) and Ian Shaw (p). Rec. 23 April 2007

There can’t be many more pleasurable ways of spending an hour than in the company of Slow Down, Liane Carroll’s latest collection of 14 hand-picked ballads. Including material recalled from her childhood and teenage years, the singer’s most personal recording to date features one spine-tingling song after another.
Liane Carroll - Slow Down
From the insistent falling fifth which launches the gorgeous opener ‘Memphis in June’ to the moving tableaux of the Tom Waits-penned closer, ‘Take It With Me’, the singer delivers the set with an unswerving honesty and molten intensity. Whether burningly expressive in ‘All The Way’, playfully lyrical in Donovan’s ‘Catch The Wind’ or heartbreakingly sincere in the emotional tour de force of ‘If I loved You’ (featuring her great friend Ian Shaw in the piano chair), Carroll has you hanging on her every note.

The singer’s inventive approach to standards is evidenced by the kaleidoscopic textures and varied moods of ‘Willow Weep For Me’ – slowly chiming chords one moment, a sinuous groove the next. One of the singularly most powerful records I’ve heard all year. This, you feel, is the album that Carroll has been waiting to record her whole life.

Peter Quinn