Album Review – ‘Trails’ Roseanne Reid
By Mike Ritchie
There hasn’t been a time when Roseanne Reid didn’t want to write songs, to perform or to make records – and her pursuit of this has resulted in a glorious debut album, where her commitment, effort and determination have come together wonderfully.
Trails is a unerringly glowing flow of songs that veer from tender love songs like opener, Amy and the self-evident and emotional, I Love Her So, to the jaunty country of Take It From Me or the horizontal Out In Space, recorded with the lights down low and the blinds drawn in a New York studio, with Teddy Thompson producing.
His touch on the album is feather light as he frees Roseanne to deliver her songs without being entangled in intrusive or over-the-top arrangements. Roseanne’s vocals are beguiling: cracked and hesitant at times as on Heading North, a country-toned beauty set to a bed of organ and piano with shuffled drums and dreamy guitar in the middle.
She is slightly more strident on Hey River with its hints of Dylan intro. Once again there’s an intoxicating rhythm section on hand and floating guitar as she, unhurriedly, strolls through the verses. It’s a great song.
Out In Space is pin-sharp yet spaced out and dreamy with Roseanne reminding me of Ross Wilson (Blue Rose Code) as she sings and almost speaks in her natural, Scottish brogue: it’s utterly engaging as no-one seems in any hurry to get to the end for which we can be grateful.
I Love Her So, with confident horns and Motown mood, is so different from the solo, acoustic version she’s played at countless gigs over the years. But she dips into the Thompson-suggested groove effortlessly, a clear sign that performer and producer were seeing eye to eye, then a bit more.
Roseanne, from study visits to Steve Earle’s Camp Copperhead music writing sessions, has impressed him. So much so, he duets with her on the simply gorgeous, Sweet Annie. Originally written for a solo singer, two musical chums did a duet of it and suggested that Roseanne ask Steve Earle to lend his voice, and he did.
Her gentle yet impressive guitar gives way to her husky tones and then on the second verse, Earle joins in, rugged and supportive as only someone who has duets with a galaxy of fine female singers on his CV can. It is a totally brilliant and captivating track that’s quietly paced, with the vocals commanding attention throughout. Everyone will love Sweet Annie, I’m sure.
All in all, the 12 compositions on Trails showcase Roseanne Reid – eldest daughter of Craig Reid of The Proclaimers – as an accomplished writer and vocalist who brought Lucinda Williams to mind at times. Listening to this cracking debut is a ceaseless pleasure, with track after rewarding track. Her next musical trail will be keenly awaited.