There are certain people who are born artists.
Take Judy Dyble.
The release of her fifth solo album, Flow and Change, marks her return to the genre she seems born to inhabit. If anything her voice is more distinctive, nuanced and angelic than it was all those decades ago.
It always seems terribly unfair to compare vocalists but in the absence of a music clip try to imagine the sound of a softer Candice Night, Richie Blackmore’s wife and musical partner in Blackmore’s Night, mixed with the pop sensibilities of Sarah McLachlan and just a hint of Joan Osborne’s jazz phrasing.
Dyble has assembled an embarrassment of musical riches to bring the album’s 10 songs to life. The array of players and collaborators (19 if you count Dyble) include Matt Malley (Counting Crows), Juianne Reagan (All About Eve), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), and Mike Mooney (Spiritualized).
Dyble and her frequent co-writer Alistair Murphy, who also produced and engineered this album, have steered the sound to a lush mix of strings, gentle percussion and violin. The album was sequenced so songs with intricate arrangements are carefully woven among the more gentle arrangements. Dyble’s rich, vibrant voice is the connective tissue that binds the songs into a cohesive tapestry.
And what a voice it is. Much has rightly been written about “Black Dog Dreams,” the lead song on the album. Nowhere does Dyble let her vocals soar than on that song, amid t guitar chords and keyboards reminiscent of Trans Siberian Orchestra. The song is a true triumph of prog folk.
Though other songs such as “Head Full of Stars” and “Letters” are not as intricately arranged, they are still gloriously vibrant and incredibly listenable.
How lucky we are that after a 30-year hiatus and some false starts, Dyble is back creating her own form of glorious British folk.
Hear snippets of Dyble’s latest album on the artist’s site or orderFlow and Change via Amazon by clicking the blue album link.
– Nancy Dunham
October 20, 2013