Album review: Mary Black - Stories From The Steeples

One of Irish music’s enduring stars returns with a batch of songs imbued with emotional wisdom and vivid storytelling.

This latest album from one of the premier Irish singers reveals a woman in sure-footed form.

With narratives and snapshot pictures enriched by a voice festooned with emotion and experience, Stories From The Steeples ebbs and flows, froths and heaves like the Irish Sea itself.

Mountains To The Sea is sung with Imelda May, a feisty and uplifting ode to the traveller in all of us decorated with the finger-picked acoustic guitar and piano that informs many of these songs.

‘Put the past away, save it for a sunny day,’ she sings wearily in the bleak, regretful Faith In Fate, a cloud enlivened with a silver lining of hope, surging vocals and strings, that makes it one of the standout tracks here.

Classic songwriting, executed with poise.

3 stars