Imelda May music review

This year’s Grammy Awards were dominated by a host of hammy theatrics

Music feature

Love Tattoo
4/5

This year’s Grammy Awards were dominated by a host of hammy theatrics, such as Pink’s aerial acrobatics. But the biggest, brassiest splash was made by Ireland’s Imelda May. The pompadoured belle sang beside Jeff Beck in a touching tribute to departed guitar hero Les Paul, with May stepping in for Paul’s former wife and musical partner, the late Mary Ford.

Like that trailblazing duo, May and her husband, guitarist Darrel Higham, serve up sweet and tangy country-fried nuggets. On Love Tattoo, the 35-year-old swings like a seasoned vet, the caress of her smoky voice carrying piano lullabies ‘Knock 123’ and ‘Meet You at the Moon’.

The Dublin native’s other uptempo originals cover a lot of ground, from rockabilly (‘Johnny Got a Boom Boom’) to jump blues (‘Smotherin’ Me’). Meanwhile, the tapping of a traditional Celtic drum propels the tender waltz ‘Falling in Love With You Again’. It’s an ace throwback – like Bonnie Tyler evoking Loretta Lynn – with no strings attached.
Areif Sless-Kitain. Available now online.

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