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Eddi Reader

SIMPLE SOUL (Compass) • Eddi Reader

As happens with many great records of many great artists, I missed this the first time I listened, some time ago. There are so many wavelengths to be traveling upon, it's a wonder when they cross.

Today the voice and the songs of Eddi Reader are so precious to me, I can't imagine what I must have been thinking. I must have been thinking, in fact, that's probably where I missed it.

The CD has a sound I much admire, backroom genius by great musicians and producers of folk based groove music. It's a simple record that belies a thorough grasp of folk, country and pop music, and much more.

I saw Eddi play one time a few years ago in Nashville, with her UK friends and Compass labelmates Boo Hewerdine and Clive Gregson, both of whom we are soon to cover. All three are incredibly gifted and adept singer songwriters. The artist herself is quite an arresting figure with a hypnotic sway on stage, I was transfixed by her way with herself, and with a song. She has a perfect kind of voice, the EQ of it is so pleasing to my ears, aside from being an instrument of rare expression. That's the way I feel about Molly Felder's voice, from Swan Dive, and Molly has told me that Eddi is her favorite singer.

In most of these excellent songs, Eddi's longtime partner Boo Hewerdine is her cowriter, that's some pairing. (Boo has also cowritten some fabulous songs with Bill DeMain of Swan Dive, see our reviews and interview.) The record was recorded and produced in drummer/percussionist Roy Dodd's backroom, Driftwood, with eight or nine gifted players, including Boo Hewerdine.

This fabulous artist has quite a few records out, and needs to be looked into by lovers of great female singers. There are three at the website of Compass records, and more to be heard by her previous group, Fairground Attraction. We consider Eddi Reader a big find. Check out some clips on our Listen page. Go on.  • FG

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