Rosie Nimmo - Home (Kick My Heels Records)
Edinburgh-based Rosie has been singing jazz and blues for several years, mostly with the band Rosy Blue, but only comparatively recently has she felt sufficiently confident to chance airing her own songs in the public domain.
Rosie's first album of original material (which came out last year) sported a title, Lazy And Mellow, which proved a fairly apt description of her singing style: exactly as the press release claims, reminding one of qualities in the voices of Billie Holliday and Dory Previn. But I'm less influenced by those comparisons than I'm impressed with Rosie's own special alluring quality, an elegant combination of poise and depth that informs her approach to phrasing, and Home's opening track, the understated Never Go Back, perhaps best exemplifies those features. Later, the sophisticated-crooner side to Rosie's voice comes to the fore in tracks like the swooning Moonglow Music, while she also does a nice line in genial, slightly kooky pop stylings on Precious Mistakes and Timeclock.
Yet, while vocal versatility is definitely a byword for Rosie, her songwriting is also very persuasive in an understated kind of way, capably treading the fine line between reflection, personal self-examination and brooding observation. Just occasionally, as on Little Bird and Life Can Pin You To The Wall, you get the sense that Rosie doesn't quite dig deeply enough, and that she's on the very verge of coming up with a revelation; most of the time, though, her conciseness of expression is a virtue and proves more than sufficient to convey her feelings, as on the disc's sweetly anguished emotional centre, The End.
The delicate trio of songs comprising the evocative Home, the nostalgically carefree shuffling jazz of Being A Child Again (In The Snow) and the desperate Low Blue Way together form what's possibly the disc's most imaginative sequence, while at the other end of the scale, Listen To Your Own Voice couches its numbingly blatant message in a naggingly catchy melody and insistent poppish arrangement. And on the subject of arrangements, these have been masterminded by Hobotalk's Marc Pilley (who also plays guitars, drums and marimba), with further help from that band's keyboard wiz Ali Petrie, while respected fiddle player Mairi Campbell contributes meaningfully to just two of the songs, as does Emma Turley on cello.
Home is an exquisite disc, one whose songs really haunt you, grow into you almost subliminally and yet also have an immediate musical appeal.
David Kidman October 2010