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Julie Matthews - Slow

Fat Cat Records FATCD015

I know I'm not alone in preferring Julie's ballads to her up-tempo numbers - and I know that she's been aware of this through the feedback at gigs and via the website. So, in a sense this album was inevitable, and listening to it is an uplifting and satisfying experience. I was lucky to hear a preview of about half of these songs at Fylde last year when they were very new, and it's nice to hear the finished articles. As usual Julie has surrounded herself with the usual suspects - Chris and Kellie While and Howard Lees are particularly welcome collaborators. There's the customary reference to Angels - two if you count the chorus to The Unspoken Word "How do you fly with broken wings". Probably the best constructed song is an obvious salute to her mother, One Step to the Side, which is written from the heart.

Two songs didn't make the cut, which possibly explains why the album barely squeezes in at 46 minutes - kinda shortish in the modern CD age I would have thought - but I suppose she could argue 'never mind the width, feel the quality'. But I've heard her tighter in collaboration with others, and less sentimentally introspective on previous solo efforts (but not much less). You can, though, give her credit for the work she's expended in its construction writing all of the songs, producing, recording, mixing and mastering the entire job - now that's dedication or an inability to trust others, depending on your viewpoint.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 61 of The Living Tradition magazine.