It’s four years since we heard new music from Imelda May and so today has been an eagerly awaited release date. Imelda May is a globally revered Irish artist who brings it all. Jazz, rockabilly, blues and rock’n’roll are the musical DNA of an artist who started singing blues inspired by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday and then as she developed into one of our best songwriters seemed to be influenced by the honesty and emotion of writers like Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith and, of course, the legend that is Phil Lynott. When these influences are thrown into a musical cauldron and mixed with a voice that oozes raw emotion, the results are pure witchcraft.
Imelda prides herself on being involved in almost every aspect of a track. She has often said that one of the last things she will do is put the vocals down on a track, preferring to write the music, write the lyrics, work on the production and the arrangement. She’s a woman who knows what she wants, she knows what she wants to sound like, she knows exactly what she wants to hear. She strives for perfection and she expects anyone who collaborates with her to bring the same attitude to the party. Producers as world renown as T-Bone Burnett, who rose to fame as a guitarist for Bob Dylan before producing the breath-taking American series for Johnny Cash, and Tony Visconti, famous for working with David Bowie among others, have worked with this wonderful artist to great effect.
So, when it comes to the perfect collaboration for a first single in four years, Imelda May knows exactly what she wants. But, there’s what you want and what you get, and anyone who has been lucky enough to see this incomparable artist live knows by the way she bewitches a crowd that she’d probably get what she wanted. So she called on friends and legends Noel Gallagher and Ronnie Wood to bring the goods. She said that Noel brought “a great vibe and kick ass voice” whilst Ronnie Wood was “ joyous to be around” and knew “intuitively when something (was) working”.
The track ‘Just One Kiss’ has a driving rock beat that is perfectly complemented by Wood’s distinctive guitar style and Gallagher’s vocals. Full to overflowing with sensuality and raw emotion, there are shades of Chrissie Hynde at her peak in Imelda’s vocals but this release finds her reaching her usual brilliant standard as her rich, husky voice cuts through the alley cat rock vibe to immediately sound anthemic.
The single is taken from the new album ‘11 Past The Hour’ which will drop in April giving us all something to look forward to in these uncertain times because if the single proves anything, it proves we can rely on the quality and class of Imelda May. The album will showcase Imelda May at her most authentic with contributions from feminist thinkers and activists like Gina Martin and Dr. Shola Moss-Shogbamimu.
It’s an album that melds rock’n’roll with purpose and message, just like the original influencers Dylan and Cohen. Named after the witching time of 11 minutes past 11, it will draw on all of Imelda’s journey through her previous five albums to reach new heights and I personally can’t wait.
‘Just One Kiss’ is out now, and can be streamed and downloaded here. ’11 Past The Hour’ is set for release 23 April via Decca. You can watch the video below: