Album Reviews

Brigid Mae Power – Dream From The Deep Well

(Fire) UK release date: 30 June 2023

Fourth album from Irish singer songwriter sees her acknowledging life’s hardships but also working to find signs of hope and resolution

Brigid Mae Power - Dream From The Deep Well Over recent years Irish singer songwriter Brigid Mae Power has proved herself a folk artist who is capable of blending the modern with the traditional. Fourth album Dream From The Deep Well sees her further consolidate this reputation, delivering a set of songs that are defined by an honesty and openness that makes it a relatable, down-to-earth listen.

Most would agree that the last few years have featured periods of difficulty and while Dream From The Deep Well sees her acknowledge these it also offers signs of hope. It’s another album where an air of sadness settles quietly over many of the songs but moments of beauty and relief also appear amid the hardship. “I was sick of the superficial nature of politics and music; it was written out of frustration at people who talk a lot but do nothing,” Power explained ahead of the album’s release.

Counting Down is perhaps the most immediate track and maybe the most representative of the album as a whole. It sees her touch on her experience as a mother in simple, moving fashion: “You give my life a rooted feeling, every step I take has meaning, when I’m getting you to school or your swimming lessons at the pool.” Maybe It’s Just Lightning meanwhile features a lighter arrangement on the guitar but relays a sad story, showing how a sense of struggle is never too far away.

The Waterford Song finds her sounding adrift and lost at sea while Ashling hits even harder, being about Ashling Murphy, a primary school teacher who was killed in Ireland in 2022. It’s a difficult listen but Power handles the subject sensitively and conveys the sense of sheer helplessness and injustice around the incident. I’ll Wait Outside For You proceeds at a slow, solemn pace with feelings of loneliness and alienation all too tangible. The title track brings relief however, possessing an exquisite sparseness to it that draws you into its delicate layers (it’s also one of the tracks that best showcase Power’s fragile, expressive voice).

Back in 2021 she released an EP of covers by the likes of Songs: Ohia, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Patsy Cline and Dream From The Deep Well also features renditions of songs of other artists. The album opens with a cover of I Know Who Is Sick by Irish folk band The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem and versions of Down By The Glenside by The Dubliners and I Must Have Been Blind by Tim Buckley follow. The latter feels particularly melancholic, aided by the backdrop of strings and piano.

It’s a heavy, lugubrious listen in places but is also the sound of an artist pursuing their art with integrity and investing themselves fully, showing that, while adversity can at times feel all encompassing, there are ways to overcome and find resolution.

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