FOR THE first time since her dramatic reinvention - ditching the rockabilly queen image for a sultry, black clad, look - Imelda May plays Galway, with a concert taking place next week.
The Dubliner originally made her name as a rock'n'roll/rockabilly revivalist, but she has since traded her quiff for bangs, and 1950s style music for a broader palette exploring blues, soul, gospel, folk, rock, acoustica, and balladry, while also writing her most personal and intimately autobiographical songs to date.
Her new direction was heard on her most recent album, Life Love Flesh Blood. "It's all in there: birth, sex, love, divorce and death," she says. "It's the story of my life. I wanted to go straight to the bone. I had a lot to write about. Life changes, falling out of and falling in love again. Most songwriters use writing as a form of counselling. It's therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of people read.”
She has also taken the opportunity to explore her voice to its full potential. "I've always loved women in rock and roll, and when I started I just wanted to go for it," she said, "but I've done my screeching. It was time to really sing.”
Imelda has worked with such leading musicians as T Bone Burnett, Jeff Beck, Smokey Robinson, Tom Jones, David Gilmore, Wanda Jackson, Lulu, Robert Plant, and Jools Holland, while Bono said this about the woman from the Liberties: “I love the girl she used to be but I think I love even more the woman she’s become. There’s an ache in her voice now that has me with a glass at my ear to the wall of her world where trouble has entered the room."
Imelda May plays a 'Róisín Dubh presents...' concert in Leisureland, Salthill, on Tuesday December 19 at 7pm. Tickets are from www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.