By David Hennessy
“Now for lack of a better word, I’m free so I can release my own music and actually own it,” twice BBC Folk Awards nominee Heidi Talbot tells The Irish World.
Heidi’s latest album, 2013’s Angels Without Wings, saw the former Cherish the Ladies singer writing a large portion of the material for the first time. Universally acclaimed, this collection will be her last for Compass Records with Heidi and husband.collaborator John McCusker renovating a cottage near their Scottish home into a recording studio as well as establishing their own record label.
“It has to go that way because the record companies don’t give big advances now, they can’t afford to give you loads of money to make a record and with Angels Without Wings, the result of that was I had to put in some of my own money to make the record that I wanted to make so it’s obviously much better if you’re investing your own money that you own the music.
“If you’re funding it, you have to own it but when you’ve signed your contract and told them you’ll do four albums, you have to. That’s a whole other can of worms. I’m delighted to be starting a new chapter in that respect of releasing it ourselves and having more control.
“We made the record that we wanted to make and I hope that that will always be the way. That you won’t feel that you have to set yourself a goal inside certain barriers that will fit what they think will be more radio friendly. You get different advice from different people. One woman told me before I should make a record of three minute songs because radio only play a song that’s three minutes long, or whatever.
“It (the studio’s completion) will be later this year all going well and I’m hoping to release a new record sometime in 2015.”
This week sees Heidi beginning her latest tour. Beginning in her home town of Kildare, Heidi will then play many UK dates: “No better place to start than home. I’m really looking forward to it and it’s the first gig I’ve done in Kildare in years. I think the last time I played in Kildare was maybe five years ago supporting Eddi Reader so it’s great to go back doing my own show and all my family and friends and relations are all coming out to the gig so it will be a good night and a great start to the tour.
“I think this will be my last UK tour with Angels without wings and then it’s time to put this to bed and make a new record and the next UK tour I do will be with some new music.”
So has work on a new album begun yet? “Well we’re in the very early stages of it. There’s lots of musical ideas coming and going and being passed around. I’m not sure which way it’s going to go. It’s in the very early stages of ideas and little bits of songs and it starts to become more apparent I think when we get a band together and you start playing together and see how things are sounding, whether something is working or not. If an idea is working, you build on that and you abandon something else.”
Angels without Wings included collaborations with Jerry Douglas, Mark Knopfler, Tim O’Brien and King Creosote. Can we expect some special guests on this forthcoming tour? “We have Ian Carr on guitar and for London we have a special guest coming but I don’t want to name names. Along the way we’ll have different guests. For the majority of the gigs, it’s always a trio but for some of the larger venues, we’ve got a couple of guests coming in to help us out.”
Heidi plays Edge Hill University in Ormskirk on April 9, South Street Arts Centre in Reading on April 10, Fleece Hotel in Boxford on April 12, Caroline Social Club inShipley Bradford on April 13, National Centre for Early Music in York on April 14, Eastgate Theatre in Peebles on April 17, Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline on April 18, Cornerstone in Didcot on April 24, Blackheath Concert Hall Recital Rooms on April 25, The David Hall South Petherton, Somerset on April 26, Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon on April 27, Norwich Arts Centre on April 29. For more information, go to: http://www.heiditalbot.com/.