Irish singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy may be best known for her 1992 hit ‘Only A Woman’s Heart’ - but those who saw her play live in the Marble Hall at Mount Stuart on Saturday will quickly tell you that there are many more strings to the McEvoy bow.
Few of those strings make more of an impact, though, than those used on her dramatic entrance, in which she descended the stunning marble staircase playing a haunting fiddle melody which immediately grabbed the attention of everyone in the hall.
Making an eagerly-awaited return to Bute after gigs in the Mount Stuart Crypt in 2011 and at Craigmore Bowling Club in 2012, McEvoy is nearing the end of a hectic schedule of 2013 tour dates including performances in Australia, the US, Ireland and throughout the UK - but if she’s suffering any signs of fatigue, they didn’t show at any time in a spellbinding set which took the audience on a whirlwind tour of different genres, influences, instruments and themes.
The show included a selection from McEvoy’s most recent album, If You Leave, as well as choice picks from a back catalogue which features 11 records released since that 1992 smash hit.
High points from a set full of energy, passion, wit and feeling included Land In The Water, from the new album, which used space travel as a metaphor for success; For Avoidance Of Any Doubt, a wry look at what might happen when a solicitor’s letter meets the language of love; Look Like Me, a riposte to the cults of celebrity and fashion; and all-too-brief tastes of traditional Irish dance tunes and deep-down throaty blues.
Two encores, of Bob Dylan’s I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight and Joni Mitchell’s Carey, were the icing on a very tasty cake at the end of a top-drawer night of live entertainment, for which appetites were whetted by an excellent solo support set from local artist Gerry Geoghegan, best known as one third of Bute band Rise, who included a self-penned selection alongside traditional Scottish tunes and material from Rise’s two albums