Linley Weir - Just One More Time
(Self-released and available on iTunes. CD review by Sarah Chaplin)
Just One More Time is what Linley Weir herself describes as a transitional album, which sees her emergence as a songwriter and pays tribute to her Fijian mother who died not long before she was planning to record it. Tapping into the emotions that arose in the immediate aftermath of her mother’s passing has produced a wealth of new material, which she presents here with compelling candour and simplicity, giving voice not so much to the grief as to the vivid stories that are her mother’s legacy.
Working with these rawest of ingredients could make for an album that’s too personal, but Weir brings to it such warmth and humour, such wonderful phrasing and arranging, you can really hear how much her line-up are relishing each and every song. John Crawford’s piano accompaniment makes a great foil for Linley’s delectable voice, right from the opening track Big Oak Tree, a folk-like elegy to nature. She employs bassist Andy Hamill to great effect on the wry and sexy love song More Than Just Friends, and Island In The Sun features percussionist Jansen Santana in full South Seas-calypso mode. But the most inspired addition to her band is the versatile and understated Shanti Jayasinha on trumpet and cello, adding his own jazz lines to the storytelling with memorable solos on both instruments, ably augmented by Simon Pearson on drums.
My favourite track is the very catchy Mr Black which paints a picture of her mother in feisty form, determined to go ahead with her mixed-race marriage no matter what her Scottish fiancé’s family thinks. All the songs are originals with the exception of Ivan Lins’ The Island, but its inclusion here makes complete sense – not only biographically for Weir – but because it fits so well alongside her own songwriting and sounds like it was written especially for her unaffected, heart-centred approach, right down to her own backing vocals, which subtly blend and accentuate throughout the album. The final song, Goodnight My Queen, makes abundantly clear Weir’s future trajectory in terms of her melodic ability as a writer and as a singer, and shows us there is more in store from this accomplished Surrey-based musician.