Imelda May's fifth studio record, entitled Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, is set for release via Verve Records.
It is clear that one of Ireland's biggest exports has found a new groove, here presenting the most personal and intimately autobiographical album she has ever written. The album is produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett, who said of Imelda: "When I first happened onto her music, she was a punky Irish Rockabilly singer with a great band. When I ran across her several years later, she had gone through a change of lives and was writing about it with a wild intensity and singing about it in the most open-hearted way."
The album marks a new direction for May who, in the time since her 2014 release Tribal, ended her marriage of eighteen years. Imelda May's new sound sits firmly outside of any sharply defined genre box, widely spanning blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz. Life, Love, Flesh, Blood breathes new life into a classic sound, with Imelda's powerhouse vocal as distinctive as ever, cementing her position as one of the strongest vocalists of her generation. The singer herself describes the record as her most "honest" yet. Imelda's life changed considerably in the run-up to recording, and this is documented in the only way she knew how. Imelda explains, "It's therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of people read. Some of my favorite songs don't say much, but they reveal everything."
Recorded over seven days in Los Angeles, the album features musical contributions from guitar hero Jeff Beck ("Black Tears"), piano legend Jools Holland ("When It's My Time") and an accomplished group of backing musicians including the core trio of guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John & Leon Russell, Ray Lamontagne) and bassist Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets, Mini Mansions), the same band that recorded Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand.
First single "Black Tears" is a personal and heart-wrenching ballad, it features a distinctive slide guitar part, coupled with a unique picking and guitar tone that could be the handiwork of only one man - the legendary Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck says of Imelda, "I knew it from the start you cannot ignore talent this unique."
Imelda showcases her raw yet restrained breathtaking lead vocal, complimented by rich backing vocals and a super tight rhythm section. Written with Angelo Petragalia (Kings of Leon), the inspiration for the song's visual and poignant lyrics was inspired by a very personal moment for Imelda: "I wrote Black Tears with Angelo Petraglia after a heart-wrenchingly difficult goodbye. I closed my door and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror with black tears rolling down my face. It's a sight and situation most women have unfortunately seen ourselves in at some point in life. Angelo had a beautiful guitar piece that fit the mood perfectly."
Imelda May, born and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, has become one of Ireland's most celebrated female artists in history. Discovered by Jools Holland, who asked Imelda to support him on tour, Imelda has gone on to perform alongside legendary artists including Lou Reed, Bono, and Smokey Robinson.
1. Call Me
2. Black Tears (feat. Jeff Beck)
3. Should've Been You
4. Sixth Sense
6. How Bad Can A Good Girl Be
7. Bad Habit
9. When It's My Time (feat. Jools Holland)
10. Leave Me Lonely
11. The Girl I Used To Be