Eddi Reader keeps it fresh as she returns to Town Hall

The superb Scottish singer, Eddi Reader.
The superb Scottish singer, Eddi Reader.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@gmail.com

When music works well for Eddi Reader, the Scottish singer who first came to fame with the 1980s folk-pop band Fairground Attraction, says it’s “as natural as breathing”. And, in general, there is an effortlessness to the Glaswegian’s performances, something Galway audiences will get to enjoy in the City’s Town Hall Theatre on Friday, February 9. That show is part of a nine-date Irish tour, which is typical of her trips to Ireland. Why does she go for longer tours here?

“I feel a kindredness with the Irish and their stories,” Eddi explains. “The Glasgow story, there was a massive Irish influence there. I didn’t think I could play in Ireland, but years ago someone suggested that ‘people would come and see you if you played in the smaller art centres. You mightn’t have been in the charts for a while, but people will still come out to see music’. I don’t need to have been on Strictly Come Dancing!

“I don’t need the big pop audience,” she adds. “I like that I can to know that I can survive as a musician, doing music, earning a living, having fun and not having any pressure. Ireland offered me that.”

Even when Eddi is away from the stage or the studio, music is intrinsic to her life.

“It’s a kind of temperature gauge for my emotional spectrum,” she says. “If I’m feeling really relaxed, I’ll notice that I’m singing while I’m washing the dishes. If I’m feeling stressed, I don’t tend to sing.  For music and me, the relationship seems to be like a little thermometer. It comes out when I feel relaxed, happy, carefree. Open to the possibilities of the day.”

Eddi Reader’s shows are exemplary displays of folk music, but she is also influence by classic jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

“I like 78 records,” she says. “I got a present once from my lovely husband John, he bought me one of those amazing wind-up gramophones. It’s amazing, it sounds like the band is in your living room. And none of it plugs into any electrical grid, it’s just there!

When it comes to her own recordings, Eddi’s most recent release was 2014’s Vagabond.  Has she been working on a follow up?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.