Eddi Reader Peacetime

This modern day angel has one foot firmly planted in folk pop music and the other in traditional Scottish and Celtic fare. Peacetime, her sixth solo record, elevates already high standards, moving them ever forward in a 15-track opus that richly reveals a singer/songwriter/arranger in full control of her every move. Collaborating with the ever-brilliant Boo Hewerdine has yielded new jewels in the form of "Muddy Water,” "Safe as Houses,” the title track and the jaw-dropping "Ontario,” which could single-handedly boost provincial tourism off the map. Reader’s honey-kissed, highly feminine voice remains front and centre, supported by acoustic instrumentation, with the added flourish of pennywhistle, strings, accordion, fiddle, brass and keys as the mood requires. The traditional cause is held high with re-workings of Robert Burns’ "Leezie Lindsay” and "Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon,” yet the strength of the musical marriage of Hewerdine’s pen to Reader’s vocals tips the scales strongly in favour of the more contemporary works — their hooks dig deep and Reader’s accomplished, classically-trained voice hits mark after mark with the force of a seasoned singer crossed with sultry seductress. Even the slightly offbeat inclusion of a song written by her brother and popularised by his Trashcan Sinatras, "Prisons,” becomes a lovely, airy duet with John Douglas. With far more hits than misses, Reader seems able to control the outcome of everything she tackles, making each composition her own while seamlessly binding one to the next. Enchanting and entrancing.