May 28, 2024

Spirit, a new album by Deborah Bonham on Spectra Records.

This I believe is Bonham’s fourth album and marks her move to US
label, Spectra Records. Recorded in Chichester, England and Nashville, USA, mixed by Mike Poole, and co-produced by Glenn Skinner, it features twelve tracks. They vary in vocal and musical style but most definitely veer towards a late sixties, early seventies West Coast aesthetic.

The album opens with ‘Fly’, featuring mandolin, cello and soaring vocals. However, I felt some unease with this opener and questioned whether it should have been the introduction to the album.

However, despite this, track two, ‘Painbirds’ blew me away. An outstanding track and one that must be brilliant live. For the remainder of the album one senses Debbie’s influences. The Eagles inform on ‘Take me Down’, with its distinct ‘Take it Easy’ vibe and The Byrds possibly inspire ‘I Won’t Let You Down’.

Of the others, ‘ Skip Now’ with its superb guitar playing perfectly complements Bonham’s soulful voice and ‘Killing Fields’ with its  strong rhythm and a rumbling bass line further strengthens the album.  ‘What it Feels’ sees special guest Robert Plant throwing in a fine piece of blues harp and  ‘I Need Love’ displaying Bonham’s soulful voice at its best whilst the blues of ‘Good Times’ has some great  haunting slide guitar. Final track ‘Lay Me Down’ shows the Nashville influence and is quite distinct from the earlier rockers yet it’s a fine ending to the album.

Overall, an impressive album but I have to admit that it took a lot of listening to reach that point. Apart from ‘Painbirds’ nothing really struck me on the first few listens. I felt it patchy and lacking. However, in the end, she won me over and I now look forward to seeing her live.

Touring dates can be found on her webpage