Essex born-and-bred beauty Gemma Ray is a singer-songwriter with a difference: her songs beguile you in the same way classic melodies do, yet somehow defy comparison. The heart-on-sleeve craftswomanship of her tunes allows full rein to roller-coasting intensity and twisted humour as she wraps her velvety vocals around little gems of pop, country, blues and gospel-inflected beauty. Such is the breathtaking scope of this album that its epic multi-layered sound has, you assume, the dedicated workforce of a full blown orchestra behind it, yet this beguiling mix of pop, country and blues is the work of Gemma Ray at home with co-producer Michael J Sheehy. Gemma’s first album, ‘The Leader’, though critically acclaimed, was fraught with setbacks. Recorded against a backdrop of illness, tours were cancelled and for the sake of her sanity the only way to abate the frustration was to keep recording and writing at home in London. Despite the circumstances, the darkness of her songwriting is seamlessly interlaced with humour, playfulness and beauty throughout. Make no mistake, doubters and stragglers will be converted and convinced by the kick-ass live show in which Gemma (now back on track and in good health) and her band take the songs to an even heightened level of hypnotism and drama. Recent shows saw audiences captivated by Gemma and her band, not least when she plays slide guitar not with a slide, but with a very intimidating ‘Psycho’-style knife. The album is preceded by the single 100 mph (in 2nd Gear) released on September 7th, and backed with 900 Miles, the Odetta cover that was used as the soundtrack to the BBC psycho-flick Mum & Dad.
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