Emerald Rae 'If Only I Could Fly' – Green Jewel

Hailing from the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts this talented songwriter with the arresting name, arrives on the musical radar with a strong statement of intent. Twelve self- penned songs are played exclusively by Emerald Rae with Fiddle, Guitar, Foot Percussion and a Crwth, an ancient Scottish fiddle, for company.

There is richness in the playing and vocal delivery, which makes for an engaging listen and the Celtic influence in the arrangements, blended with old American folk infusions, results in a surprising debut.

Listening to the title track, If Only I Could Fly, you are transported to another time and place with an engaging, almost Asian influence to the beat. Followed quickly by the standard guitar strum of Sweet Arrest, a sweet melody and interesting lyric, concerning an offer to kill a lover rather than go on fighting. Suddenly you are hooked into the spell of these tunes and find yourself waiting with interest for the next instalment.

The primal sound of the Cruth instrument is very compelling and sets a base line for the more melodious instrumentation which is laid over it. Fire Fly is a perfect example with an instrumental that has me instantly tapping my foot until the build- up leaves no choice but to leave my chair and dance around my table like some dervish. Heady stuff indeed

  Go Dig My Grave is absorbing in its melody and tempo and reminds me of the best Ani Di Franco tunes in the intensity. Summer Time Will Come and Sugar Baby are two traditional songs that are also brought to modern life by the fine playing of this talented artist.

Finishing this song collection with two really strong tracks in the instrumental Moon Dance and the reflective message of The Way That I Am Now; Emerald Rae delivers a very individual and interesting release. What she does next is going to be worth watching but she certainly has set the bar high indeed.