There are voices. And then there are Voices. Shirley Collins definitely belongs in the latter category. She’s been captivating listeners ever since the late 1950s, when her debut Folkways LP, False True Lovers, was released. Of course, there was a serious lack of fresh Shirley music following the late 1970s, when a painful divorce caused her to lose her voice almost entirely (as detailed in the excellent recent documentary, The Ballad of ShirleyCollins).
Fortunately, we’re in the midst of a late-career renaissance for the singer. In 2016, she released Lodestar, which showed her vocals deepened with age, but just as powerful as ever. Maybe even more powerful. And now, Shirley has just announced a follow-up created in collaboration with the Lodestar band — Heart’s Ease, due out on Domino on July 24. Check out “Wondrous Love” below. Shirley’s interpretation of this early 1800s Sacred Harp hymn (with roots stretching back even further to the British isles) is beautifully patient, slide guitar doubling her voice, wrapping you in its gorgeous minor key melody. “Through all eternity, I’ll sing on,” she vows. We’re going to hold her to that promise. | t wilcox