One of the reasons I love doing this website is that you’re constantly exposed to new music.

Now, I’ll grant you that my love of the next thing probably comes from the fact I have the attention span of a 4-year-old, but to lift the curtain a bit, it kind of goes like this.

A chap that I have been getting ace music from for a decade sends an email – I’d like to call it to “MV Towers” like Kerrang used to back in the day, but it is actually a desk overlooking my garden – and says: “I am seeing you this as you like Americana.” He’s right. I do.

So that’s how you enter the world of Elaine Palmer for the first time. Raised in North Yorkshire, she splits her time between there and Phoenix, and that duality is all through “Half Moon Rising”. The wild, the windswept, but that unmistakable US sound.

The eight songs lure you in straight away with the gorgeous, “Heart And Soul”, which is warm, welcoming, and expansive and Palmer’s voice is perfect. She was made to sing songs like this.

She sounds fragile on “Love Like That” and the lap steel is stunning, indeed, the musicianship is from the top drawer throughout. Perhaps because she amassed a cast of exceptional players including Matt Lynott (The White Buffalo drummer), Bobby Furgo (Leonard Cohen’s violinist) Patrick McClory and Dave Berzansky (Hacienda Brothers’ pedal steel), Mike Butler (guitars).

 Even the sparse “So Long”, which is laden with the type of regret that only makes sense at 2 AM, somehow reassures you that it will be alright by the time the sun comes up and if the rumble of the drums on “Freeborough Hill” indicates trouble, even then for Palmer to sing “the will I had for this life it is long gone” still feels raw.

A feeling that she’s given so much of herself to this is never far away. Capable of poetic verses too. The imagery on “Let Me Fall” is wonderful, while “Not Lost” belies its title by sounding like it’s searching for something. Whether it finds it or not, I guess time will tell,

“Youth is wasted on the young” she sings in “On The Way Up” and this one soars with a genuine, real hope.

It’s fitting that it ends with some simply gorgeous, gentle folk, and “The Last Dance” sounds like it would crumble like ancient parchment.

I am not going to insult Elaine Palmer by a) comparing her to anyone else or b) pretending that I know her other work. What I can say for absolutely definite is that there is something magical in the glow of “Half Moon Rising.”

Rating 9/10

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