Lydia Ramsey “Flames For The Heart” (Independent, 2019)

The mellifluous vocals of Lydia Ramsey usher in her new album ‘Flames for the Heart‘ above gentle finger-picking and rustic percussion with a double promise “seems there’s a story untold – but we’ve come too far to turn back now / Seems there’s a hole in this heart – but we’ve come too far to turn back now“.  With a melancholic edge to her voice Lydia Ramsey appears to stand ready to make that leap into the future where hearts get filled and stories get written – but at the same time catches that nervous optimism that marks out a life-changing decision. It’s a start that feels like a direct continuation of Ramsey’s 2017 debut ‘Bandita‘ and when that means sensitive playing, gorgeous vocals and light as a feather but serious lyrics it’s hard to argue that this is not a good move.  Experimentation can come further down the line.

Eyes are a fruitful theme for Lydia Ramsey, on the last outing ‘Dreamy Eyes‘ was a blissful treat and on ‘Flames for the Heart‘  there’s the delightfully Mac-esque ‘Eyes for You‘, which sees the Seattle based singer crafting a perfect slice of sunny Californian rock, the words flicking along in perfect harmony with the drum beat.  It’s a perfect pure love song and live must be a definite crowd pleaser, with a perfect chunky but not overpowering lead guitar part as Lydia Ramsey embraces love wholeheartedly.   The album explores other aspects of relationships on songs such as  ‘Fire in Us‘ which dwells on the lonesome pain of being parted and ‘Heatwave‘ which captures the intensity of feelings when a loved one is just…so…annoying.  The interplay of drums and fiddle are particularly effective as Lydia Ramsey lays it out very simply with her emotive “Damn but you’re driving me crazy“, somehow capturing frustration and love in equal measures.

Not that Lydia Ramsey is  one topic gal – ‘Things get Better‘ brings her natural optimism to bear on the American political situation with a sympathetic acknowledgement that she is “tired of listening to this entitled ignorant man“.  Her promise, though, is that perseverance will win through – keep marching, keep opposing, keep voting and “things will get better in a little while“.   With her second release Lydia Ramsey has kept-up the high promise of her debut and has marked herself as an artist to pay attention to.

Lydia Ramsey returns with another fine collection of songs, beautifully sung and with a perfect backing band.
7/10

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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