Album Review: Imelda May ‘Mayhem’

I remember first watching Imelda May perform ‘Johnny Got A Boom Boom’ on Jools Holland in 2008. Her music was straight out of another time, a bass-heavy rockabilly band fronted by Imelda – a red-lipped, raven-haired Irish stunner. Now in her 30s, her career began at age 16, touring the Irish club circuit singing with blues bands, she was frequently barred from her own gigs for being underage. “I was getting tips from the best musicians in Dublin,” May said. “One of them said, ‘your voice is great, but it needs to roughen.” It was around this time, when driving a tearful Imelda to a gig, that her father asked her “”Is your heart broken? Excellent. Now you can sing the blues.”

‘Mayhem’, her third studio album, fuses rockabilly, jazz, Elvis and blues together – forging a refreshingly retro sound.

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