Begun a decade ago ‘Still Time,’ sat on the shelf as Matheson’s life unfolded personal loss, brought back during the difficult days of lock down, reflection meant focus updated the tracks and completion. Over seen by husband Donald Shaw who handles multiple instruments and produces, the results are gentle, atmospheric items which rise, fall and flow in acoustic ambiance.
Covering material from an eclectic list including Robert Burns, a very effective if familiar ‘Ae Fond Kiss,’ Love & Money’s James Grant, the punchy anti war song ‘ The Glory Demon,’ and perhaps most appropriately given her Gaelic heritage, Runrig’s brilliant ‘Recovery,’ which set the whole highland and island revival in motion. It’s rolling guitar, social history and ache in the vocal loses none of the original’s powerful if calm grip on the listener. Michael McGoldrick’s whistle somehow captures the whole five minutes in a great encompassing solo.
Karen’s voice has matured and become deeper but totally suits the mood and character of this her fifth release. It’s all a long way from the west coast of Scotland where she won a singing contest in her local village hall but her roots still mean everything and inform her music in depth. We should treasure and value such continuity.