The album begins with Colne Valley Hearts, a song inspired by the valley they live in. A narrative about some of the eccentric characters that reside there, and how the community welcomes ‘incomers’ with the line; ‘Smog stained stone, makes us know we’re home.’
Made in England shines a light on the contradictions embodied by groups such as UKIP and BNP, where immigration is seen as dangerous and should be halted, whilst
devouring curries, kebabs and pints of European lager and wearing cheap, off-the-peg clothes made in Bangladesh. Oh, the irony.
Blanket tells a touching tale of the orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi of how a blanket acts as a surrogate mother to soothe these extraordinary animals caught up in our conflicts.
Alongside the theme of shadows on the album is vulnerability, as shown in Blanket and also in the deeply personal The Needle and the Hand, where Heidi creates an emotional and healing poetical landscape of her troubled childhood from the eyes of her adult self and within it, hopefully, a resource to help others with similar issues.
Small, Big Love celebrates the everyday and the ordinary that make up a loving partnership; from hot tea on cold mornings, to the rain’s net curtain over there in the distance. Written for Belinda and Heidi and performed on their wedding day by Mercury nominated artist Kathryn Williams.
Belinda walked into MOMA, sat down at the piano and composed and performed the piano instrumental, Shadows, in one take.
Mother, worker, wife and cycle champion on t’side; Beryl Burton is brought out of the shadows in this joyous celebration of an inspirational Yorkshire woman, composed after watching Maxine Peake’s brilliant play ‘Beryl’.
Continuing the theme of inspiring women, is the story of Daisy Daking, nicknamed ‘The Pixie’; commissioned by Billy Bragg and 14-18NOW and premiered at Glastonbury Festival 2014. Daisy taught shell-shocked and war weary troops how to dance the Morris in World War 1.
Dark, seething and brooding; the shadow of child abuse lurking behind the cloak of religion is exposed in Reapers.
The Dark Rolling Sea takes a piano extract from ‘Why Did I Leave Thee’ a poem set to music for ‘The Ballads of Child Migration’ songs about the forced migration of children and expands, twists and rolls it into a foreboding, experimental piece.
The album concludes with a sensual interpretation of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’, which was performed for the first time at O’Hooley & Tidow’s WinterFolk concerts last year.