With nine critically acclaimed solo albums, three BRIT awards, a No. 1 single and an MBE, Glasgow native songstress Eddi Reader needs no introduction.
After learning to play guitar at age 10, she spent years busking on Scottish streets. She describes it as “good training” for musicians as passersby aren’t forced to listen, but people who like what they hear can stick around.
Putting that experience into practice, Eddi first came into the limelight in the 1980s as part of the group Fairground Attraction. Their debut single ‘Perfect’ reached No. 1 in the UK and won Best Single at the 1989 BRIT Awards, when their album, ‘The First of a Million Kisses’, also won Best Album.
From there, she famously harmonised with Annie Lennox while touring with The Eurythmics and paid her punk dues with a successful stint in the group Gang of Four before embarking on a solo career spanning 30 years. She last year celebrated her 30 year career with the release of her first career spanning compilation, ‘Eddi Reader The Best Of’.
Eddi’s work has led to her frequently being described as a national treasure in Scotland and the singer/songwriter was awarded an MBE for outstanding contributions to the arts in 2006 for showcasing the work of Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns, including recording an album of his material with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
The great Jools Holland has described Reader as one of his favourite singers of all time, and the duo recorded ‘Let’s Pretend There’s a Moon’ with Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra for the 2009 drama ‘Me and Orson Welles’, directed by Richard Linklater and starring Zac Efron and Claire Danes.
But it’s performing in front of live audiences is where Eddi finds her natural home. Having first toured Ireland in 2001, her recordings have always struck a chord with Irish audiences. 16 years on, she considers her new Irish tour a “great opportunity to explore Ireland”, a place she describes as “a spiritual home”. In 2011, she played with the National Concert Orchestra in Dublin and she said the experience was “thrilling”. “Being in the room with human beings who make music like that, there’s something tremendously miraculous about it.”
She enjoys playing Galway in particular and believes that “music is in the marrow of the bones” here. “There’s a lot of sessions in Ireland and people are used to hearing live music…We get the sense when we’re playing that people are interested in enjoying the moment and they’re appreciative,” she says.
“I enjoy coming to Galway, there’s something about the West. I’m looking forward to the ambiance and whatever God puts in the room,” she says of her Valentine’s night show at the Town Hall in Galway.
Spontaneity is key to her show and audiences can expect a night without a set list or formula, featuring old songs and new ones that have never been recorded. She will be joined by her regular band members, John Douglas (guitar and vocals), Boo Hewerdine (guitar and vocals), Alan Kelly (piano accordion) and Kevin McGuire (double bass and vocals).
“What matters is the moment that we’re in and that we get to play music together almost. The vibe in the room is created by everyone that’s in it.”
“In the moment it’s never captured, it’s like watching a bird across the sky – you’re not going to see that moment again exactly right. I hope that evening in Galway I can make something as beautiful happen,” she adds.
It’s significant that the show is taking place on Valentine’s Day, and she says she likes the idea of playing that night, “celebrating a day of love”. Support comes from Galway singer-songwriter Ultan Conlon, who is well known for his love songs, and who Eddi says is “always amazing”.
The award winner adds she’s “looking forward to the love she’s going to receive” on Valentine’s Day in Galway and is planning to “sing songs that’ll inspire people to go home and kiss the face off their loved ones!”
The multi award-winning Eddi Reader performs on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday 14 February, in the Town Hall Theatre at 8pm. Tickets are €20 and available from www.tht.ie or by calling the theatre’s box office on 091-569777.
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