Review: Kerry Ellis and Brian May, Golden Days, Sony Music
PUBLISHED: 09:44 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:44 20 April 2017
© Andrew Whitton 2017
West End star Kerry Ellis has teamed up with long time collaborator Brian May to produce their third album Golden Days. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a listen
Suffolk-born West End star Kerry Ellis and Queen guitarist Brian May have just released their third collaboration together and it’s a corker. Their first album Anthems did what it said on the label and gave that big Brian May sound to a variety of West End tunes, including Wicked and We Will Tock You, along with a few originals and choice covers. The second album, Acoustic by Candlelight, partially recorded at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, was more intimate now with Golden Days comes the full-on rock album with Brian and Kerry writing five of the 13 tracks.
Some songs like Born Free and I Who Have Nothing, which appeared on Acoustic By Candlelight, have been given a complete rock’n’roll makeover and sound like new works. But, it is largely the new songs which shape and define the album. The opening track Love Is A Rainbow has almost a psychedelic feel to it while Roll With You and It’s Gonna Be Alright are full out rockers. This latter track is sub-titled The Panic Attack Song a subject which is made clear by the lyrics and provide some food for thought while practising your air guitar moves.
For me the two stand-out tracks are polar opposites and demonstrate the breadth and quality of the album – both demonstrate the beauty and control of Kerry’s voice and the sensitivity of Brian’s playing. The first is a sublime version of If I Loved You from Carousel – the only musical theatre track on the album – the other is the beautiful but musically raw cover of Gary Moore’s Parisienne Walkways with Kerry’s voice cutting through Brian’s sustained notes like a quiet commentary.
Story of a Heart by Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson adds to the album’s narrative flavour as does Brian May’s self-penned title track which just exudes aural sunshine. This mood is extended to One Voice which you can hear becoming an audience sing-along number in concert.
After three albums together it’s clear that Kerry and Brian are a good fit and not only work well together but are certainly in it for the long haul and are in no danger of running out of ideas.
Let’s hope a new tour starts soon but in the mean time you can catch Kerry at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds on August 23 & 24 when she will be sharing the stage with Matt Cardle.