Downpatrick singer-songwriter Brigid O’Neill has an incredible voice. She has played with Duke Special, Frances Black, Luka Bloom, Eddi Reader and Mary Coughlan, and has shows coming up with Sharon Shannon.
On her recent EP Arrivals And Departures she delivered a set of tunes that accentuated her ability to carry a traditional air. Her rich lilt on those songs was similar in style to Mary Black and had a real A Woman’s Heart vibe.
Her new single ‘Don’t Make Me Go To Town’ is a departure from that sound. The instrumentation relies heavily on percussion with twangy guitar and smooth woodwind providing texture and atmosphere.
It has a jazzy feel like Billie Holiday but with a lyrical content more akin to Peggy Lee. ‘Don’t Make Me Go To Town’ comes over like the resigned plea of the socially anxious, with a fatalism reminiscent of ‘Is That All Their Is?’.
Her recent tour in Nashville and her well- received tribute show to Doris Day may have inspired her expedition into jazz territory but she has done songs with this type of feel before like ‘Wrong Time, Wrong Place’, which provoked comparisons to Dionne Warwick.
After winning an ACES award she went to Nashville to network and co-write with award-winning songwriters and while it’s not clear if this single indicates a new direction for O’Neill or is just another string to her bow, ‘Don’t Make Me Go To Town’ is adventurous and touchingly beautiful.