The songwriting of Brenda Heslop has been the basis for many albums from this three-piece band. Roadside Dreams is the seventh such CD, and on the evidence here, her ability to write a cracking song has not diminished.
Brenda has an uncanny knack of being able to write deeply personal songs, and sing them straight into your soul. In them she tells stories, with themes that are familiar to all, dealing with everyday issues such as death, homelessness, family break up, change, local politics, the past and the future. They are songs about real things, easily accessible, with an incredibly tender feel.
Brenda has an easy, warm voice, with her native Northumberland accent coming through often. Geoff and Jill Heslop provide close harmonies, which add to the gentle nature of the album and never threaten to overwhelm the songs, as do their sympathetic, understated instrumental accompaniments. Less is definitely more here, with many songs having only a sparse accompaniment. The title track features only Brenda’s voice and a fantastic double bass (Neil Harland), and it creates the perfect mood for the vocal.
I feel like I’ve known these songs for years, are frequently find myself singing them. I suspect that in years to come we might find some of Brenda’s songs creeping into the repertoire of folk singers around the country, their familiar sounding melodies, and thought provoking lyrics have the ability to resonate with people everywhere.