Sunday, 5 April 2015

Callaghan - A History of Now : Green Town Music

Rich in familiarity, alluring in sound and genuine in its extraction of inner talent, Georgina Callaghan’s second album announces her prominent arrival on the international adult contemporary singer-songwriter scene. A HISTORY OF NOW is a bright and breezy bout of organic pop designed to project Callaghan’s profile significantly in both her new home in the US as well as a tilt at the UK market.

Since leaving our shores around four years ago, she has sought career development in several quarters, most strikingly teaming up with Shawn Mullins for her debut album and re-locating from Atlanta to Nashville in order to tap into Music City’s wider resource pool. A lot of hard work has gone into Callaghan getting to this stage of her career and she has come as long way since first seeing her play a showcase set at Americana International probably around ‘08/’09.

Of course Callaghan has long been championed by Bob Harris to the extent she featured on his excellent recent BBC aired documentary ‘Back to Beth’s’. While her career is still in its embryonic stage in comparison to the heavy weight singer-songwriters decorating that prestigious house concert, she shows a high degree of promise especially when focussing on the meaningful ballads that form the bedrock of this new album, due to be released internationally on her own Green Town Music label.

The perceived pretensions a while back of Callaghan being the heir to the UK country crown have been shelved and best left to others as she focusses on a cross appeal which has attracted the ears of the Radio 2 playlist decision makers. However the album is far from a drift down the banal route of throwaway pop as she skilfully wraps her most stylish numbers in a blanket of feel good songs with the potential to act as key openers to the real Callaghan. ‘Best Year’ and ‘Crazy Beautiful Life’ are the album’s picturesque gloss designed to brighten a dull day and probably will struggle to make inroads with hardened country and Americana followers. In contrast what will be delightful to the ears of sophisticated music junkies is the way a trio of generous piano inspired ballads literally move your senses. ‘I’ll Take You Away’, ‘Lost’ and ‘When You Loved Me’ form this part of the record and herald a talent set to move quickly up the ladder of prominent female singer-songwriters.

Callaghan (the first name has long been removed from her professional profile) uses the tremendous acumen of her sweet vocal ability to pour her heart into a set of personal songs reflecting an increased maturity to her music. There is definitely more to come from her as a songwriter and like all high quality performers who reach a peak of influence, some edge will probably need to be added to make the pill more effective. The way she makes music is similar to the UK’s Emma Stevens as both artists continually conjure up inventive ways of connecting with their fan base. They both seem in control of their destiny without resorting to big label manipulation and demonstrate that fashionable popular music can be made well without a resort to sleep inducing EDM banality.

A pop up session appearance at C2C in London probably reflected more on that events marketing policy than the sincerity of Callaghan to make serious country music of which she is clearly not. A more industry wide strategy is adopted for her upcoming UK tour to support the record with Birmingham Promoters linking up with her for the gig at the Sunflower Lounge in the city. While the British market retains an element of importance, a big push will be back in her adopted home and the bid to continue to grow her national presence there.

A HISTORY OF NOW is a snapshot of the present for Callaghan and achieves its purpose of housing an artist ready to exploit every sinew of her ability to make high quality music without compromise. An artist of massive potential is beginning to surface and whichever direction her music takes, it will always have a renowned stamp of approval. 

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