Old Stories is a volume you'll return to time and again.
Daryl Easlea 2009
Old Stories, Nancy Wallace's debut album, is one of the first highlights of 2009. Time will tell if she becomes one of the great British voices, but with the level of emotion she conveys, she certainly has every right to be talked about in the same breath as some of the traditional music greats.
Old Stories comes four years after her last solo release, the Young Hearts EP, which saw her interpreting disco standards from the likes of Chic, Barry White and Candi Staton in the folk tradition. Her time subsequently singing with collectives the Memory Band and the Owl Service has not sidelined her creativity – the nine self-penned songs here are gossamer postcards from various stages of heartbreak.
The Way You Lie, which tells of a partner's heartbreak of her sleeping lover's infidelity, is a true folk tale. Joy To The World is almost hymnal. Waiting is the catchiest number, a pop song. It shall appear on compilations and drift out over summer’s festivals.
The three traditional cover versions compliment the original material, locating a sad heart and expanding upon many of the album’s themes. I Live Not Where I Love, the Elizabethan madrigal that has been sung by both Linda Thompson and Mary Black is a standout. Like her version of Barry White's The First, The Last, My Everything, Wallace's voice makes previously interpreted material sound striking.
Although the subject matter is often bleak and lovelorn, the overall effect is uplifting. With spartan accompaniment of acoustic guitar with splashes of banjo, accordion and violin, Old Stories is a volume you'll return to time and again.