It is clear that Imelda May, one of Ireland's biggest exports, has found a new groove on her fifth studio record, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood., presenting the most personal and intimately autobiographical release she has ever written. The album is produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett, who said of Imelda: "When I first happened onto her music, she was a punky Irish rockabilly singer with a great band. When I ran across her several years later, she had gone through a change of lives and was writing about it with a wild intensity and singing about it in the most open hearted way."
The album marks a new direction for May who, in the time since her 2014 release Tribal, ended her marriage of eighteen years. May's new sound sits firmly outside of any sharply defined genre box, widely spanning blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz. Life. Love. Flesh. Blood breathes new life into a classic sound, with Imelda's powerhouse vocal as distinctive as ever, cementing her position as one of the strongest vocalists of her generation. The singer herself describes the record as her most "honest" yet. Imelda's life changed considerably in the run up to recording, and this is documented in the only way she knew how. Imelda explains, "It's therapy, like keeping a diary that a lot of people read. Some of my favourite songs don't say much, but they reveal everything."
Recorded over seven days in Los Angeles, the album features musical contributions from guitar hero Jeff Beck ("Black Tears"), piano legend Jools Holland ("When It's My Time") and an accomplished group of backing musicians including the core trio of guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John & Leon Russell, Ray Lamontagne) and bassist Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets, Mini Mansions), the same band that recorded Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand.