Prog Magzine June 2018
Uncut Magazine June 2018
July 2018 Ian Burgess for The Ledge
Earth Is Sleeping
Acid Jazz CD & LP
Judy’s first solo album on Acid Jazz, and it’s a winner. Following last year’s album with Andy Lewis Judy has returned to her mixture / take on folk prog etc etc. I’m happy to say that if music genres are round holes, this is a square peg. It is a gentle album, full of Judy’s views of life, communicated by the wonderful way that she uses the English language.
There are thirteen tracks, many co-writes by Judy and a range of others, including her daughter Stephanie Hellsten. There is also a re-take on an old Trader Horne number. Instrument wise they are mainly acoustic guitar, with some gentle electric when necessary. Keyboards, strings and gentle percussion make up most of the soundscape, though of course where a bit more power is required the drums drive the beat.
Judy’s singing and writing style are precise, with every syllable carefully enunciated, every word there because it has to be. You follow the song, become part of the audience looking on as an event takes place in front of you.
Songs of optimism and innocence, well maybe not all but when you have a song called “I Found A Rainbow” they have to be in there somewhere. On the dark side is “Answerphone” where the person keeps ringing only for the voice on the answerphone to cut in. The recipient is dead, but he keeps on ringing. An excellent haunting song. You know some songs are going to enthral you just from the title, “She Now Owns A Heart Of Stone” and “Broken Day” being just two. “Promises” has a guitar solo that flows beautifully, the piano and violin carry Judy’s voice onward and ever upward. I could, and maybe should go on, song by song, but I’m just going to sit back and listen to the album all over again.
The cover artwork is by Catherine Hyde, with pieces on the back cover and the disc by Sarah Ewing and Rebecca Clarke. Judy’s album is magnificently illustrated once again. The booklet also includes lyrics.
I first listened to this on a hot evening sitting by a lake feeding the ducks. I could have stayed there for hours with the disc on repeat. Everything was so beautiful it took me a long time to get back to earth.
Alongside the CD there is also a limited edition of 500 on vinyl.