Interview with Heidi Talbot

Heidi Talbot Interview

Irish folk singer Heidi Talbot will be bringing her band to the Bournemouth Folk Club this Saturday, we caught up with Heidi for an exclusive interview.  

Known for her beautiful voice, sweet melodies and intricate arrangements, Heidi first came to prominence as a member of Irish-American female group Cherish the Ladies, before embarking on a successful solo career. 

Heidi was the recipient of 2008’s Indie Acoustic award and multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations and last year she released her fifth solo album, Here We Go, 1, 2, 3.

The singer-songwriter now resides in Scotland with her musical partner and husband John McCusker. Last month it was announced that the husband and wife have teamed up and are making an EP together:

What can the Bournemouth Folk Club audience expect on Saturday night?

This is the last tour that I’m performing songs from my latest record, Here We Go 1, 2, 3. It’s the last outing for those songs. I’ll also be performing songs from my other records as well. 

I have two brilliant multi-instrumentalists with me as well. I’ve got Toby Shaer who’s played with Cara Dillon and plays harmonium, fiddle and whistle. Also Innis White who is another brilliant composer with his mandolin and guitar and he also plays with lots of other people like Karen Matheson.

Between the three of us we can make quite a big noise!

The last album hinted at a new chapter in your musical career?

The title, Here We Go, 1, 2, 3, takes that idea of jumping, whether it’s into new musical territories, new bands, a new studio, new label, new family – new everything, really.

Recording the album in our own studio was amazing. You’re in your own environment, you’re comfortable, you’ve got all the time you need, and the kids can come over. It feels like everyone can be a part of it.” 

How’s the tour going?

We’ve got another few days left on the tour and this is the first time that I’ve been down south for a few years. In fact I don’t think I’ve played Bournemouth before.

We work our way down from my home in Scotland and a few more on the way back. John is at home with the kids, so I don’t pop back between shows.

Tell us about the forthcoming EP with husband John McCusker?

It’s done and recorded. We’re now at the mixing stage and hoping to have it out by the end of the year. We’ve got quite a big tour planned for June-July next year all over the place. 

We’re really pleased about that. John’s produced my last few records and we’ve performed on each other’s projects. 

This is the first time that it’s an equal thing and we’re both composing together with our names on it. It’s going to be exciting being a duo!

What’s family life like in a house full of musicians?

Music is such a big part of both our lives. We try not to talk about it, but there’s always a little bit during the day of “did you get back to such and such” or “are they going to play on the record?”

There’s also the practical side of working in the music industry such as touring and arranging child care and all that goes with it. 

In the past, we’ve taken it in turns where John will go on tour and I’ll be at home with the kids. Then we’ll both be at home for a month and I’ll go on tour.

We try and balance it as best we can, but like most people I think we’re always juggling. The kids think it’s normal and have never known any different. 

Molly-Mae is seven and has toured with us quite a lot since she was born and been all over the place. For a while, Molly thought everyone played music and when people would come to the house she’s ask what instrument they played!

Jessica is three and still quite young though and not realised that this isn’t what everyone does.

Heidi has collaborated with many artists during her career. What does it bring to the music? 

I really like collaboration, it keeps fresh. When you’re writing with someone else their ideas can turn it into a whole other thing.

I’ve been really lucky and got to work with my favourite musicians like Eddie Reader, King Creosote, Roddy Woomble, Kris Drever and Mark Knopfler played on my previous album.

What’s your thoughts on the current folk scene?

It’s grown so much in the last 10 years. There’s all the music courses available and a population of kids studying traditional music, which we see a lot of especially in Scotland.

The standard of musicianship is amazing. Toby and Innis who in the band now are young and have played with all the big names in the folk scene already. They’re on fire for the music and there’s such a huge amount of talent out there at that age. 

It’s scary actually! 

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