May Queen

Heather Dale

Amphisbaena Music, 2003

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


The songstress of Camelot is back, folks, and she's brought a bunch of new friends with her.

Longtime readers of the DV will know that I get passionate about certain artists, especially when I discover them for the first time -- and will remember the great praise I lavished on Heather Dale's 2000 release, The Trial Of Lancelot. Now Dale is back with her latest, May Queen -- and boy, if I thought the last one was good…my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Plain and simple, Dale gives me chills. Her voice, rich and expressive, is a magnificent instrument made for storytelling and evoking emotion -- and emotion there is a-plenty on May Queen. While The Trial Of Lancelot was all about the endings inherent in the Arthurian mythic cycle, May Queen is about beginnings; as such, Dale allows herself even more room to unleash the power of her vocals. On songs like "Kingsword" and "Exile", it's like standing against a high wind at the sheer majesty of the work.

The production and engineering on this CD is excellent. Dale has branched out in her musical styles on May Queen; the backing musicians handle such disparate styles as an almost torchy jazz ("War Between Brothers") and an almost snarling, throaty blues-rock ("Prodigal Son") with equal skill. Worthy of note is the fact that May Queen is a much deeper sound than The Trial Of Lancelot; more multi-layered and textured, with Chris Evans' electric guitar work and Jason MacNeill's backing vocals (especially on the title track) being worth special note. Dale has grown as a lyricist as well. I can't describe the shudder I had the first time I heard the two pivotal lines in "The May Queen". Lancelot speaking of the first time he beheld Guenivere: "And I was staring at the sun for hours the morning after // trying to burn it from my eyes…" Wow. Just wow.

Other tracks of note include the sweet and idealistic love song "As I Am" (I smell an SCA handfasting favorite here); the dreamy and wistful "Three Queens" -- and my personal favorite, "Crashing Down", with Mordred recast as a rabble-rouser calling for the destruction of a dream gone rotten at the core.

May Queen is a powerful statement from an artist whose talent never fails to amaze me. Check it out today.

For more information or to order May Queen, check out Heather's website.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Amphisbaena Music, and is used for informational purposes only.