IRISH singer-songwriter and poet Imelda May will play York Barbican on April 6 2022 in the only Yorkshire show of her first major UK tour in more than five years.
Meanwhile, May and April will unite on Friday (16/4/2021) when the 46-year-old Dubliner releases her sixth studio album, 11 Past The Hour, on Decca Records.
Tickets for May’s 12-date Made To Love Tour next spring will go on general sale on April 23 at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk, gigsandtours.com and ticketmaster.co.uk and on 0203 356 5441.
“I cannot wait to see you all again, to dance and sing together, to connect and feel the sparkle in a room where music makes us feel alive and elevated for a while,” says Imelda. “A magical feeling we can only get from live music. Let’s go!”
On a record that “brims with sensuality, emotional intelligence, spirituality and intuition, marking a new chapter for Imelda and showcasing her at her most authentic”, May collaborates with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, Noel Gallagher, Miles Kane and Niall McNamee.
Feminist thinkers and activists Gina Martin and Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu make inspired contributions too to an album that adds up to “an invigorating blast of rock’n’roll with a purpose”.
Born and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, May – real name Imelda Mary Higham – was discovered by boogie-woogie pianist Jools Holland, who asked her to tour with him.
She has since performed duets with U2, Lou Reed, Sinead O’Connor, Robert Plant, Van Morrison, Jack Savoretti and Elvis Costello and has featured on albums and live tours with Jeff Beck, Jeff Goldblum and Ronnie Wood.
May last played York Barbican in May 2017 in support of her T-Bone Burnett-produced Top Five album, the post break-up record Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, and previously performed there in November 2011, two years on from a show at The Duchess in her bequiffed retro-rockabilly Love Tattoo days.
Not only a singer and songwriter but also a multi-instrumentalist, equally adept on bodhrán, guitar, bass guitar and tambourine, last year she added another string to her bow: poetry.
Last June, in the cauldron of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, she released You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish, a sentiment adopted subsequently by the Irish government’s ReThink Ireland campaign on billboard display.
This was followed in October by the reflective nine-poem Slip Of The Tongue EP, set to an uplifting soundscape as May addressed such themes as home and love, feminism, the harsh realities of life, defiance, lovelorn longing and escapism.
Now comes 11 Past The Hour, to be followed by next April’s tour, for which VIP packages, including access to soundcheck and a Q&A with May, are available. Eager fans can secure exclusive access to a presale for the tour when they pre-order the new album from May’s store at imeldamay.tmstor.es.
What was Charles Hutchinson’s verdict when Imelda May played York Barbican on May 16 2017?
WHEN else would Imelda May tour but in May, when every day is a May day, 17 dates in all this month on the Irish pocket dynamo’s first British travels in three years.
“It’s been a while,” said the 42-year-old Dubliner, reintroducing herself to a pleasingly full York Barbican crowd for the first time since November 2011. “Thank you very much for sticking with me and turning up tonight.”
Much has changed in that time. Imelda ditched the rockabilly look and sound last sported on 2014’s Tribal album; her 18-year marriage to guitarist Darrel Higham ended; she turned 40; she gave herself permission to find new love; she allowed her spectacular voice full range in her song-writing for the first time since hit single Johnny Got A Boom Boom steered her down Retro Avenue.
All this is reflected in her post break-up March album, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, whose every song – even from the deluxe edition – was in Tuesday’s setlist, bolstered by a couple of Sixties covers (The Animals, The Shangri-Las) and a smattering of May oldies. That’s confidence for you, and one met approvingly by an audience of Imelda’s age and upwards who had in turn experienced Life. Love. Flesh. Blood.
Dressed in black, down to her ankle boots, with hair designed to a Chrissie Hynde template, Imelda began seated as if in a scene from the musical Chicago, she and guitarist Oliver Darling picked out by spotlights for Call Me: the album opener that announces the blues, rock, soul and gospel-singing, mature May is a cut above the more derivative, bouncier, boom-boom past.
Stage lit warmly by nine copper-toned lamps, May fronted a wonderfully responsive band, the guitars and Al Gare’s double bass complemented by saxophone and trumpet, as she sang from and to the heart, with Black Tears, The Longing and The Girl I Used To Be particular highs. The girl she used to be is still there, but the 2017 Imelda May is flowering in fullest bloom.
Review copyright of The Press, York