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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > FREE CLASSIC POP ISSUE > Reader’s Digest

Reader’s Digest

AS SHE PREPARES TO RELEASE AN ALBUM MADE UP OF BOTH NEW SONGS AND ANCIENT BALLADS, SADENIA ‘EDDI’ READER TALKS FAMILY HISTORY, BUSKING, THE RISE AND FALL OF FAIRGROUND ATTRACTION, HOW TO BE FEARLESS ON STAGE… AND WHELKS. CLASSIC POP GETS THE ODD WORD IN.

EDDI READER

Eddi Reader is thinking about the future – as in, about five centuries into the future. “I think I’m probably hopeful that in 300 to 500 years, somebody will bring me back to life”, she says. “In that way where people rediscover things”, she clarifies. Indeed, rediscovering things is at the forefront of Reader’s thoughts at the moment. Unearthing old Scottish and Irish music books that had been hidden for 50 years played a major part in how her new album, Cavalier, came together. “My dad’s cousin, James, died. He had moved to Ireland with his father in 1934, when he was an eight-year-old boy”, she says. “And his father took over with him all my family’s books.” It was left to Reader to clear out the house. In doing so, she discovered a great stash of traditional music, originally collected by James’s grandfather, Charles Reader – Eddi Reader’s great-grandfather. (As a keen amateur historian, Eddi has a lot of stories involving convoluted family connections.) “So I have all these books and, within the books, significant little things would come out. I found one that’s on the album called Deirdre’s Farewell To Scotland. I had no idea of what it was all about, I just found this little sheet of browned parchment. I was intrigued by the title and, as I picked out the melody on the piano, I realised the whole thing just bounced between two sixth chords. The sixth of a chord is always my favourite… It’s almost like, ‘something is gonna happen!’ And the two chords went in between this tiny little lyric, just this woman talking about how Scotland was her sanctuary. The words it used invoked for me my childhood in Scotland.”

It’s testament to the arrangements of the songs on the LP – and to Reader’s beautiful, haunting renditions – that these ancient ballads sit perfectly happily alongside the new compositions, mostly written by Reader, her husband (and Trash Can Sinatras guitarist) John Douglas, and longtime collaborator Boo Hewerdine. Reader says the album’s traditional songs still feel “as vital now to me as anything written. For me, they’re alive.”

She cites Meg O’ The Glen, by Scottish poet Robert Tannahill, who lived from 1774 to 1810. “It’s got this idea of an 18-year-old girl going out for the first time in all her finery to try and find love and discovering that nobody’s interested, because people are very superficial. They’re only into you if you’ve got a bit of money, in that Kardashian way. You don’t have to have anything about you, as long as you’ve got a bank account.

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About Classic Pop

Classic Pop magazine is the ultimate celebration of great pop and chart music. Each month we bring you the very best artist interviews and features, music news plus a packed reviews section. From the new wave acts of the late-70s through to the synth-pop, New Romantic, ska, indie and guitar greats of the 80s and chart stars of the 90s, it’s all here. We also bring the story bang up-to-date with new acts that have a retro flavour.