Americana with a Celtic twist sums up the new album from Scottish singer-songwriter Martha L Healy. Following on from 2014’s ‘Better Days’, Healy went on sabbatical to Nashville to find inspiration and to keep the flame alight.

What’s interesting is that the opening track is a clear harkening and ache for home. You can take the girl out of Glasgow but she’s tired of driving on the wrong side of the road now. There’s a realisation that you’re not in Kansas anymore but can’t quite click the ruby slippers and cross the pond just because there’s no place like home.

You could say that’s the curse of the Celt; always searching for something new, better, convinced that it lies far from home, only to discover that home is where the hearth is after all.

There’s a sense of real, honest soul-searching in each of these tracks – coming face to face with your own flawed self and facing up to some cold hard truths – such as in ‘Woman With No Shame’.

The staples of country music are featured in full force – heartbreak, loneliness, emptiness, family estrangement, despair and despondency, all backed up with a fearless sense of hope – as in the final track, ‘Don’t Give Up’.

Healy has a strong, clear, powerful yet sensuous voice. It is the voice of a strong character. I am reminded here and there of Amy McDonald. While these tunes are raw Americana on the surface, there’s a complexity, humanity, and vulnerability built in. Sometimes life sucks but you dust yourself down and carry on.

We get the sense that Healy is a headstrong lass, fearless with a sense of humour, determined but with an understanding of how narrative engages with the listener. Her complexity and humility reach out to the listener. Definitely one for Americana fans. I am sure she is a joy to hear live.

‘Keeping The Flame Alight’ was released on 5th October 2018. Visit MarthaLHealy.com for more information.