Fiona Mackenzie - Elevate - ZigZag
This is Fiona's debut album as a solo artist, but I believe she is already pretty well established as a name in the folk world due to membership of Anam, Seelyhoo and family trio Mackenzie.
Although her voice isn't strikingly unusual [I'd put it on a spectrum somewhere between of Melanie and Mary Hopkin - fairly mainstream gentle female folk], it is pure and beautifully plaintive especially on the three tracks sung in her native Gaelic. The publicity describes her as a singer/songwriter - a label to which I have a natural aversion. This is thankfully somewhat negated by the quality of Fiona's vocals and although I don't find her lyrics particularly memorable, the musical composition and arrangements are quite interesting - notably on the title track. If she scores a hit with this as a single, the album could really take off.
I'm sure Fiona Mackenzie will be well received in the roots market - it's just a question of whether her exposure over a wider field will be sufficient for her to break onto the popular music scene. I guess that'll be down to the likes of Radio 2 picking up on this album and running with it. I'd be very much in favour of them doing so.