This is a bit late but given the fact that I practically OD'd on turkey over Christmas it's a miracle I'm still here. So, what was my album of last year then eh? Go on, I’ll give you three guesses. Nope, nope and nope. It was actually a strictly limited edition CDR (just 30 copies in fact) from the lovely Val Denham. For the uninitiated Val's arguably one of the UK’s greatest living artists. Why the ‘art world’ isn’t drooling all over him/her (she’s now transgender) I’ll never know, but that’s life I guess.
Back in the 80’s she provided the covers for a series of my favourite records by Marc Almond and performed in a number of bands (this fact sadly passed me by at the time...I was soooo very young). By chance a few years ago I came across a painting by her on ebay, not expecting that the seller was also the artist. It was though and she very kindly took the time for a chat on the phone when she found out I was a fan. Over the years I’ve bought a few other bits and pieces as finances allowed and last year secured a copy of Val’s latest opus, Bluelands. Val being Val all of the copies are beautifully hand illustrated, making each one a unique work of art in itself. It was the music that really struck me though. In a world in which genuine emotion seems in short supply and true characters are rarer than decent moustache wax (seriously...damn difficult stuff to find don’t you know), especially in the music biz, Val’s simply a national treasure. The genre’s impossible to categorise (the album embraces a wide range of different musical styles) and I’m guessing it’s not going to be for everyone, but give this little beauty a spin and see what you think.
PS: I can also heartily recommend that you rustle yourself up a stiff G&T and spend an hour or two at Val’s website, especially the autobiography and artwork sections. Genius.