Scottish singer-songwriter Roseanne Reid released of her second album ‘Lawside’ last Friday (June 2), via Last Man Music. Named for the area of Dundee in which Roseanne and her family live, the new LP was recorded in Perth with producer, musician and fellow Scot David Macfarlane.
Roseanne Reid’s world has changed in some dramatic ways since she released her hugely acclaimed first album ‘Trails’, and not just because of what she calls the “weird dream” of the lockdown years. But those changes have only helped to inform its delightful follow-up. Last summer, Roseanne and her wife became the proud parents of a baby boy, who has, of course, reshaped their lives in the most joyful (and exhausting) ways. Much of the new record was written before he came along, but you can almost feel the joy and the love seeping from the songs on ‘Lawside’ in the most relatable and uplifting of ways.
The album is named after a residential district of Dundee, where the family lives. “Someone said to me the other day that ‘Lawside’ almost sounds like a country and western title,” jokes Roseanne. “Most of the songs were written here, and it just felt right to mark that, and group them together for where they were written.” There is a binding narrative that ties the songs together and a very inclusive and unified feeling to the album. From the almost lullaby-esque ‘Made Just For You’ through the very Gaelic ‘What What Constitutes a Sin’ to the festival-ready joy of ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘Lawside’ is an album of different tones and moods held together by an over-arching feeling of joy and gratitude.
That joy can be found on songs like ‘Call it Love’, ‘Shine On’ and ‘Made Just For You’. ‘Call it Love’ feels like the most radio-friendly song on ‘Lawside’. It’s a funky, uptempo Pop song with some serious Del Amitri vibes, some lovely piano flourishes and horns whilst ‘Made Just For You’ expresses a feeling of love towards what could be the new baby in the Reid family’s life but to you and me it could be a partner, a lover, a child or a family member as the lyrics are ambiguously relatable enough to be interpreted in whatever we way want. ‘Shine On’ is a tender, summery song with an arm-out-the-window vibe and a melody built around a repeating guitar pattern that hints at loss and grief in a very mature and somehow uplifting way whilst ‘Made Just For You’ is a gentle Folk song with a soothing, almost lullaby-like cadence as Reid sings to her nearest and dearest, ‘I could go to the ends of the earth , my love, but I think I was made just for you.’
Two of the songs on ‘Lawside’, ‘Couldn’t Wish More For You’ and ‘All My Days’ do feel like they were written specifically for Roseanne Reid’s son. The former is a sparse, ephemeral song in which Reid lists all the things she’d like him to achieve. ‘May you find your horizon when the sea turns wild,’ she sings at one point on a song that is expertly delivered with love and grace whilst ‘All My Days’ echoes the seemingly natural progressive step she’s taken into being a mother as she states unequivocally that, ‘All my days, all my nights, been leading up to this.’
Gratitude is also a major theme on this uplifting album. ‘Dasiy Chain’ is a lightly strummed guitar ditty with a heavyweight story behind it as Reid sings about saying goodbye to Mary Jane and forging a brighter, cleaner path. ‘Got my head above the water…. I’m sure I don’t know what I’m doing half the time but I know I ain’t coming back again,’ she sings on this raw and honest track. ‘All I Need’, featuring the talents of Rory Butler, meanwhile, is built around a gentle, picked acoustic guitar and some fantastic harmonies between the two musicians as Reid sings her thanks on a relatable song that could be about her mother but to us we’re interpreting the sentiments to whoever means so much to us in our own lives. Similarly, ‘Heartland’ finds Reid at peace and enjoying the contentment in her life on another gentle Folk song about finding a ‘little beauty in the wilderness.’
If you want to hear a song designed to be echoing through the Folk and Americana festivals of the UK this summer then check out ‘Mona Lisa’. If self introspection and analysis is your thing then listen to ‘Something Broken’, a deep exploration underpinned by some gentle piano and a wonderfully plaintive, singular guitar that gives off late night hotel bar vibes and if you want raw, honest, stark storytelling check out ‘Take Your Time’, the song that closes down ‘Lawside’ and feels like it was recorded in your living room with Roseanne Reid sitting next to you singing with patient grace.
‘Lawside’ is a proper, grown-up album for people with proper, grown-up feelings. It is simple yet incredibly complex music that comes from a place of real love and honest living. No words are wasted here or rhymes thrown in for the sake of an easy time. It’s not always a comfortable listen and it may provoke some strong feelings within but it’s over-arching narrative of love, peace and contentment should be enough to leave you feeling in a better place than you where when you pressed play on the first track. Powerful music can do that and this is a powerful listen.
Tracklist: 1. All I Need 2. Daisy Chain 3. Call It Love 4. Shine On 5. Made Just For You 6. What Constitutes a Sin 7. Mona Lisa 8. Couldn’t Wish More For You 9. All My Days 10. Heartland 11. Til Kingdom Come 12. Something Broken 13. Take Your Time Record Label: Last Man Music Release Date: June 2nd Buy ‘Lawside’ now