Brian May + Kerry Ellis
Label: Sony Music Releasing
Following the hugely successful Anthems back in 2010, Ellis’ debut studio album (produced by May), and their live 2013 follow-up, Acoustic by Candlelight: Live on The Born Free Tour, Golden Days is the pair’s third overall collaboration and second studio release, marking the fifteenth anniversary of their working relationship, having first teamed up on the original 2002 London production of We Will Rock You.
Featuring five original compositions – two by May (including the title track) and three by May and Ellis together – alongside some other songbook standards (and a couple of lesser-known gems thrown in for good measure), Golden Days is a superb new release, beautifully and lovingly crafted with May at the helm, re-orchestrating and re-interpreting the eclectic mix on offer.
May has never shied away from experimenting with new or unfamiliar instruments, and Golden Days is no different, with Indian sitars and Korean gayageums (a 12-stringed zither-like string instrument) adding a unique Asian tone to the new compositions.
I Who Have Nothing is a particular standout, allowing Ellis to demonstrate the full voice of her soaring, celebrate rock Mezzo (accompanied by May in full power-ballad mode), with a stripped back acoustic version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s If I Loved You and Parisienne Walkways, May’s stirring tribute to guitar maestro Gary Moore just a few of the many highlights within.
With Ellis now touring the UK in the European premiere of musical Wonderland, currently scheduled until 19 August, 2017, a Golden Days tour doesn’t look imminent, but given the quality of this recording it would be a real shame if something isn’t announced for a little later in the year.
1. Love In A Rainbow (Brian May, Kerry Ellis)
2. Roll With You (Brian May, Kerry Ellis)
3. Golden Days (Brian May)
4. It’s Gonna Be All Right (The Panic Attack Song) (Brian May)
5. Amazing Grace (John Newton, Trad. Arr, Brian May)
6. One Voice (Ruth Moody)
7. If I Loved You (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers)
8. Born Free (John Barry, Don Black)
9. Parisienne Walkways (Phil Lynott, Gary Moore)
10. I Who Have Nothing (Carlo Donida, Mogol, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller)
11. The Kissing Me Song (Brian May, Kerry Ellis)
12. Story Of A Heart (Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson)
13. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, George, David Weiss)