Helen O’Shea Releases Moving Folk Album ‘Turning Tides’

Review by Jamie Glenn

Helen O’Shea releases her 10 track sophomore album titled “Turning Tides.” This hopeful blues style folk record incorporates messages of love, loss, hope, and fear. The opening tracks “All That You Do” and “Moments” sound lighthearted and is a quick moving folk with an upbeat guitar instrumentation.

The strongest lyric comes in the chorus of “Moments” O’Shea sings “But now here you are, like a true north star, You’re light guidin’ me in, is a sign. In your shelter, I can breathe once more. A critical moment in time.”

The sound delivery and external instrumentation match that of O’Shea’s Irish roots, which O’Shea used to her advantage to show her love for life and family with “Turning Tides.”For her first full-length album, O’Shea teamed up with Music Mentor & Producer, Marc Swersky, a two time Grammy winner who she first met in 2014. Their song “Moments” was selected in 2016 to be included on the Cape May Singer Songwriters Festival CD.

Tracks like “Lovin You,” “Aftermath” and “Every Mother’s Prayer” tune into the calmer side of folk with slower, more sentimental lyrical delivery. The happier upbeat tracks provide a sense of balance to the record but these slower moments throughout the record offer a sense of grounded vulnerability that many listeners will be able to relate to. O’Shea delivers a soothing delivery in “Every Mother’s Prayer” with the lyrics “You ask yourself in silent night, how can I ever get this right. It’s not as easy as it seems, constant need to clean not dream. Endless piles of worries climb. You’re always runnin’ out of time…”

Helen O’Shea comments on her latest album, “It was exhilarating to see my simple songs woven into this exquisite tapestry of sound in the studio.”

Tracks like “Another Lifetime” offer a sound of happiness that speaks to a lifetime spent with a loved one. O’Shea sings, “New Chapters are ready to start. The best is now better than ever before. We’ve been there now look where we are.”

Helen O’Shea isn’t new to the folk scene given that she has a few EP’s along with a number of singles under her belt. Her happy go lucky sound might be just what the folk scene needs right now. Her vocal delivery throughout this album is executed in a very soothing way. This calm delivery gives listeners a chance to see the more philosophical side of life and relax.

The track “Please Be Kind” has a somewhat catchy sound to it and the lyrical content doesn’t seem to naturally match the instrumentation of the track, making the song feel a bit forced when it comes through.

A positive momentum is picked back up with the next track “Aftermath.” It may be a somber slow love song but the instrumentation and lyrical content sound cohesive here. Helen O’Shea’s vocals also have a comforting tone to them. An underlay is also added to the background of this track, completing the track overall making O’Shea’s talent shine bright.

A tribute to the value of true friendship through the song “Soulfriend” closes out the record as an opportunity to say, I’ll be there for you.

“If everything you do and say just isn’t feelin right, we’ll talk the day and night way until we find the light. When everyone has come and gone, no matter where we live, we’ll watch the same old settin’ sun and still have more to give.”

Helen O’Shea’s sound and style could be compared to the sounds of modern Irish-American singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan. Helen O’Shea delivers very similar messages of love, hope and friendship, the perfect thing to hear with the sun out and windows open.

Listen to ‘Turning Tides’ here

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