The gypsy in me yearns to pack it all up and roll on to the next town with my wild woman from time to time. Blasting thumping upright bass rhythms, and fast-paced engine revving melodies out of the exhaust pipe and doing just the right amount of wrong. Unfortunately, always around the bend is Uncle Sam waiting for me. He enjoys taxing the piss out of me and the little pixie on my shoulder tells me to slow down and stay put. Need to stay cool and not slip of the tracks. To get my kicks out, I converge into my own hellfire club with my vinyls and let the needle drop. Pour a glass of wine and put on my Imelda May records, including her newest release Tribal.
It’s no secret why I like Imelda May so much, the combination of her beauty, sultry voice, and whiskey fueled songs cut right to my core. I’m also a sucker for Irish ladies. Heck, I married one. Born in Dublin, Ireland, May first started playing the clubs in Dublin in the early 1990’s, eventually moving to the UK in 1999. As a kid, she fell in love with blues and rockabilly listening to legends like Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, and Buddy Holly. Eventually, May released her first album in 2003 under her birth name, Imelda Clabby. Over the next handful of years, she married her guitar player, released two more albums under her married Imelda May, toured, toured, toured, and performed with some of the greats like Brian Setzer, Lou Reed, Bono, Meatloaf, and Elvis Costello, and may more. She has played all over late night television circuit, and in 2012 had a baby girl. In late 2014, she released Tribal. It is my favorite of her four releases. The wicked way about Tribal is that is contains much of what I loved about early Imelda songs, but with a bit more of maturity and playfulness. Not outshining the rest of the band, May lets the guys get technical with the instruments. Putting this vinyl on is always a treat and each side seems to play through quickly. Opening a bottle of wine with this can be tricky, but a nice fat pinot noir seems to do the trick.
Belle Glos makes fantastic, distinctive Pinot Noirs from some of Californias finest growing areas. The Meiomi pinot is a blend of juice from Santa Barbara, Monterey, and Sonoma counties. Like Imelda Mays music, the wine has attitude, history, and the blues. Track 9 on tribal, Wicked Way, is the best comparison. It is deeply bluesy, sweaty, with muted horns and thumping tom toms. Imagine the middle of the night, driving a car with the swampy forest in the middle of the Louisiana bayou arriving at a bar in a house with lit torches, and Imelda May on the microphone singing her sultry songs and pompadour piled high. The 2011 Meiomi gives the feeling that would hit me walking in to that bar. It is rich as far as pinot noirs are concerned, and more in your face than you expect. Most Pinot Noirs are loaded with red fruit flavors and subtle earthiness, but this takes those fruits and stewes them down, really concentrating them with herbs, and a kiss of oak and cocoa. It has low tannins, leaving with a voluptuous mouthfeel.
If you have extra $40 dollars burning a hole in your pocket, go pick up Tribal by Imelda May, and a bottle of Meiomi Pinot Noir by Belle Glos and turn the lights low. Shut your eyes and daydream about Imelda May singing a solo concert just for you in your living room.