Sherwood strikes gold with new CD
A treasure of a song entitled ‘Be Fabulous’ is proof that Bermuda singer-songwriter Val Sherwood has struck gold with her new CD release. Ms Sherwood explains: “The songs here are more about hope, faithfulness and love coming back.
‘Be Fabulous’ is both the title of the album, and the ninth of the 12 tracks. It is likely to induce tears of compassion in some and maybe jolt a few consciences.
Make no mistake, there areplenty of other reasons to like about the new CD release from Bermuda’s Val Sherwood, from the celebration of the Island in ‘Colours of Bermuda’ to the chug-a-long ‘Railway Trail Song’ and the Shania Twain-esque ‘Good for the Soul’.
However, the heart-tugging ‘Be Fabulous’ is remarkable, tackling the plight of homeless cats from the perspective of a tabby facing the feline world's Death Row.
It takes gifted songwriting and empathy to deliver a powerful emotional punch, such as can be found on 'Be Fabulous'. Couple the evocative lyrics with Ms Sherwood's assured singing and the result is a standout track on a delightful album of Bermuda songs.
Ms Sherwood is a seasoned singer-songwriter and guitarist. She began playing guitar aged eight and has honed her skills to become one of the Island's best known acoustic/folk performers.
In the 1980s she was an opening act for folk legend Ralph McTell at the Bermuda Folk Club. Her original song 'You Were Easy' was included in a 1982 folk club album and was released again on her debut CD in 2004.
For many years her recorded songs have garnered radio airplay, and she was a featured artist on the 'Ride the Wave 2' compilation CD in 2011, singing 'For So Long', which is included on her new CD.
Three years in the making, Ms Sherwood describes ‘Be Fabulous’ as a song collection “for people who have lived a bit. It has something for everyone”.
Bermuda features prominently, no more so than on the track 'Colours of Bermuda', which is a loving ode to the Island.
“It is geared towards tourism. I wrote it in 2009 during the Island’s 400th anniversary,” said Ms Sherwood. The song has the potential to become a signature tune for the Island. A slide show video has been created to accompany it.
Ms Sherwood’s clear singing voice, strongly reminiscent of Joan Baez on many songs, sparkles throughout. And the different moods and styles to be found on ‘Be Fabulous’ keep things fresh and buzzing.
Aside from Ms Sherwood there is a wealth of musical talent on the album, including harmonica players Neil Burnie and Eddie Wicks, guitarists David Fitzsimmons and Whency Woolridge and musical arranger and collaborator John Woolridge, who worked on all the tracks.
“I feel very privileged to have had the talents of these people helping to make the CD happen,” said Ms Sherwood. “I’m thrilled that Bermuda has the quality of people to create this level of recording.”
Her debut 2004 CD ‘Never Tell Them Why’ was half-filled with love songs and soft folk-rock. There is greater diversity on ‘Be Fabulous’.
‘Going Back To South Africa’ is about hope, about someone going back to visit a former partner. It is very positive. ‘I’m Not Comfortable With Crime’ is a social song.”
‘Maximize’ is a song about the women-only Curves fitness studio, while ‘Railway Trail Song’ tells the history of Bermuda’s short-lived train service and the subsequent conversion of the old track into nature trails. Ms Sherwood was involved in the development of the trailway and remembers the key players Major John Carswell and Dewey Marquardt who played important roles turning the disused tracks into the public trailway of today. Both men are name-checked in the song.
The aforementioned title track ‘Be Fabulous’ draws on Ms Sherwood’s love of cats and her many years of involvement with the Bermuda Feline Assistance Bureau. At home she has six adopted cats — the ones, she says, that could not find homes.
The album as a whole has an upbeat mood which perfectly reflects much of Bermuda’s beauty and spirit.
‘Be Fabulous’ can be purchased at Music Box in Hamilton, and also by contacting Ms Sherwood through her own website: www.val.bm