The Sydney Morning Herald
February 28, 2013
Stories of Ghosts
Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier (Intercorps/MGM)
There is something sublimely distinctive about Deborah Conway.
It is her voice, her songwriting, her attitude.
It is a challenge to find any musical work Conway has been involved with that isn’t simply magnificent.
So when she teams up with life and musical partner Willy Zygier on another recording venture, the outcome is sure to be something special.
And it is.
Stories of Ghosts, the latest offering from the Conway-Zygier team is simply outstanding.
It would have been hard for the couple to follow their last album, the brilliant Half Man Half Woman, which was very well received by critics and fans alike.
But they have done it. Was there any doubt they would?
The Conway-Zygier team is a match – at least musically speaking – made in heaven.
How fitting then that this album is about God and ghosts.
On track two, titled G-D, Conway even plays the role of the big guy in the sky, although in a somewhat demented and vengeful characterisation.
Actually, Stories of Ghosts is an incredible collection of simply stunning songs centring on life’s journey. Songs about beliefs, struggles, loves and the deepest of human thoughts – with lots of themes that relate to the Old Testament.
The ten tracks on this album are all original Conway-Zygier compositions and flow naturally.
Conway’s singing is at its best, with her voice perfectly suited to this material – during both the delicate and the edgier tracks.
Vika and Linda Bull lend some backing vocals on a couple of tracks, which is just adding class to more class.
And Zygier’s voice is in great form too.
But what takes the album to another dimension is Zygier’s prowess on just about all things stringed.
Zygier is a master guitarist and a complete joy to listen to. Whether it is acoustic guitar, bottleneck slide guitar, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki or ukulele, Zygier can make his instrument sing. (He plays most of them plus piano on this album).
All of the instrumentation on this album, by Conway and Zygier as well as a handful of backing and guest musicians, is superb.
Track four, East of Eden, is the standout number, but they are all exquisite.