Heartland Soul is Red Velvet’s long-awaited second album. Red Velvet is singer Deirdre Murphy, songwriter Les Ray and their band of talented multi-instrumentalists from very diverse musical backgrounds: Gene Thunderbolt from classical, blues and rock, Mike Udin from folk, pop and rock and rock drummer Colin R Smith.


The name Red Velvet encapsulates the band’s repertoire, with the red part represented by deeply committed political songs on the side of the dispossessed and the marginalised, such as Stranger Welcome and El Patrón y El Diablo, and the velvet part by songs of the heart steeped in life experience, such as You put a spell on me and Our love is music. The album is all about passionate performance, particularly in Deirdre’s heartfelt, bluesy vocals, and great musicianship from the whole band.

You’ll find this album truly genre-defying: while Carrickfergus and Aragon Mill are very much from the Irish folk tradition, revealing Deirdre’s Northern Irish roots, the mariachi/cantina sound of That’s what duos do and the up-tempo honky-tonk of Night Train to Memphis have a more country sensibility, and You put a spell on me strays into jazz/blues. Then there’s the soulful pop of Our love is music and the quasi ska of Stranger Welcome. But perhaps the band’s tour de force is El patrón y el diablo, which evolves from a brooding Latin mood into full-blown angry folk-rock. The oldest track on the album is the Cohenesque Private Prisons, which Les wrote back in 1985, when prison privatisation was in its embryonic stages in the USA. For Harbour, the final track on the album, written by Eleanor McEvoy, the band are joined by Deirdre’s fellow Northern Irelander Gene Thunderbolt on keyboards. Red Velvet would also like to thank Chris Fox, George Harper and Robin Gillan for their excellent musical input in the making of this album. 


Deirdre and Les are very much a part of the folk music scene in the Cambridge area, and have been organising gigs for upcoming young musicians for many years now. Les presents the highly successful folk music show “Strummers & Dreamers” on Cambridge 105 Radio.  

Heartland Soul is published by -

Clunk & Rattle Records

to purchase the new album contact -



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