Judy Dyble was the first vocalist for 1960s folk-rock band Fairport Convention. In 2016 she attended a concert by English prog-rock band Big Big Train, was intrigued by their music, and met the band. She appeared as a guest vocalist on one of their albums soon after. In the process, she struck up a friendship with Big Big Train vocalist David Longdon. As their friendship grew, Longdon suggested a joint album.
After recording was completed but before the album was released, Dyble was diagnosed with lung cancer and died at age 71. That album, Between a Breath and a Breath, serves as a tribute to their friendship. David Longdon carefully and lovingly set Dyble’s lyrics in musical settings designed to support her aging voice. The affection they had for each other comes across in the music.
A great example of this is “Tidying Away the Pieces,” a song about the loss of a loved one, perhaps Dyble’s husband who died some 25 years before she did. “I go through the motions of tidying away the pieces / of the life of the one who is gone from me. / And I’ll be alright.” The song projects Dyble’s fragility as well as the wisdom she has earned from age and experience. With strands of Dyble’s folk background and Longdon’s modern symphonic prog, Between a Breath and a Breath is a delightful listen. (English Electric Recordings)