Review: Melanie Baker – Broken

I first came across Melanie Baker, a young Cumbrian indie-folk singer-songwriter, in the course of her gruelling but rewarding month of busking and gigging during the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. Suitably impressed by her live performance and her 2018 debut EP, Dreamer, I’ve followed her musical progress with interest ever since. Baker’s second EP, Broken, a collection of six elegant and intelligent indie folk-pop gems, signals a step-change in her development, as she writes and sings with great directness and honesty about the emotional rollercoaster of falling in and out of love, and of the opportunities and challenges presented by the modern world. She has a real gift for melody and her songs have a classic, timeless feel.

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Review: Laura Jurd Trio

Laura Jurd is a London-based, award-winning trumpet player, composer and band-leader, who impressed greatly in the Miles Davis role as the special guest of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in their epic performance of Sketches Of Spain in Edinburgh earlier this year. It was therefore a real treat to catch the Laura Jurd Trio when they played in Glasgow’s cool and atmospheric Blue Arrow Jazz Club on 15th November as part of a UK tour to promote their new EP of covers, called simply Trio.

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Review: Scotia Extremis, Poems from the Extremes of Scotland’s Psyche Edited by Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone

Edited by poets Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone, Scotia Extremis is a poetry anthology, which seeks to explore the ‘soul of Scotland’ through a selection of poems specially commissioned from poets from all around the country. The anthology’s title is inspired, in part, by the following line from Hugh MacDiarmid’s great early poem, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle:

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Review: Humbird – Pharmakon

Named after a small dot of a town in central Wisconsin, Humbird is the creative guise of Siri Undlin, a singer-songwriter from Minneapolis. After a series of well-received EPs and extensive touring (either solo, as part of a duo or with a full band), Humbird has now released her first full-length album, Pharmakon (the concept that something can either be a poison or a cure, depending on how much is consumed).

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