Review: Rachel Sermanni

Rachel Sermanni, the ‘folk noir’ singer-songwriter from Carrbridge in the Scottish Highlands, made a very welcome return to Edinburgh’s Summerhall on 26th January, as part of the venue’s programme of contemporary arts events inspired by Robert Burns, and the spacious Dissection Room (Summerhall formerly housed the Royal Dick Veterinary School…) was pleasingly packed for the occasion. Starting the show in solo mode, Rachel treated us to a brand new song and then switched from guitar to mandolin for the mellow jauntiness of Lay-Oh.

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Review: Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, Celtic Connections 2018

A capacity audience in the classy surroundings of Glasgow City Halls provided the perfect setting for Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer at Celtic Connections on 27th January. The sisters from Alabama are both pioneers in the territory between country music and what has come to be called Americana and they have long been celebrated for their exceptional strength and vision as both songwriters and singers. Surprisingly, given their extremely close bond as sisters (both of their parents died in tragic circumstances when the girls were still in their teens), last year’s critically-acclaimed Not Dark Yet was the first-ever album they had made together, consisting of an eclectic range of covers and a new song from Shelby.

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Review: Hamish Hawk – Swannanoa

For his third release, Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Hamish Hawk has capitalised on the great promise of his earlier recordings to produce a finely-crafted and coherent set of songs which represent a step-change in his song-writing development. Essentially, Swannanoa is a collection of three beautiful piano ballads, written during Hamish’s tour of the USA earlier this year. Each song bears the Hamish Hawk trademarks of warmth, wit and wordsmithery; and together they conjure up a sense of the space and wonderment one might experience in the course of a US road-trip.

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Review: Blue Rose Code – The Water of Leith

Blue Rose Code is the musical alias of Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter Ross Wilson. A natural storyteller with a poet’s heart, and possessed of a beautiful Edinburgh burr of a singing voice, Wilson has been developing his song-writing craft and signature sound since the release of his first album, North Ten, in 2013. He has absorbed subtle elements of the music of John Martyn, Van Morrison, Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Marvin Gaye along the way and, in recent years, has also embraced the music and poetry of Scotland to add further richness to his musical palette.

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