Album Review | Songprint Recordings | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Scotland has a knack of producing some of the most notable singers in the world today and in particular those in the folk idiom. Siobhan Miller is one of those singers, whose reputation not only as a fine singer, but also a songwriter, performer and interpreter of traditional songs, is growing with each album release and each live appearance. In just a decade, we’ve seen the young singer surrounded by birds, holding close the Scottish city landscape, wearing a big floppy hat, not to mention sharing the frame with her former musical partner Jeana Leslie and now, for her fourth album, we see a confident and assured singer in profile, as captured by photographer Elly Lucas. Though now very much a solo performer, the Midlothian-born singer falls into collaboration with apparent ease, on this occasion working alongside Kris Drever, Megan Henderson, Innes White, John Lowrie and Kim Carnie, not to mention husband Euan Burton.
The warmth of Siobhan’s voice is captured immediately on the opening title song “All is Not Forgotten”, which has the power to engulf the listener momentarily in a blissful reverie. There’s no particular desire to be anywhere else, other than nipping over to the kettle, make a cuppa and starting all over again from scratch. The repeated refrain that closes the song almost ensures that Siobhan is not going to be forgotten anytime soon. If the song, co-written by Siobhan, Kris and Euan, is a perfect opener to this album, then the traditional “May Morning Dew” demonstrates just how well these musicians can adapt traditional songs and turn them into something quite beautiful, in this case with some weeping violin courtesy of Megan Henderson. Siobhan and Kris duet effortlessly on the gorgeous “Selkie”, also known as “The Selkie of Suleskerry”, which originates from Kris’s neck of the woods on Orkney, whilst the melody of “Loving Hannah” once again sends goosebumps all over the place. In a perfect world, we would hear “Now You Need Me” on the radio often, instead of some of the unlistenable contemporary ‘beats’ we’re served up regularly, but that’s just an old fart talking. With every song on the album, both original and traditional, being of such high class, it comes as a delight to hear the album close with Siobhan’s reading of Adam McNaughton’s hilarious Music Hall ditty “Cholesterol”, perhaps reminding us all to take it easy while we’re self-isolating. An easy five.
Choice Track: All is Not Forgotten (NSV 498)