Jenny Sturgeon announces debut album

Jenny Sturgeon band

Inspired by her home region, the north east of Scotland, Jenny Sturgeon explores themes of nature, legend, myth and everyday human experience as she celebrates a community that is both local and global. The songs and the range of musical influences they incorporate weave a web of varied styles and feelings that ebb and flow through the album.

Jenny’s lyrics and the album arrangements fuse traditional Scottish folk styles with contemporary musical genres across a range of styles and places. The songs create a rich tapestry – from local history and folklore through key life moments – and as a biologist, nature creeps in to all of Jenny’s work which is reflected in the striking artwork.

With exceptional vocal clarity Jenny weaves melodies with her thoughtful and poignant lyrics. From energetic and spirited songs to delicate ballads and gritty laments, ‘From the skein’ captures the range, depth and imagery of Jenny’s songwriting. As pointed out by Charlie West, Director of Stonehaven Folk Festival, she is skilled at producing songs across a wide range of styles: “taking a simple melody and creating a haunting ballad, or writing compelling narrative songs which immediately engage with the audience“.

From The Skein features Jenny’s regular bandmates and the album co-arrangers – multi-instrumentalists Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs), Davy Cattanach (Catford) and Grant Anderson (Brothers Reid). Special guests include Fraser Fifield on whistle and saxophone, Brian McAlpine on accordion and cello player Aongus Mac Amhlaigh. Guest vocalists include Indian Carnatic singer Rahul K Ravindran and Gaelic singer Ana Maia MacLellan. The album was produced by accomplished piano player and songwriter Simon Gall (Salsa Celtica) with whom Jenny worked on the critically-acclaimed 2015 Clype album.

The album opens with ‘Maiden Stone’, one of several songs on the album inspired by regional folklore. This track features the distinctive low whistle of Fraser Fifield, whose melody weaves around the vocals and the driving bass line, building tension and giving the song the timeless feel of an old ballad first sung hundreds of years ago.

The breadth of inspiration in the album is apparent in the songs ‘Running Free’ and ‘Honest Man’. ‘Running Free’ is a track borrowing from folk as well as drum and bass genres to create an uplifting and energising song, featuring Brian McAlpine on accordion and punchy rhythmic instrumentation on guitar and bass. The delicate and light ‘Honest Man’ has a dream like quality with lush vocal harmonies and a rolling tenor guitar melody.

Other tracks such as ‘Linton’ highlight Jenny’s interest in local history. This song tells the tale of the Cutty Sark and her designer Hercules Linton – who hailed from Aberdeenshire. The steady rhythm and Rahul Ravindran’s thrilling improvised melody create a light and fluid song which dances over the guitar and percussion as a boat over water.

The power and emotion of Jenny’s voice and lyrics are clear in the only unaccompanied track on the album – the politically driven song ‘Judgement’ – as well as in ‘Cùlan’ which tells a variation on the tale of the popular traditional song ‘the cruel sister’. With Gaelic translation and delicate harmonies from Ana Maia MacLellan this track is hauntingly beautiful.

From The Skein is testimony to Jenny’s songwriting and storytelling ability as well as to the creativity of the musicians. It was born out of a love of folk music and the joy of creating new compositions and has produced a varied, vibrant and inspiring album.

Artist’s website: www.jennysturgeonmusic.com

‘The Greenwood Side’ live, featuring Fraser Fifield:

Clype announce debut album

Clype

Clype is the much-anticipated self-titled debut album from one of Scotland’s newest and most dynamic duos. Hailing from the North East, Clype is a stripped-back experiment in fusing sounds and styles from around the globe. The musicians borrow from Scottish folk traditions as well as from the rhythms of Latin America and harmonic ideas of jazz to create a new, inimitable sound.

The duo, which comprises pianist and singer-songwriter Simon Gall of Salsa Celtica and Old Blind Dogs fiddler Jonny Hardie, has produced an exciting and challenging album filled with fresh-sounding melody lines, thought-provoking lyrics and elegant arrangements which has garnered prestigious support. Speaking about the music the legendary singer-songwriter Richard Thompson said,

 “I urge you to give a listen to Clype. This is music firmly rooted in the North East of Scotland, but which pulls in influences from all over the world. Simon Gall and Jonny Hardie create music which is eclectic, original, accomplished and challenging.”

The mood of the album is established in the introduction of the first song ‘The Brush to Paint Us All’; a song which was inspired by the harmonic ideas of Bill Evans, the melodic heritage of Scottish folk music and the academic ideas of Edward Said.

Other tracks such as ‘Down With May’ more clearly highlight Clype’s interest in Latin America – in particular Colombia’s Pacific coast. This song flits between feels and time signatures recalling the rhythmic traditions of Afro-Colombia while further exploring Scottish folk sensibilities.

‘Now My Home’ features the unmistakable low whistle of Ross Ainslie. The weaving melody is complimented by an exciting whistle solo which lifts the track to its peak before settling back into the tasteful piano groove.

The beautiful voice of guest singer-songwriter Jenny Sturgeon can be heard in her self-penned track ‘Fair Drawin’ In’. Its soaring melody is underpinned by a repetitive pedal in the piano and shruti box giving the song a distinctive and lush harmonic bed upon which to dance. Jenny also co-writes and sings on the reflective ‘Red Tide’.

The album is deep and mature and is a testimony to the creativity of the musicians. It was born out of a profound love for the folk music of the world and has masterfully pulled some of them together to create a vibrant, enduring and inspiring album.

Artists’ website: http://www.clypemusic.com/

Watch the promotional video: