Album/EP Reviews Folk Music Gentle Nature Folk Political Vitality World

Lizabett Russo- “While I Sit and Watch This Tree” (album review)

Russo’s album is a brighter, more focused affair that lets the positive rays of growth bring more optimism to her delightfully individual music.

To Be Released: Late November 2020

Gathering her ideas from the characterful stream of her mind and hewing a sound from the knotty avant-garde folk tree, Lizabett Russo continues a work very much her own with more integration of her core ideas around nature, personal anxiety and politics. With “While I Sit and Watch This Tree” it also feels that Russo is letting the background sing as much as her own interesting, searching voice.

“While I Sit and Watch This Tree” sees Russo (classical guitar, charango) joined by the musicianship of Graeme Stephen (electric guitar, loops/effects, piano), Oene van Geel (cello, viola, percussion), Udo Dermadt (various percussion, clay pot). Interestingly, the album itself is being released by not-for-proft charity, “Last Night from Glasgow” which strives to provide artists, “fair remuneration for their work” and is funded by patrons. They have some enticing options for supporters and if this piques the reader’s interest, is well worth a look at, (

Lizabett Russo is a Romanian-born (now Scotland-settled) artist with wide-ranging vocals that can swing around a point like a pencil in a metal compass, pleasantly drawing patterns only she can see. It has always seemed to us that Russo’s signature style could be how she musically captures the “meeting of her thoughts” within a song. The joy in this is when she begins with one idea there is often no certainty about where this will end up in terms of style, beat and genre. When these shifts happen her ideas clash in a great auditory drama and the song becomes something else altogether; jazz moves to folk, to expansive poetry and far beyond. Therefore, it is rare that Russo’s music is a steady-paced jog in the countryside, it is more akin to orienteering upon a craggy rock face with various dashing and walking speeds, the wonder of finding the puzzle, and wading through water while the sun bakes your muddy jersey.

“While I Sit and Watch This Tree” continues this stylistic motif in parts (and Russo’s great voice endures) but this time there feels more like a greater continuity to the tracks and it’s cognitive, political and natural folk music is layered around a vision which is more optimistic, and probably less mystifying than her previous works. What do we feel about the songs?

“Two Hands Together” is the musical fusion of a union rally call stretched across the drums of a shamanistic greeting. The song asks for the listener to  “get up and fight, get up and see what is there to see beyond the horizon” as it calls the “brother” and “sister” to action. The hands clap and the spirit of rebellion splashes up onto the jungle raft as it moves along. It is a song about the destruction of the rainforest in Ecuadar,and in character it feels much like the protest is coming from “within”the trees and the cultures of the area. Atmospheric and spiritual, it appeals to the senses with it’s peaceful yet pleading message.  

The track “I Was Young When I Left Home”, is as nostalgic and delicately skipping a track as you might find from the young artist. It’s a moody assortment of piano and jingly percussion which begins like the building bustle of an Alpaca textile stall in the morning. As it starts the track’s colours glow and Russo’s ideas firmly greet each other in a busy kind of joy. By the second half, it is a track that has ascended like red vapour from a heavenly candle, flickering for a moment in the mind. It seems to play like a contrast between her life now and from her past. Russo paints not an unhappy picture of her youth, but with the contrasting styles of the track you wonder if she considers her current creative life akin to spiritual enlightenment, as she has noted previously that music is not considered a profession in Romania and more a “hobby”. Whatever it’s intention, the song presents two distinct and interesting sides of Russo’s character.

“Depending” is a song like an anagogic spray of glitter and lights crackling in the heavy, damp air. It starts brimming with Russo’s echoing vocals portraying a contented inner voice with some solid, earthy strings backing this up. Much like Heraclitis’ famous wisdom, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Russo explores virtue and time within one of her more simply structured songs on the disc. With a clear message and voice that sounds like it hovers over swarms of heady springtime bees. It is a nice entry among many.

Photograph by: Vicki Rose Evans.

Russo’s cover (her only one here) of “The Water is Wide” is also a welcome addition. Russo takes on a folkier track than usual and the results are a song of easy listening that sings lightly of transformation and joy. Voice and lyrics are still front and centre, but unlike other versions (such as Karla Bonoff’s) it has both a stronger world feel, and both instrumentation (particularly the charango) and composition are more wedded to the elements of Nu-Folk. Russo gives us two co-existing ideas; one is her future character singing with a care-free confidence of a dilettante as she looks back at her migration. The second is the content of the song which hints at past Russo’s worries about impending travel and starting a new life. It is a cheerful affair though and a worthwhile cover.

So with the latest offering from Lizabett Russo we get a sunny, idea-filled exploration of Russo’s own beliefs and history. Her music reminds of the art of Scott Maismithi with it’s sharp, bright colours showing the natural landscape like a musician’s heart and soul in bloom. Moreso, it shows that Russo has much more to say about her life as well as ways to say it.

As the fourth album of Russo’s catalogue, it is possibly the most joyfully introspective but also a perfect starting place for those new to her works so we recommend that you check it out.

For details of purchasing her album, have a look at Lizabett’s website here,

Here is a preview of the album on Youtube:

Russo’s live stream of her album launch is taking place on YouTube on 27th November, check it out here

Album/EP Reviews European Folk Music Political

Will Pound- A Day Will Come (album review)

Breathlessly broad yet uniting; Pound’s love letter to the European idea and its people touches the soul.

Released 8th May (Will Pound Lulubug Records).

Will Pound’s Art’s Council funded work is an unbridled joy filled with light and cheers from every corner of your favourite continental bar. Much like our favourite A L’Imaige Nostre-Dame in Brussels, it is classic in its appeal and with grace contains a strong selection of beers (sets) to warrant it’s reputation amongst those that stop to admire the decor.   

More like The World’s Fair then your local continental market, Pound et al. make the call which brings all the winds of the Continent here and somewhere in its veins it carries a regal (but not austere) character that sets the mind racing. It is unashamedly a political album in the sense that the intention of the artist seems to be to showcase the strength of unity of the EU and the commonality of the musical identities throughout Europe. It accomplishes this by not just highlighting Pound’s own harmonica and melodeon skills (which are considerable) but several other talents are taking part such as Zhivko Zhelev (Dobrudja State Folk Ensemble), Dame Evelyn Glennie, Patsy Reid and Jenn Butterworth amongst many others.  It is up to the listener if they wish to bring politics into reviews, but it seems a disservice to brush over Pound’s vision as just a collection of technical sets that have sprung up independent of each other. In the booklet there is a written ode to our European brethren who came to our shores and the contribution they have given, the values and peculiarities they have adopted and Pound sees their value alongside the Countries he reveals in their musical mastery. 

Pound takes the styles and tunes of 27 EU member states he has researched and weaves them into a fine tapestry (like those 15th Century Netherland wonders) that starts from the sense of familiarity and builds on this until the tunes become etched in your ears. There is a lot we like here. One of our favourite sets on the album is Kaap’ren Varen/El Candil (Netherlands/Spain). The first sounds like a wild boar frolicking in the undergrowth of a national park, it twists and turns and occasionally puts his head above the roots to watch you with his dark eyes. Used as a children’s song it has a melodic hook which doesn’t so much grab as clasps you with both hands in welcome. As we get to the second part of the set, things get a little brighter, a bit like stepping on a folk revolving platform the tune  reflects light all round like a European disco ball. Jenn Butterworth’s guitar chases like a surreptitious, impromptu dance in the amongst the Spanish trees. A great number.

Bohdan Piasecki

We also recommend Krakowiak/Ellin Polkka (Poland/Finland) as a spinning show of grandeur. Intensive harmonica combines with crisp guitars and sporadic, sweet violin. Linking to the Finland track with a tale of migration the tune becomes more bombastic like a bevy of white swans just beginning to take flight. Characterful and suave it chases you whilst dressed in one fine tuxedo. The second half is in particular a toe-tapping smile and shuffle that would not be out of place in the late moments of the folk festival tent as your family whirls around you in tired happiness. Full of hammering instruments and the bullet-speed spoken word (from Polish poet, Bohdan Piasecki) it pleases, and in it’s urgency it seems to captivates from all angles. The Malta/Estonia track is no less intricate, especially with mind boggling notation on the accordion. Starting as something slower and more familiar it morphs into a free-reed bonanza as it progresses onward and upward.  The Greece/Cyprus track is similarly note heavy and a technical joy in a fascinating set which is somehow both positive and somewhat despondent in the same breath, however you want to open your ears to it.

Credit: Philipp Rathmer

Like a man running from a duel down the back alleys of Bucharest, Romania/Bulgaria is a percussion-led, clattering, happy little romp that then explodes into a historical fantasy with a longboat’s crew moving in time as the drums get louder and the oars pull. In the moment of the track the exquisite, adroit percussion of Eveleyn Glennie seems unmatched in the cosmos. Pound’s harmonica dances alongside in a way that is both light and intricate, a fine addition to the tracks within.

There is plenty here as well; 14 sets of two tunes is generosity, joy and warmth that continues to be memorable long when after the CD laser has stopped. We got swept up in the purpose and the celebration, maybe not everyone will; but we cannot think of anyone in their right mind who could not at the smallest absolute least, appreciate the very fine production and mixing that has been done here (Andie Thompson), each instrument really is an actor in the play at the Vienna State Opera.

In case you couldn’t tell, we were keen on this album. The year is still relatively young, but for us, this is most likely the best album we have heard so far. Pound’s own performance is stellar, his guests are so fresh and green they are positively hacking bamboo shoots in the China wetlands, and the breadth of songs is fantastic. Importantly, the depth and clarity from the sound engineering make everything sound exactly as it should, bravo.

Will Pound’s tour is on hiatus due to the Coronavirus epidemic, we recommend keeping an eye on his website at

Will Pound’s album can be purchased from a number of stockists, we recommend to purchase from Bandcamp here

If your interest is piqued then check out the sample video below:

NOTE: We do not claim or imply ownership over the photos used in this article. If we have been unable to credit you, then please contact us in order to reference you properly at .

Festival PR

Hebden Folk and Roots Festival 2018-11th, 12th, 13th May. 5 Reasons Why You Should Go!


Hebden Folk and Roots Festival is back in 2018!

Persistent in the yearly calendar, Hebden Festival has been going for a little while now showcasing music from far and wide but what is it about for those who have never been?

Hebden Bridge is nestled within the Upper Calder Valley as a place from history that has been known as “trouser town”, been a reception area for individuals in the wars relocating from urban cities, and a hotspot for politics, creativity and tourism. It is friendly and characterful with a cool town centre and a beautifully green and verdant feel being a place of choice for walkers, climber, hikers and the outdoorsy. It is a nice place, but what about the festival?

It is what it says on the tin, a festival of folk and roots music. It does this through the wonderful efforts of Hebden Bridge Creative types who have put the beacons out that and gathered the heart of roots music and the soul of folk music to it’s old stone buildings, song to the taverns and stories to the very glade itself. While it is stitched together so nicely with so many acts, it is also relaxed with a bohemian feel and a family friendly ethos.

There is something incredibly celebratory and characterful about the whole place, for adults, children and generally lovers of music. If you love live listening to music with the Countryside on your doorstep, this is your place. But for those who are still not sold..


(1) Its picturesque

Hebden Bridge is definitely what you would refer to as a place of enchanting beauty. I’ve already been harping on about this a lot, but words cannot truly describe. Rather than go on and on even more, take a look at where this is all happening and get  yourself a ticket!

(2) It has local, established and upcoming talent

The Festival is very rooted to musical happenings from this part of the world but also from further afield. One of the venues, the first floor of the Trades Club is an incredibly well know, popular and celebrated site that regularly gets voted as a finalist for the NME Small Venue of the year award. Formed in history as a co-operative, it is even now member’s co-operative again. The history is one thing, the music is another. Last year the roof was pretty much being raised by the Klemzer Bands in there. Energetic, joyful and atmospheric it is one venue amongst many that get the senses going.

There is also a great, ranging musical spectrum of artists this year.  There is expert guitarist “Ewan Mclennan”, the political “Reg Meuross” and the recognisable “Steve Tilston” and these are just the bigger names. Of these artists, Reg Meuross, Steve Tilston, and John Palmer will be performing at the Hope Baptist Chapel a fine acoustic setting that reopened in late 2017.  There is also something here if you like historical song from Calderdale (Ghost School), the songs of Woodie Guthrie (Will Kaufman), Latin America (Mestisa), and swing (309’s) or Americana (Farrago); just as starting examples. There is undoubtedly something new and exciting to discover in this lineup, go and see what Calderdale is all about!

(3) There is intrigue as well as music 

It is not just music that Hebden Folk and Roots are known for. There is, of course, a ceilidh for people who cannot keep their feet still on Friday night and other opportunities to dance along with street entertainment.

The festival is also home this year to storytelling as Ursula Holden Gill takes you along a “grisly ghost walk” of Hebden Bridge (which is entertaining and appropriate for children also) and there is also Shonaleigh, an accomplished storyteller of the Drut’syla tradition who has travelled and performed in London, Europe, New Zealand and the US bringing her work to schools and community groups.

If storytelling is not your thing, there is comedy and street theatre from Mike Hancock, folk dancing, and “Fire Man Dave” (circus skills) to keep you and the little ones entertained. Whether inside a venue or outside in the beautiful sun, it’s going to be a great weekend with something to learn!

(4) There are fine taverns with their own musical goings on

If you need a break and the formality of a line-up gets too much, there is a  chance to walk the cobbled streets and grab a refreshing drink from several of the fine pubs that Hebden Bridge has to offer. From the “White Swan” to the “Fox and Goose”, from the “Old Gate” to the “Shoulder of Mutton” and the “Famous Albert” there are many stops to refuel, eat and drink and be merry. Hebden Bridge also boasts some small, accomplished cafes and bars which are also opening their doors such as “Mooch” and “Drink” for Coffee addicts if alcohol is not on your preferred drinks list. The food is also excellent here.

The cool bit is not just that they are serving as ususal, they also have their own programmes of music running through the weekend with many local bands making an appearance and entertaining you through your third latte.  A warming coffee and some good music is a good way to end the night.

(5) Great Shopping

We did say it was beautiful.. but it also has some great shops to grab a few gifts at such as “Noir” Jewellery (, Jules Chinaware (, and one of our personal favourites “The V&A Collective” ( for your artistic Gothic needs. There are interesting art galleries (such as the Snug Gallery and places for antiques (like the Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre, and many, many others that will have something a bit different for you to purchase to show your loved ones.

We really think its difficult not to come away from Hebden Bridge without something unique and special to remember your time there, check them out!

And there you have it. A music festival, but also a weekend experience in itself, and one we are looking forward to very much.

If you are interested in going, check out the website and get yourself some tickets. There is the option of camping, day tickets and weekend tickets, the website is a good resource for finding out other information about the area too at

The Box Office is open from 2pm on Friday 11th May 2018, so pop in.. say hi, and get yourself a ticket!

We hope to see you there, we will be!

British Debut Folk Music Folk Stories Historical Trad Covers Traditional

Geoff Lakeman at Village Folk – 17th March 2018

There is procrastination and procrastination. I mean I have thought about painting the walls in my office a beautiful forest green for weeks (and haven’t managed yet) but sometimes people put off really big things, things that matter. In the world of music there are bands who take their sweet time between album releases. For example Daft Punk took 12 years between “Human After All” and “Random Access Memories” and The Who went from 1982 to 2006 without a further album release in the middle. You have groups like this, then you get Geoff Lakeman.

Geoff Lakeman is a surprisingly low-key figure in a flock of Lakemans, but there are few that will not recognise the name at all. Many are well known folk artists after all including Seth, Sam and Sean Lakeman, all artists very present and productive in their folk projects, but what of Geoff? Well if Lakemans are like springs of musical versatility then perhaps you could say that Geoff is the “limestone” that helped these waters emerge. As father to the others, he is the unsung song,the unseen wind that performed folk as a family for several years only taking it up full-time when retiring from a long, distinguished career in wall-street journalism. So when we think about time taken for artists to release work, few will match Geoff’s record of waiting until his 69th year to put his thoughts on to silver disc.

But it is well worth the wait, our review of it is here and tonight he plays at Village Folk in Chellaston.

Making his way in a rather quiet and unassuming manner, Geoff took the stage to show us what he knows. Perhaps this element of Geoff taking his time to make a disc from his 40 years of performance is what makes listening to Lakeman now a special and privileged event.

It is a refreshing set. Lakeman skips across the Atlantic on more than one occassion bringing us “When the Taters are Dug” and “A Wide, Wide River to Cross.” The former being a delightful ditty about rural life from Maine, the latter is like a spiritual hymn with it’s powerful resonating introspection, the singer reaches far and wide in both location and tone. The crowd are rapt and attentive as he holds the stage for his own, it is a delight to see him touring. Delicate in character Geoff also sang “Someone waiting for me”, a track not found on “After All These Years” and when he comes back to our shores he storms in with an original number “Tie ‘Em Up”, based in history but eerily relevant to today’s issues to do with fishing quotas.

Geoff also plays one of our personal favourites “Rule and Bant” about a couple of tin miners trapped in the ground following an accident in the 1800s. An emotional number, Geoff’s voice is quite elastic here portraying fear, good cheer and mystery. Politics gets as good as a visit as history too with Lakeman playing an excellent cover of “England Green, England Grey” by Reg Meuross instead swapping out the fine guitar work for his own concertina. As becomes apparent, the set has more than a few flashes of politics and history and has an awful lot to say much like the aforementioned Meuross who alongside Geoff are likewise chroniclers of our modern injustices. The joy of seeing Geoff is that he embodies the soul of folk music as he plays alone with a rare concertina quality with no production tricks, echos or otherwise. For many this alone is folk music at it’s purest, like col0ssal veins of iron before they are treated to become stainless steel. People who like their songs about the working man will not be disappointed here.

In person and in performance there is isn’t a big band or a wall of sound but does not suffer for it. It is quite a pertinent observation as Lakeman jokingly tells the audience about the creation of the album. It is pretty entertaining to hear how it came to it’s current shape, especially at one point where Geoff sends a track off to Sean doing the production to add in another instrument and it comes back with more backing and Kathryn Roberts’ voice appearing on the number as a surprise. His laments about being coerced into including the track “Doggie Song”by said Roberts are also entertaining as he becomes concerned about being remembered for the guy who sings about “dog turds”. The risks of musical typecasting is certainly real!

As well as showcasing a large amount of the album’s tracks, Geoff took some delightful sunny detours. He sings “The Seeds of Love”, that old, old classic collected from Cecil Sharp and a jaunty, folky version of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Making Whoopee” that makes really does the earth move. These little moments of sweetness and humour really bring a roundedness to the set elevating it above the preconceptions that some might have about folk music, e.g. that it’s all about death and seriousness.

So in a strong, simple performance whose strength is it’s simplicity and clarity, Lakeman shows us he is an entralling, generous and accomplished host. The set brims with stories, the room sways and sings along in time and the night is awash with a quiet energy that fills the corners of the Lawns Hotel.  A great night,  a thorough, committed performance and as always a gracious, attentive and warm reception by this night’s organisers, definitely give one of Geoff’s gigs a go.

Check out Geoff’s website for more information about where he is touring here!

Village Folk is one of the best live venues we have been to.. granted we write for them, but we also believe it is a great atmosphere, a welcoming family of people and a special night out, check out their website here to see which folk act they are getting next (they get some of the best)

Album/EP Reviews Dark Folk Folk Music Nature Folk

Jenny Sturgeon’s “From the Skein” Album Review

A good debut album that effectively conveys Sturgeon’s love of history. A balance exists as wide myth collides with shared Scots history; brilliance flickers in some of the darker tracks which hint at even better things to come.

I have been taking some time to have a listen to Jenny Sturgeon’s debut album, “From the skein”, it is indeed an interesting beast.

Produced by Simon Gall who Jenny worked with on a disc nominated in 2015 for the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Award/Folk Radio Album of the year (Clype’s album “Clype”), the album design recognises Jenny’s voice and creates some interesting space in which she works within. It dabbles in some surprising but not heavy-handed different world influences which like the salt and lime with tequila make something else out of something that could be much more standard fare. Co-arrangers and multi-intrumentalists Davy Cattanach (from Catford), Jonny Hardie (from Old Blind Dogs), Grant Anderson (from Brothers Reid) and special guests Brian McApline (accordian), Aongus Mac Amhlaigh (cello), Fraser Fifield (whistle and sax), Ana Maia MacLellan (gaelic singer), and  Rahul K Ravindran (Indian Carnatic singer) add texture across the album in a great blend of traditions and choices.


The first thing that both strikes you from it’s looks is the hints at the contents from within the album cover artwork by Jenny (and Will Miles). It is aiming for both a historical and natural feel with the front reference to wild geese in formation with it’s slightly faded wash and appearance of being a “discovered” illustration  from antiquity. It seems to work when viewed through this lens as you can imagine the scene in something like Cadfael where a camera pans from a clergy man to a side manuscript with the eponymous geese being sketched and studied no end. The artwork is lovely and shows the attachment of the artist to her Aberdeen dwellings, the choice of geese is more an implicit connection of the themes in the album. Rather than it feeling like an album about travel, migration or nature, it is more concerned with human history, religion, and political events; nature and the world spins around these here. What of the feel of the album?

Jenny Sturgeon is an artist who brings the sensibilities of traditional tracks which are punctuated with a conglomerate of instrumental artists. The folk music here is liberally sprinkled with myth but not exclusively so. Some tracks are like the roots of myth and take direct story influence (e.g. Maiden Stone) where others are like the shoots and seem more contemporary (e.g. Running Free) and both are quite welcoming and engaging in different ways. Sturgeon’s work tackles some darker elements but chooses not to constrain itself solely to a particular sound. Rightly (or wrongly I suppose based on viewpoint) “From the Skein” is a broader showcase of talent than a set of music which is concerned with furrowing a deep trail of one type, I somewhat prefer the darker stuff and when it gets fairly heavy it is very much like a brewing, nebulous demitasse but it would not have been a wise move to stick to this alone. I then had a think about some of the tracks within.


“Maiden Stone” at the beginning has a powerful hum which emanates from the central core of the song like a space monolith among a red-dune planet. Of course the track itself is more down to earth as  a direct reference to the Maiden Stone near Inverurie in Scotland. The song is based on  the myth of a wager that the main character makes with a man when she tries to get out of a marriage following an unfortunate discovery, “was then she spied the fork in his tail, she was to be Beezlebub’s bride.” It is one of those stories veenered in history. The urgent and sharp guitars progress the song on and the woodwind wraps across the track like a mysterious shawl, there is a hint of jazz as it blusters with mild chaos and the inevitability draws near. The story sets a relatively grim, but darkly comforting track at the beginning of the album which probably plays on the safer side, but is executed well with a recognisable traditional voice as it navigates lyrical content deep into the witching hour.


“Raven” is a gutsy shanty which I don’t want to do it a disservice, but it is almost like a folk rap. Probably the best track on the album, Sturgeon’s voice rises and falls not unlike the waves of the sea. The whole arrangement is shiveringly fleshed out with powerful rasping drums and percussion in accompaniment, pickling vinegar strings and the repetition of “the voice of wind through broken stone, “the wind seeps in, the wind seeps in.” It does indeed, and you feel like the track could be your swansong as the ill-natured sea reclaims the land which you cling to. While wordily traditional and briny, the drumming is more 90s pop rock or ballad-like. Stunningly despairing in tone, yet uptempo in pace it surprises and leaves you wanting more. Like a boat, there are points where the track lurches as the drums and cymbals change, you are not sure where it is going but that is part of the excitement.

Sturgeon’s “Selkie” returns to the subject matter of legends and historical superstitions set up early on the album, except taking the broad concept of the “selkie” (a sea seal that sheds it’s skin on land and becomes a beautiful human male or female) and telling a story around this Shetland/Nordic creature of old. Starting as a lo-fi number like a creature alone in the sea it then like a briny Talisker malt opens up; the still waters splash on the shores and it takes a number of world influences and adds a more Eastern sound. Minor harmonies arise, the male singing accompaniment brings a timeless, hidden aspect to the song while Sturgeon herself adopts a clear, distinctive and longing voice through the course of proceedings. The transition of the arrangement is well executed, the track truly speaks, it all plays together well and holds nicely. It becomes an epic world tune in no time before your ears and an engulfing number the expanse of Rahul L Ravindran’s voice and the instruments hint at a horizon and ageless plain of sound. 


“Harbour Masters” unlike the other tracks mentioned so far is a lighter number but an incredibly sensory one that goes some way to building on a picture of contentment yet active energy at the edge of land and sea. It leaps into your mind as the purposeful bustle of your surroundings combine with a spirit of freedom and fun. The harbour master is a philosophical woman looking out to see the space between imagination and sees the wonder rolling out through the shoreline, “for miles it seems that I can see in the dimming of the night.” An accessible track that appeals like warmer lapping brooks in contrast to the cold wall of history and dark mysticism. As it appears, it brings more balance to the album and shows a mid-set track which reminds that we are away from the everyday and where nature meets people there can be simple pleasures to be had in it’s observation. It pairs quite well with the other evocative night track on the album that focuses on the moment, “Nowhere else I’d rather be.”

“The Honours” is another historical story. This one is led quite strongly with whistle and fiddle describing the hiding of the Scottish crown jewels by Rev. James Grainger after they were moved from Edinburgh Castle, and then Dunnottar Castle to a church in Kinneff to save them from a fate of anti-establishment destruction by Oliver Cromwell. A traditional, drum heavy number it is a rhythmic reminder of the past that tells a simple yet significant story of Scottish history. Alongside some of the tracks already mentioned it does show quite a good eye for songwriting from historical sources, Sturgeon clearly has a warm spot for the whole part of this land; be it the more popular, widely-held myths from the mainland, the more obscure village yarns or the quiet murmors of apprehensive sailors there are ties to history and theme which moves the work away from an overly emotive piece concerned with feeling alone.


Overall, a good debut. It intrigues a little, it celebrates Scotland a lot, and it tries hard to immerse you into the world it is painting and for the vast majority it succeeds very well at this. It appeals in part to fans of traditional folk though balances this with more modern timings on certain tracks. The world influence is strong here and a crossover between world and folk, it gets the balance right in my opinion and the braver choices of arrangement and instrumentation pay off well. If you have a space on your folk shelf, I certainly recommend “From the Skein.”

If you wish to purchase the album, the best place to go is Jenny’s bandcamp page, where you can hear samples of the tracks before purchasing!


Track list

  1. Maiden Stone
  2. Raven
  3. Running Free
  4. Selkie
  5. Nowhere Else I’d Rather Be
  6. Honest Man
  7. Cùlan
  8. Linton
  9. Harbour Masters
  10. Judgement
  11. The Honours
  12. Fair Drawin’ In

If you are still uncertain, check out a clip of “Selkie” from the Isle of May Foghorn Sessions.