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by Margaret Chrystall
THE last few years of touring life have given Carrbridge singer songwriter RACHEL SERMANNI a wide perspective broadened by a world that most of us will never see.
Yet at her gig at Eden Court on Sunday, Rachel’s talent for drawing a crowd in closer to hear voice and songs that could only be hers – plus her mischievous side – seemed untouched by global travel.
Her latest album is a live recording of her set at Dawson City festival in the Yukon – an area she likens to her home landscape but "as if God had passed a magnifying glass over everything and you were a tiny ant".
Yet her newest song was inspired by a walk up Docharn hill outside Carrbridge.
Old favourites were in plentiful supply too. Bones, Breathe Easy, Two Birds and To Wait To Wit To Woo were among highlights documenting her journey so far.
Show Me The Easy Way Out had been the final song of Colin Macleod's event-opening set - presented with zenlike understatement – Rachel joining in on vocals. Home is still a jewel of the songs, his cover of Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain reminded himof days annoying Stornoway pubs with his Leonard Cohen-esque version
A Narnian wardrobe was unlocked to a new land of imaginative uses for a musical palette using minimalistic piano from Jen Austin, electric guitar and gentle pedal steel swathes of sound from Colin Macleod – and Rachel sometimes soloing on guitar.
"Hello!" she had greeted the theatre at the start of her set.
"Mum, I’m sorry, I forgot to change my tights!"
Then she grinned: "Deal with it."
You barely noticed the ladderette prompting her mum’s concern, but the ankle boots were instantly parked, making easier Rachel’s tiptoe stretches as the music took her.
The encore saw the audience whistling as instructed to Adam Holmes’ drinking song Won’t You Come Out With Me, a perfect antidote to the darker, sadder territory of night-closing double bill The Fog and Song To A Fox – set in a Strathspey forest near the rail-line to London.
Rachel gently reminded us – without any hint of a sales pitch – that her CDs might be found in the theatre foyer.
"See you outside – or in the village of Carrbridge!"
But catch her while you can.
The next week sees the Sermanni map marked up with Dundee, Findhorn, Aberdeen ... and Reykjavik.
Rachel plays Findhorn Universal Hall on Sunday and Aberdeen Lemon Tree on Monday.