REVIEW: Siobhan Miller
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by Margaret Chrystall
THERE’S probably no better way to promote an album of your favourite songs than the low-key pearl of a concert from SIOBHAN MILLER at Eden Court last week.
That album Strata is an eclectic mix of songs - and singers - that have often taught Siobhan the numbers that mean most to the Scots Trad Awards Scots singer of the year.
Along for the tour are Strata’s producer Euan Barton providing accompaniment on piano and double bass – and Aaron Jones on bouzouki and guitar.
And apart from an expertly-tapped tambourine, Siobhan’s crystalline voice more than took care of her contribution to the 18 or so songs that made up the setlist.
The night took us from the sinister traditional wonder of False False – taught to Siobhan by her dad who in turn had learned it from the late storyteller and singer Sheila Stewart – to finisher, Bob Dylan’s One Too Many Mornings.
And there was a sense of Siobhan as a worthy inheritor of Scotland’s songs as well as a composer of her own when she told the story of seeing Sheila Stewart for the last time.
"Now do you promise you will keep singing my family songs?" the veteran performer and traveller had asked her.
Gordeanna McCulloch who has featured in both Siobhan’s childhood and later education in music was also namechecked for teaching Siobhan The Unquiet Grave with its ghosts kept in limbo by the grief of the living.
Introducing it, Siobhan had already confessed to a taste for "sad dreich ballads" with Aaron adding: "We will cheer it up later with a Leonard Cohen number!"
Vying for song of the night came the performance of Robert Burns’ Green Grow The Rashes – the Bard’s songs more usually accompanied, she confessed, by numerous five-course dinner around Burns Nights.
Dick Gaughan’s part in the singer-songwriter’s repertoire was represented by Pound A Week Rise by Ed Pickford, a favourite choice for the Leith legend.
We’d only got to the fourth song of the night when Siobhan encourage her crowd to sing along.
"How do you feel about some singing together?" she asked, answering her own question. "Nervous laughter!"
But in paying tribute to Silly Wizard’s late Andy M Stewart – with Euan on double bass and Aaron on bouzouki – Siobhan found her carefully encouraged crowd ready to sing along lustily.
Or possibly it had something to do with an interval "wee sensation"!
There was a good-sized crowd for the gig and Siobhan dedicated Thanksgiving Eve to Dougie Mackenzie whose posters for the gig, Siobhan said she had been seeing all over Inverness.