I make no apologies for this fawning review; Rachel Sermanni is one of Scotland’s finest young singer/songwriters who improves with every time you see her.
She is a pleasure to witness and in the splendour of The Old Fruitmarket, a room that suits her perfectly, she continues her Live at Dawson City album tour.
The Fruitmarket is set out in a cabaret style with the crowd sat comfortably round tables in perfect silence enjoying the show.
Starting with a new song, Sermanni quickly grips the crowd with the emotional pull of her alluring songwriting.
Skipping on to ‘Two Birds’, a song that highlights her skill as a guitarist as well as a vocalist, as her fingers spread across ranging chords, she engages the crowd with her pitch perfect voice, leaving us in a spell bound fog and receiving raucous applause.
‘Everything Changes’, from the same titled EP followed, this uncomplicated yet stunning song tells a perfect lifelong love story and the delicate vocal is delivered with a conviction that belies Sermanni’s tender years.
With just a piano to accompany her guitar it would have been easy for such a gentle song to get lost in the vastness of the stage, but such is the quality, depth and strength of her voice it fills the room captivated the audience; this was the highlight of the night.
Colin McLeod a young musician and talent in his own right takes centre stage to sing ‘Show Me The Easy Way Out’ with backing vocals from Sermanni, the two have worked together for a while with McLeod being the supporting act at previous gigs and they compliment each other well.
Sermanni is a spirited young thing and her song writing emanates from fairytale imagery of her dreams, she sings about the things she sees round about her, the beauty in nature entwined with her vivid and bright imagination.
Between songs she chats with her audience telling tales of her native Highlands and her childhood and the background to her lyrics, on this occasion it’s of being out on a hill near to her home with an impending storm approaching and taking shelter in a decrepit abandoned tractor, that she supposes was fatefully put there for her.
She then launches into ‘The Tractor Song’, which she wrote about the situation and was recorded in McLeod’s croft in Lewis, harsher than her normal work it pictures the storm with gorgeous juxtaposition between her guitar and vocal.
As the gig winds down we were treated to a rendition of Roberts Burn’s ‘Aye Fond Kiss’, with Sermanni bathed in a spotlight and clearly lost in song; perfect
Scotland has a rich seam of modern folk artists at the moment, and Sermanni is at the forefront of it, she is hard working and prolific to the extent that she can leave out great songs without diluting the quality of her show (come on Rachel gives us ‘Eggshells’ now and again).
Get out and see her, if modern folk is your thing, you won’t be disappointed and after wards she will even make herself available for a chat.
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Words: Peter Dorrington
Photos: Ronnie Poffley