It was curiosity more than anything that brought me to the Queen’s Hall tonight to listen to Rachel Sermanni and her music. The little bit of information on the Queen’s Hall programme intrigued me as I have to admit that up until then I had not heard of Rachel or listened to any of her music. What intrigued me was that here was a young Scottish singer/songwriter who had been quietly touring the world with her music and building up an a musical reputation.
That always interests me…someone who is prepared to write, perform and work away in the old fashioned way and not want to do it all instantly on some mediocre reality talent show. Music also always needs new people with new songs and new music and it is always the new emerging young talents that get the job of keeping music alive and taking it to the next generation of audiences.
This set was split in two with the first half featuring Tom Terrell a singer/songwriter from Nova Scotia who also played guitar and drums with Rachel on her later set. Tom’s short set was enough to show him as someone who has a lot more to give as his talents develop. Songs like “The God Fearing Man”, “A Bird in the Frame” and the traditional “Hang Me” gave us just a short glimpse of what will hopefully be more music from him in the future. Rachel also joined Tom on stage for a duet in the first set. For the end of the first set we also had poetry from Michael Pedersen who had a lot to say in a very short time – including a lot about ravens.
Set two was all Rachel Sermanni with Jennifer Austin on piano and keyboards, Gordon Skene on guitar and Tom Terrell again. Rachel has a new album out “Tied to the Moon” so of course there were some songs from that one, but also from earlier works including “Under Mountains”.
I like Rachel’s voice a lot, it can be strong when needed, but often has that floating almost from an earlier more simple time and place quality about it a lot. Most of all though I like Rachel’s songs and her ability to use words to paint pictures. A lot of the music seems to come from what Rachel sees around her in nature, but also some of it is so obviously driven by dreams and songs like “Sleep” and its darker companion “I’ve Got A Girl” are a little insight into some of her dreams.
Other songs like “The Fog” and “Marshmallow Unicorn” are just lovely little songs with beautiful lyrics that artists like Rachel Sermanni seem to be able to pull from the air itself.
I liked this concert a lot – no gimmicks, nothing but the words and music itself. Rachel Sermanni is a singer songwriter that I am going to have to pay a lot more attention to in the future – I think many more of us are going to have to do that too
If you want to find more out about Rachel Sermanni go to
Review by Tom King