Review Archive

Rachel Newton's debut solo album ‘The Shadow Side’

(June 22, 2012)

The post still generates a sense of expectation, some days it’s just a load of so what - other times the2195087149-1 anticipation is rewarded. Today’s post was pretty much bills and junk until I opened Rachel Newton's debut solo album ‘The Shadow Side’ - one listen and I was hooked - promise fulfilled by a collection of superbly arranged and delivered traditional songs and self-composed instrumentals.

Perhaps more familiar to followers of The Shee or as part of the Emily Portman Trio, singer, harpist and fiddle player Rachel Newton releases 'The Shadow Side' on 2 July 2012. The album features Rachel on vocals, harp, electroharp, fiddle and harmonium with Kris Drever on vocals, guitar and mandolin and Mattie Foulds on percussion. And without worrying for one second that anyone will disagree I can tell you it’s exquisite.

From the minute ‘The Shadow Side’ opens with the traditional ballad ‘Lady Diamond’ it treats you to Rachel’s gently accented voice and delicate feel for the strings. There’s a delightful duet with Kris Drever on ‘Green Willow’ and should you not understand Scottish Gaelic it matters not the love song ‘'S Toigh Leam Cruinneag Dhonn nam Bò’ and ‘Am Bruadar Ud a Chunnaic Mi’ are nothing less than beautiful in any language. Rachel’s deft touch reaches out through tunes such as the aptly named ‘Discoboat’ with its mischievous melody, the supremely evocative ‘The Shadow Side’ and the lively echoes of ‘Soundboards and Sockets’.

This is an album of beauty, happy or sad, with pure simplicity and evocative imagery surging through every track. ‘The Shadow Side’ is out on Shee Records SHEERACH1.

Reviewer: Dan Holland

Click here to return to the Review Archive page