Released on the 6th of November, Growing Wild is the new album from Yvonne Lyon. The twelve songs on this perfectly balanced collection were apparently all written before coronavirus began to take its horrible toll on all aspects of our lives yet Growing Wild’s message of hope could not appear more apt.
The track listing is inspired as the album gently ebbs and flows from beginning to end, letting the listener drift gently towards a more hopeful place.
Things get started with recent single Winter Ground. It’s an excellent taster for what is to follow, extremely well-crafted songs, superb playing and Yvonne Lyon’s irresistible voice.
There are so many highlights here it’s hard to know where to start. The title track and Insignificant as Stars complete an impressive opening trio. The bar, having been set high, is never lowered.
The middle section of the album contains two absolute gems, Enough and Illuminate. The latter provides one of the most uplifting moments of the whole album, Lyon’s vocal conjuring up a truly vivid sense of bright light. It is simply beautiful.
The poetic We Accumulate the Years brings proceedings to an atmospheric conclusion. It will leave you reflecting on all that you have heard before pressing play and listening again.
Growing Wild is a wonderfully mature gift of an album. Doubts and fears are shared yet there is always a comforting arm around the shoulder and you are left with the overriding feeling that not only is joy possible, it is just around the corner. Don’t take my word for it though, take a listen yourself. You will not be disappointed.
To buy Growing Wild visit yvonnelyonmusic.com
Or buy and download from BandCamp
I have to admit that February has taken me by surprise. January has passed so quickly, driven along by the usual contradictory post festive season mix of happiness, melancholy, confidence, self-doubt, gloom and optimism.
Thankfully the current Scottish music scene can only encourage the latter feeling of optimism as musicians of all genres continue to contribute to what feels like something of a cultural high point. There has been a lot of new music delivered already this year but I make no apologies for breaking my silence in 2018 by taking a look at Yvonne Lyon’s latest work, Metanoia which was released in November of last year. It is an album that I have returned to repeatedly over the past month and it proved to be the perfect antidote to the January blues.
The album’s title, Metanoia, comes from a Greek word which refers to the process of changing your outlook after a spiritual experience or period of reflection. With its mixture of new songs and older songs revisited Lyon has delivered a coherent collection which provides plenty of surprises as it runs its course.
Opening track ‘Where the Poor Find Gold’ certainly grabs attention with its driving country-folk rhythm. It’s a strong start so it is good to say that what follows is even better. There are moments of reflection on tracks such as ‘Someday.’ The synths and beats of ‘Hope’ provide the perfect backdrop for Lyon’s dreamy vocal and is one of many highlights. There is real defiance here too on ‘Sweetest Freedom’, a anthem for those who believe the good guys will eventually win, no matter what is thrown at them.
There is a strong case for saying that Yvonne Lyon saved the best for last when listening to closing track ‘Gigha.’ Situated just off the coast of Kintyre, Gigha is one of Scotland’s smaller inhabited Islands. It’s a place I have been lucky enough to observe many times during the ferry crossing to Islay from Kennacraig. Its familiar shoreline takes on many different guises depending on the weather, the state of the sea or the season. Yet with only piano, fiddle and that remarkable voice Yvonne Lyon manages to conjure up a wonderfully atmospheric picture of just what makes ‘Gods Island’ so special.
Metanoia is one of those rare albums that rewards repeat listening with something new every time. You really can’t ask for more than that can you?
Learn more by visiting yvonnelyonmusic.com
Sink a Few Drams with The Coaltown Daisies
The Whisky Song by The Coaltown Daisies is one of those tunes that makes you smile from start to finish. It gained a lot of positive attention after the accompanying video appeared as a CalMac Culture Music entry and deservedly so. A raucous mix of the band playing live and mugging it up for the camera mixed in with shots of Islay it’s a total joy. One memorable scene sees Nigel Morris and the rest of the Islay Pipe band make a pub appearance as the party reaches full swing. It captures the atmosphere of an island in full on ceilidh mode beautifully. Recently announced as the official theme song for World Whisky Day 2017, ‘The Whisky Song’ will surely be providing the musical accompaniment to many an island gathering this summer.
Please check out the bands website here for more details.
You can get the latest from the Coaltown Daisies on Facebook
Music, Art and Heritage Meet on Canna
It’s unlikely that you would find yourself just passing the pier waiting room on the Hebridean island of Canna. However a new multi-media installation celebrating the Canna Sound Archive Collection deserves to see it added as a destination for many an island hopper this year. A collaboration between musician Yvonne Lyon, artist Anne McKay, archivist Fiona Mackenzie and the islanders it should prove more than worth the ferry trip from Mallaig.
As a taster check out the video for ‘Centre of my World.’ Inspired by a comment from the late Margaret Faye Shaw, its evocative sense of time and place is truly heart-warming, Yvonne Lyon’s warm voice providing an effective bridge between the old and new. It will have you browsing the ferry timetables hoping to experience more.
For more details of an outstanding project click here.
Orkney Folk Festival 2017
Sticking with the island theme it’s not long now until the Orkney Folk Festival commences. With events planned at a multitude of venues around the islands it’s the perfect excuse to visit one of the friendliest places on the planet. Running from the 25th to the 28th of May it boasts a strong and diverse line up including Eddi Reader, Elephant Sessions, Kris Drever and Iona Fyffe amongst others.
For ticket availability etc visit the festival website.