Album review: JENNY STURGEON – The Living Mountain

JENNY STURGEON – The Living Mountain

Hudson Records [Release date 16.10.20]

For Scottish singer-songwriter Jenny Sturgeon the environment, ecology and the elements are an essential part of ‘The Living Mountain’, her second solo album. She has been nominated for Composer of the Year at the 2018 Scots Trad Music Awards, Jenny Sturgeon also performs with Salt House and in the bird and migration-inspired Northern Flyway – an audio visual project co-written with Inge Thomson.

Three years in the making, ‘The Living Mountain’ was inspired by nature writer Nan Shepherd’s book of the same name and Jenny’s experience growing up near, and walking in, the Cairngorms.

Joining Jenny Sturgeon who plays piano, harmonium, dulcimer, whistle and guitar are Mairi Campbell (viola, vocals), Su-a Lee (cello), Grant Anderson (bass, vocals) with additional field recordings from Jez Riley-French and Magnus Robb.

Within the album’s songs Jenny explores her personal connection to this highland area as well as delving into Nan’s philosophy of simply ‘being’ in the mountains and interacting with the wild. Jenny’s vocals take centre stage, backed by gentle and subtle musical arrangements, with added birdsong and natural sounds from the Cairngorms. ‘The Senses’, with its simple piano backing and ‘Birds, Animals, Insects’ with the added birdsong/natural sounds, are two examples of the uplifting and soothing nature of the album.

Never more topical, Jenny Sturgeon explores our impact and interaction with the natural world. Truly evocative music that will, all being well, be taken out on the road next year as a musical and audio visual event. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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