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Siobhan Miller Siobhan Miller
Album: All Is Not Forgotten
Label: Songprint
Tracks: 9

Like all great performers and musicians Siobhan likes to keep a foot in a few camps. ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN, with its stripped back approach and mix of traditional and contemporary songs, after the polished almost mainstream Mercury, is a reflection back on her roots. Strata, Siobhan's 2017 album collected songs Miller had grown up listening to and performing, this latest set sees her writing with long term collaborators Kris Drever and partner Euan Burton. Four albums in this is clearly a performer with a lot to offer.

"All Is Not Forgotten" features a sophisticated sensitive vocal, like Eddi Reader Siobhan uses small fluctuations to draw you in, a folk crooner not a belter. James White and Kris Drever provide guitar accompaniment along with Euan Burton's solid bass and John Lowie's piano on this strong opener. "May Morning Dew" is a reflective traditional song, looking back and around like an exercise in mindfulness. Siobhan's vocal on this track has a little more power and emotional intensity, looking back at those that are gone. Megan Henderson's fiery fiddle also also raises the temperature. Siobhan's reading of the traditional "Selkie" is an album highlight. The guitar and piano notes chime and jangle around Miller and Drever's fine vocals, accenting the singer's melody, there is such space in this track that every instrument note and lyrical line resonates. "Now You Need Me" is a beautifully understated story in a song, sensitively sung by Siobhan who makes the chorus feel positively uplifting. "I Wont Let You Let Me Down" is another potent song with the space around the emotive guitar and Miller's brooding vocal building an intense atmosphere. The flying bird fiddle in the middle of the song is almost a relief or respite from the intensity of the song and performance.

"While The Whole World Sleeps", written by Findlay Napier and Euan Burton, is a reflection on the small wonders that take place while we sleep, another exercise in mindfulness, like a musical interlude from Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood it beautifully suggests you stop and take a moment to think. "Loving Hannah" is another album highlight, effectively a duet between Siobhan and two guitars Miller's vocal is perfect, a touch of melancholy at loves fickle nature and a touch scolding of distracted Hannah. Its also a song of sadness and restraint as the wronged lover waits until no one is around to let their emotions out. As well as restrained crooning Siobhan can also whirl through uptempo songs, firing off knotty lines like a traditional scat singer. Traditional "Tranent" is full of rich imagery and Scor dialect that Miller sails through. "Cholesterol" with its piano accompaniment has the cadence and feel of a Billy Connolly tongue in cheek performance, its lyric a dietary equivalent of the Neil Young lyric "its better to burn out than fade away" Siobhan has impeccable timing and sings with as relish and gusto as ever. It leaves you with a smile, the wry lyrics and frenetic pace of the last two numbers, a lift and a contrast to the intimacy of the majority of the album.

Marc Higgins