Amy Duncan

Venue: The Mill
Town: Edinburgh
Date: 7/3/15

On the exact anniversary of her gig there last year, Amy Duncan returned to Loud & Clear (‘The Mill’) on 7th March to play a benefit concert. This was a perfect opportunity for Amy to return to live performance after a spell spent recharging her batteries following an arduous tour of the Scottish Highlands and then going into the studio to begin recording what will be her fifth album, “Undercurrents”.

Loud & Clear’s warm ambience and intimate setting proved ideal for this gig, performed for a small invited audience. For this show, Amy was accompanied by two of her talented friends and collaborators, Fiona Rutherford on harp and Lawrie Macmillan on acoustic bass guitar.

The gig’s main focus was to showcase the material from Amy Duncan’s forthcoming new album and she took to the piano for the first two songs of the evening: the lyrical and evocative “My Silver Net”, performed solo, and the gently flowing “All The Love”.

Switching to acoustic guitar, Amy treated us to one of her newest songs, “No Harvest”, and the absorbing ebb and flow of “Undercurrents”, which was one of a number of songs which demonstrated the full range of her vocal talents. Amy Duncan has recently acquired an electric guitar and this added atmosphere to another brand-new song, “To The Shadow”, and a pleasingly grungey edge to the rhythmic urgency of “Ivory Tower” (one of the standout songs from Amy’s last album, the outstanding “Cycles Of Life”).

Two more piano-led songs followed: the graceful and thought-provoking “Lights In Houses” and the breathtakingly beautiful “Running Boy” (another gem from “Cycles Of Life”). The next three guitar-based songs flowed together beautifully and seem likely to be pivotal on the new album. The gentle lilt of “The Truth Never Changes” ushered in the jazzy and Pentangle-esque “Different Dimensions”, which then segued into the reflective and wistful “The Good Life”. The final new song, “Fragile From The Storm”, finished the gig on a suitably life-affirming and optimistic note.

This was another mesmerising and moving performance from Amy Duncan. Sung with a quiet strength and grace, her elegant and eloquent songs touched the heart and the mind. These relatively stripped-back versions of the new songs sounded wonderful and I’m sure that Amy’s flair for bold and imaginative arrangements will ensure that the multi-textured album versions are stunning. I eagerly await the release of “Undercurrents” and I hope that this new album will provide a springboard to even greater recognition and success for Amy Duncan in the future.

David Ferguson

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