Shadows Tall is the second album from Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller. The duo met whilst studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. They both graduated in 2009 with Honours. Indeed, they are two Scottish lassies that should know their business as they have been hailed as rising stars on the Scottish music scene.
Jeana Leslie (fiddle, Hardanger fiddle, piano, and vocals) comes from Orkney and was a semi-finalist for the Scottish Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award in 2004 and 2005. Siobhan Miller (piano and vocals) is from Penicuik just to the south of Edinburgh. She first appeared at the Traditional Song and Music Association of Scotland’s Auchtermuchty Festival when only 13 years old and won both the children’s and women’s singing competitions there. With pedigrees like this, you know it’s the real thing when they sing with strong Scottish accents. They both sing very well with voices that blend and harmonize sweetly.
There are 11 tracks on the album, and all but 2 are traditional material. The other two are ‘Who will sing me lullabies?’ by Kate Rusby and the Richard Thompson song ‘The Great Valerio’. The traditional songs include many you may have heard before such as ‘Johnie O’Braidisley’, ‘Trooper and the Maid’ and ‘Buttermilk Hill’ – all done very nicely with good arrangements, so should satisfy even the most ardent of Traditional Scottish music fans.
The album comes with a nice booklet containing all the lyrics. This is a must for we ‘Sassenachs’ who struggle a bit with the heavy Scottish dialects.
My only tiny criticism of the album is the slight over-use of reverb on the vocals. This made it a little hard to catch the words, with the Scottish dialect. This is so important with traditional songs. On the girls’ Web site there are several videos of them performing at various festivals. The quality of the audio on these is quite good with little or no reverb, and so the girls sound much better. However, if this is my only negative comment about the album, that can’t be a bad thing.
You can buy the album here and also learn more about the duo.
(Greentrax Records, 2010)
Note…They have not been reviewed on GMR before.