Life after the Young Folk Award: Siobhan Miller
Since 1998, the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award has been nurturing promising young performers and equipping them with skills and knowledge to begin forging a career in music. Previous winners have included Tim van Eyken, Bodega and Megan & Joe Henwood.
This month, the duo from Orkney and Penicuik release their second album Shadows Tall. Siobhan has written to tell us about it:
"It is three years since Jeana and I started making music together and I know that when we met at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama as students we never dreamt that our love of music would bring us the experiences we have had since winning the Young Folk Award.
We were over the moon when Ian Green offered to take us on at Greentrax and record a CD. We had such a great time recording the first album, In a Bleeze, and learned a lot about the recording process.
So getting back to the studio in May this year to record our second album Shadows Tall was very exciting for us both!
Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller
"We used a studio at Heriot Toun which is a converted barn beautifully situated in the borders and is surrounded by fields, sheep, a dog and a trampoline!
It felt really remote, like we were escaping to a wee sanctuary for the day. We were recording at the hottest time of the year but had to keep the windows shut for fear that the sheep and the bumblebees would try to make a debut appearance on the album. Anyway, enough of sheep and bees! Down to the recording...
"Mattie Foulds with his portable Mobile With a Home studio recorded, produced and mixed the album and also played cajon for us. He worked really hard to pull the whole project together and to encourage us when things were a bit challenging.
"The first task was finding the material and then playing with it to see how we could work with it creatively. We wanted to find arrangements that were our own, showing how our music has developed. Song is still very much the focus of our music and we have used a mixture of contemporary and traditional material. Choosing which songs to record and not record is never an easy job.
"We were joined by Ewan Macpherson on 12 and six-string guitar, electric guitar and mandolin; Kevin Maguire double bass; and Signy Jacobsdottir on tuned percussion. It was exciting to collaborate with new musicians and to hear their parts complement the songs.
"To launch the album we organised two concerts. The first was in my home town Penicuik, in the Music Hub which is attached to my old high school and run by Burnt Out Records. We had a lovely night there and played to a sell-out crowd. The second launch was in Glasgow at the Classic Grand.
"We are really happy with the end result and hope that audiences respond as positively to this album as they did to the first."