Fresh from being crowned the MG Alba Scots Singer of the year, Iona Fyfe has released an EP with a difference. Well known for her interpretation of songs in the Doric vernacular of her native Aberdeenshire, her latest offering is all in English. Featuring songs that have been collected both in Aberdeen and the Appalachian Mountains, this new recording is meticulously research and sensitively arranged. From the blues infused title track, through the bluegrass tinges of Swing and Turn and the unaccompanied rendition of Little Musgrave, each track oozes style, class and musicality.

Two modern songs sit side by side with older songs dating back to the 1600s. The first, title track Dark Turn of Mind is from American duo Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Iona and her band have created a blues infused arrangement that suits the slightly melancholy lyrics. The other is a tender, bittersweet version of If I Go, I’m Goin by Gregory Alan Isakov.

Juxtaposed alongside these are some stunning versions of traditional songs. The last track on the EP is a flawlessly sung unaccompanied version of Little Musgrave while Iona’s version of The Golden Vanity is a very sympathetic amalgamation of several versions collected across Britain and America. Let Him Sink is also created from several sources, creating a very cohesive whole set to a new melody. Completing the EP is the Appalachian song, Swing and Turn. A lively, infectiously joyful tune from the singing of Jean Ritchie, this is sure to get your toes tapping.

For something that is a departure from what she is best known for, Iona Fyfe has delivered a little gem of an EP. The emotive delivery, exquisite arrangements and excellent musicianship make this a must buy release.

Nicky Grant

Read here.

I’m absolutely over the moon to announce that the lovely folks at The Living Tradition have made my year (life) by putting me on the front cover of the February-March issue and giving me a lovely feature interview with Hector Christie!

Buy the issue here: bit.ly/2SaGpjT

So very excited to get stuck into Celtic Connections! Find me here ⬇️

19/1 Brave in Concert, GRCH Main Auditorium

2:00pm and 5:30pm bit.ly/2OHVWBV

27/1 The Bairns o’ Blythman

Tron Theatre, Glasgow 8:00pm bit.ly/2TzaOp4

31/1 Navá and Iona Fyfe

Strathclyde Suite, GRCH 8:00pm bit.ly/2TUm9A9

Other non-celticy January shows:

25/1 Fridays at One: Interwoven

Stevenson Hall, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

1:00pm bit.ly/2M1KiSz

26/1 Aberdeen Arts Centre, Polish Scottish Folk Night

8:30pm bit.ly/2SNtIs7

Iona Fyfe – Dark Turn Of Mind | SMALL RECORD REVIEWS


2018 was a breakthrough for Huntly singer Iona Fyfe. Between releasing an acclaimed debut album, touring the world and deservedly winning prestigious prizes, she has truly etched herself as one of Scotland’s most astounding young folk talents. But there is no rest for the wicked, as she kicks off 2019 in stylish fashion with her new EP – Dark Turn Of Mind.

Instead of being based around prevalent Scottish tunes, she decides to take a stab at a range of songs from the likes of established writers such as Gillian Welch and Gregory Isakov, or time-honoured pieces curated by the Appalachians, and she gives her own takes on them that go in a different direction from the roots she built herself around, yet still carry those same traditional fundamentals.

As is her wont, Iona stuns with a voice that has a broad pitch, gently serenading through the low notes, while being able to sharply hit the resounding high notes, and across the board, she maintains a magnetic quality that has the listener hooked on to every word.

She matches up well with the warm backing harmonies of Aidan, and the group as a whole for that matter are terrific, from Aidan and Graham’s smooth work on the guitar and mandolin respectively, to the splendid skills of Rory on the piano.

Beyond her performance, this record is a great example of Iona’s ability to tackle a variety of styles; Swing And Turn has a spirit and vitality to it, Let Him Sink is milder yet engrossing, The Golden Vanity has a touch of a grand scale, and she goes with a Moira Stewart-inspired a capella approach in Little Musgrave .

For those who are newcomers, this is an optimal introductory sampler to Iona Fyfe, which also serves as an ideal gateway to the more popular, involved material that has established her as the bright talent that she is.

Again, we find it hard to believe she’s only 20 years old. She’s already amassed a line of quality content and achieved so much, and yet, she’s still to hit her prime. Iona is as pure and valid as they get, and if she continues down the path she is on, who knows just how significant a legacy she will leave behind.