There are 52 cards in a full deck and our friends at Letham dealt us a real cracker of a hand for the next installment of the Letham Nights story. I would call the line up of Rachel Sermanni with Hannah Jarrett-Scott in support represented a ‘Royal Flush’ that certainly deserved a ‘Full House’ and for those in the audience that came knowing nothing about the singers – well they certainly came up trumps!! (Ron really knows how to keep a pun going! – Ed)
Hannah Jarrett-Scott is a young Scottish singer-songwriter and whilst this was one of her first solo gigs, she quickly showed that she is used to being in the spotlight, drawing a warm and appreciative response from the Letham Nights audience. Trained at the Royal College of Speech and Drama – she has a CV that includes Katherine in ‘Taming of the Shrew’, Rosie in ‘Cabaret’ and Richard II in ‘Richard II’. Accompanied on keyboard by Gill Higgins – who also added sweet harmonies – Hannah switches between achingly beautiful ballads to upbeat quirky songs with both genres giving us insight into what this young talent is all about. In ‘Those Days’ you get the full range of Hannah’s voice – the athleticism, power, tonality and warmth. In ‘Granny Song’ you get a glimpse of Hannah’s personality, humour and skill with words – “If I don’t see you at the weekend, I’ll see you through the window” – and anyone who gets the line ‘from Kelty to Kirkcaldy’ successfully embedded into their lyrics has my respect. This voice is at the start of an exciting journey and I hope I don’t have to wait too long for another encounter. (Check out her EP ‘Pictures’ available on iTunes).
Reverting to my deck of cards theme Rachel would be our Queen of Spades, if I believe the press that our chanteuse is a leading exponent of ‘Folk Noir’. Rachel, it is said was born under a rainbow, and whilst there are dark tones in those whimsical magical songs – there is an overriding tenderness in her pure, pure voice, the fragility and vulnerability of which belie its immense power. It is three years since I last saw Rachel and it has been far too long. To see this elfin barefoot sprite grace the stage in Letham with Jen Austin and Thomas Cauldwell at her side and transform a village hall into what felt like a clearing in a pinewood as the Northern Lights danced around you was pure enchantment. One of the pleasures of hearing any song of Rachel’s is that it always feels that you are hearing it for the very first time. It seems so fresh and personal to you – this is especially true in ‘Gently III’ and ‘Banks Are Broken’. Maybe, it’s because the songs come straight from her heart and dreams that gives the audience such a sense of intimacy. But like the Lady of Shallot you feel always that mirror will soon crack from side to side – ‘Tonight is the last time I get to hold you fast’ she sang as the Letham audience were thralled deeper and deeper into her web of mystery. We drank in ‘Wine Sweet Wine’ and ‘Tractor’ from ‘Tied To The Moon’ and as ‘the Fog’ gently cleared it was all too soon time to say adieu. Rachel ended the night by coming off the stage to say goodnight with Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Dream A Little Dream Of Me’ and I am sure one or two did – but at Letham Night No 52 she made my dreams come true – Thank you, Thank you Rachel!!