Link to Living Tradition Homepage





STEVIE PALMER - We Become The Sunshine 

STEVIE PALMER - We Become The Sunshine 
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX408 

You may know of Stevie Palmer from his work as part of the award-winning stage show, Far, Far From Ypres, in 2018, but that alone won’t prepare you for the variety of what is on offer here.

There are 13 tracks, and no two the same. Huge credit must go to Stevie’s co-producers Dick Gaughan and Ian McCalman who have had the wisdom to allow each song to have space for excellent melodies and strong lyrical content. Stevie has help from Karine and Steven Polwart, Phil Cunningham and others, so you would expect the musicianship to be top drawer, and it is. The songs range from the narrative (James Watt’s Perfect Engine) to the achingly beautiful (Fly Away with You) via the upbeat, optimistic and anthemic. Rise Up Singing has a gospel or soul feel to it and must be a candidate for Radio 2 or 6 playlists. But for me, the absolute stand-out track is God Gave Me These Hands. It is rare for a male singer/writer to craft a song in the voice of a female protagonist in such a way that he inhabits the character and carries it off without seeming patronising. Stevie does more than carry it off, there can be no doubt. He gets some help here from Mary Macmaster on harp and Steven Polwart on some fine mandolin, but it’s the power of the story itself that makes this so special. Stevie doesn’t seem to give any indication of the inspiration for this song and that’s a shame. I would love to know the back story for this. 

This CD was produced with support from Creative Scotland so a tip of the hat to them. It is a highlight of the year for me.

Philip Thomas


This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine