Link to Living Tradition Homepage





JENNY STURGEON - The Living Mountain 

JENNY STURGEON - The Living Mountain 
Hudson Records HUD021CD 

Shetland-based singer-songwriter, artist, multi-instrumentalist and STMA Composer of the Year, Jenny is a unique creative force with a strong connection to the environment. After involvement in Inge Thomson’s Northern Flyway project and the band, Salt House, Jenny’s latest endeavour is a loving and affectionate tribute to the trailblazing nature writer Nan Shepherd, whose extraordinary memoir of the Cairngorms, The Living Mountain, which was only published in 1977, 33 years after being written, has latterly been hailed as one of the finest books on nature and landscape in Britain in indelibly portraying the visceral essence of her beloved mountain region.

Jenny’s CD adopts Nan’s book title and, mirroring the book’s chapter headings, forms a song cycle within which Jenny explores her own personal connection to the Cairngorms. For, having researched Nan’s life, she has developed a true connectivity with her philosophy of simply “being” in the mountains and interacting with the wild. Jenny’s songs are meditative and engaging, with deeply observed and involving lyrics, delicate melodies and caring backdrops involving guitars, piano, cello and viola and creatively interwoven with field recordings from the Cairngorms. Two of the cycle’s parts (Water and Man) are adaptations of original poems by Nan herself.

Jenny’s music is as airy and spacious as the mountain slopes and tundra plateaux, as anyone who’s walked there will attest; there’s a very powerful sense of genius loci at work here, and Jenny’s given us a work of comparably inspirational beauty that places Nan Shepherd’s timeless and highly evocative writing in its rightful context. The album is splendidly packaged too, with a booklet containing lyrics and photographs.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine