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THE QUIGGS - Seeds I Didnít Sow

THE QUIGGS - Seeds I Didnít Sow
Lowland Recordings LOWLAND020

This is the second album release by husband-and-wife duo Pernille and Stephen Quigg. Stephen, of course, was formerly a member of the McCalmans, and the group connection goes even deeper in that Ian McCalman produced and mastered this record in his Edinburgh studio and (under the pseudonym of Lex D. Hall) wrote the love song No More Sailing; furthermore, the late Nick Keir penned two of the album’s songs (Correyvreckan Calling and Bells Of The Town). The indicators of true quality extend to the individual and collective strengths of the Quiggs themselves, for both are fine singers with a nice line in close harmony, Pernille is carving a niche for herself as a songwriter (there are four of her songs here), and both are natural experts in the art of choosing excellent songs, in this instance mainly from the works of contemporary writers.

On this follow-up to their well-received 2015 album, River Of Time, the Quiggs turn in well-considered readings of Michael Peter Smith’s prescient, poignant depiction of the onset of dementia, The Dutchman; Dick Gaughan’s reflection on the meaninglessness of war, Childhood’s End; and a delicate a cappella treatment of the Henry Lawson piece, Andy’s Gone With Cattle. Pernille returns to her homeland (and her native tongue) on a cover of Regnvejrsdag I November by Danish songwriter Ebba Munk Pedersen. The disc closes on a particularly touching note with Pernille’s own love song to Stephen, the gentle waltz-time In My Mind.

The duo’s performance style is fully accessible; their attractive, consistent, even vocal delivery supported by mellifluous, assured and gently competent guitar playing (with a little banjo and moothie, and concertina from Alan Jones on one track). The album was mostly recorded live in the studio, and the recording conveys an easy immediacy through Pernille and Stephen’s rapport with each other and their audience. Seeds I Didn’t Sow is a disc that will give much pleasure to those who like their folk music attractively melodic, simple in execution yet rich in narrative and emotional content.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.