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.
Let Him Sink, Swing And Turn, The Golden Vanity