Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan: Still As Your Sleeping
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Dreamy yet thought provoking at just the right moments, Still As Your Sleeping is a serious and comprehensive soundtrack. Warm hearted and beautifully life-affirming through and through. A really beautiful and magical duet.

Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan – Still asleep

Hudson Records – October 1, 2021

Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan& # 39; s new release, Still As Your Sleeping, is a pared-down recording that focuses on the dialogue between Polwart's warm voice and Milligan's calming piano. Polwart is known as one of the most convincing and inspiring Scottish singer-songwriters with a voice that is as delicate as it is impressive. Perhaps better known as a jazz pianist, Milligan shows a sensitive and knowledgeable ear for folk and traditional influences here, though there are still plenty of jazz accents and flourishes filtered through Still As Your Sleeping.

It's beautifully simple but immensely immersive listening. The intimacy between voice and piano completely beguiles you and draws you warmly into the confidence of the duo. The two live close together in Pathhead, a village in Midlothian about eleven miles south of Edinburgh, and have known each other for several years. As a result, this trust and familiarity can be felt in their music, a tangible connection between the two musicians. As Polwart says: “A voice and a piano can take up a lot of space and a lot of feeling.” This can be felt deeply on Still As Your Sleeping.

The ten tracks on the album include some self-written songs and a few well-chosen traditional songs. "Craigie Hill" introduces the album, a light, sparkling romantic opening with a soaring piano; it greets the ear with ease and sets the stage for pretty great hearing. It's a song with a long history and was previously recorded by Paddy Tunney, Dick Gaughan and Cara Dillon, but here Polwart and Milligan smoothly make the song their own. It's a fresh rendition, Polwart's smooth, gentle singing is perfectly accompanied by Milligan's light note.

Alasdair Roberts‘Song 'Old Men of the Shells' is about home, old age and the sea:“ To find my home in the ocean swells / And follow the old men of the shells ”sings Polwart over the heartbeat of Milligan's piano. On the other hand, “Siccar Point” plays with the spoken words and creates an intimacy between listener and voice, with Polwart moving between song and spoken poetry. It is a song with a fragile message, but also an eternal one: "Only one thing is certain," she says before whispering: "Everything dissolves and disappears."

It is also a pleasure to hear a song by the much missed Michael Marra. “Heaven’s Hound” is performed with a gentle sensitivity that contrasts with Marra's original rawness, while the poignant “The Parting Glass”, a song about friends and family, about loss and longing, is sensitively rendered through Polwart's soothing ridge.

"The Path That Winds Before Us" is a calming, calming listening – an encouragement to see better days and believe in the future. "Don't worry. Don't hurry / the seed will take time to grow," Polwart sings over Milligan's gentle piano. It's a simple but powerful message: "One step and then the other is the only place we have to go to. "

The duo also deliver an impactful rendition of Richard Fariña's "The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood," which is set on the Irish program "My Lagan Love". It works incredibly well, with strings and synthesizer accompaniment promoting a larger, almost more orchestral sound, as opposed to the simplicity of the rest of the album.

Kate McGarrigle's “Talk to me of Mendocino” is picking up speed and taking us across the Atlantic and through the seasons. It's a confident version and perfectly illustrates Polwart's power as a singer.

A particular favorite is the penultimate track, the self-written “Travel These Ways”, on which Milligan Polwart accompanies the vocals. The song was commissioned for Luminate, Scotland's Festival of Creative Aging, to help people with dementia and encourage participation in Luminate's Dementia Inclusive Singing Network. It's a simple song, but one with a powerful message: "Wherever we go / Wherever we bide / What the wind and weather / Wherever we go / Wherever we bide / We & # 39; ll travel theseways together," repeat Polwart and Milligan . It's a song about family and care, support and love. Bittersweet, but full of silent affection.

Still As Your Sleeping was conceived and written during the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, an uncertain time when there was an active search for comfort and safety. It was also recorded less than ten minutes from Polwart's own apartment, an important decision: “It has never been more important to me to make music,” notes Polwart, “and to tell stories right where I am, with the people, with whom I live. ", my friends and neighbors."

The album ends with the duo's interpretation of “Ae Fond Kiss”. Sometimes you get the feeling that every Scottish musician has to put this Burns song on their album. It is testament to the duo's talents that their version is both contemporary and respectful. Polwart and Milligan know the real heart of the song – obviously in the soft, touching core of their performance; Polwart's vocals and Milligan's piano play around tenderly and deliver a pleasantly refreshing interpretation of a well-known favorite. It's a nice end to the album, a touching and heartfelt feeling.

For Polwart, the composition of the songs on Still As Your Sleeping is on the verge of things. She sums up the collection: “People say goodbye to what they know, to their loved ones, and maybe even to life, while others are drawn back into the world of the living. There is also a deep sense of time, both with those who went before us and those who are to come. ”And this feeling of timelessness and the passing of time is profound in the selection of songs on Still As Your Sleeping. Most of the songs have a personal connection to Polwart and Milligan, which gives the album an immediate and emotional power.

Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan have created an elegant, uncomplicated listening experience. Dreamy yet thought provoking at just the right moments, Still As Your Sleeping is a serious and comprehensive soundtrack. Warm hearted and beautifully life-affirming through and through. A really beautiful and magical duet.

Still As Your Sleeping is out today October 1st through Hudson Records (Signed CD, artwork prints, digital)

The release date of the vinyl LP is currently 12/10/21; However, Hudson Records informs us that they are pushing to move this forward if possible; the wait will be worth it!

command Still like you sleep here: http://smarturl.it/stillasyoursleeping | https://hudsonrecords.co.uk/product/karine-polwart-dave-milligan-still-as-your-sleeping

The Karine Polwart Trio is now on tour. You can find detailed information at: https://www.karinepolwart.com/gigs

Signed artwork

Hudson Records also has specially printed and signed artwork by Jenni Douglas for the cover art of "Still As Your Sleeping"; the print is signed and numbered by Jenni! These are limited to 250, so grab them quick! Order here. You can find everything about Jenni here – https://www.jennidouglas.co.uk

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