THE LANTERN HAS FALLEN
1 December 2015 CD Reviews
THE LANTERN HAS FALLEN is the inspiring 8-track follow-up release from Falkirk (Scotland) born singer-songwriter, banjoist and guitarist, Jill Hepburn. Being the youngest of five children and growing up in a household filled with music from both ends of the spectrum, including pop, punk, 1960s folk and traditional tunes, her latest collection of songs does more than just hint at this musically diverse upbringing, but rather seemingly pays homage to it. Like her first two recordings-GROOVY ENOUGH FOR TWO (EP: 2005) and SNOWFLAKE (2010) have both received respectable acclaim-this organic, old-timey and effective third effort promises to follow in the same folky, appreciative footsteps as its impressionable formers. The album has a deep and personal edge-something which Jill’s music is fast becoming known for-and it’s easy to see where her self-admittance of a slightly darker tone on this release came from, with menacing numbers such as the banjo carried “Footsteps”-which opens the album beautifully-and the folk-entwined “Farewell My Friend” both sounding as though they tell very moody tales. Make no mistake however; there are one or two infectious toe-tappers on this new release also to lift one’s spirits, such as the instrumentally-composed “The Ragged Garland”-which seems to have a raw Sarah Jarosz feel about it-and the upbeat “I’m Going Away For A While”-both not only adding a diverse dimension to the album, but also demonstrating to her listeners just what a talented musician she is. Vocally, Jill seems stronger than ever; the storytelling edge and the ability to pull readers into her folktale-ish world epitomises her voice, particularly on songs such as “Fire And Flame” and “Listen To The Air,” which does so much to breathe life into the album, music and intimate stories told. Recorded in Tolbooth, Stirling, with the likes of Kenny Brady on fiddle, mandolin and harmonies and Martin Stephenson on guitar, this remarkable little album cries out for mass listenership, and certainly for those who have the ear for sensitive folk, then this one comes with a high recommendation from me; my only disappointment being the want of more tracks on the album and perhaps a duet or two thrown in the mix.