Album, Single and EP Reviews



  The High High Nest by Stephanie Hladowski

The High High Nest cover art

Artist: Stephanie Hladowski
Title: The High High Nest
Catalogue Number: Singing Knives Records
Review Format: EP
Release Year: 2008

You'll find all sorts of music reviewed on Bluesbunny. We've got the ears and we like to use them. We also like vinyl so this release from the Singing Knives label just jumped into our paws. Ten inch vinyl cut at 33rpm - that is irresistible to us. It was not until "The High High Nest" was placed on the turntable at Bluesbunny Towers that we realised that we had accidentally purchased something special.

"In the Month of January" is sung acappella and is a truly haunting performance. Whilst so much folk music is tired and twee, the best of it possesses an ethereal quality. This proved to be the case here. Delivered with heartfelt conviction, you can almost feel the passing of time but it makes you realise that some things - like heartbreak - never really fade away.

"Willy O' Winsbury" adds a sympathetic bouzouki and cello accompaniment. Again, Ms Hladowski sings like a woman possessed by loneliness and confusion. This is a sad story that reminds us that there is more to music than 3 minute verse-chorus-verse happiness.

A harmonium for accompaniment seems so very appropriate to her rendering of "Andrew Lambie". If you close your eyes, Ms Hladowski's voice appears to come from a hundred miles away like some distant echo reverberating through the valleys of your soul. Magical.

The is such emotion in her vocals for  "Macrimmond's Lament" that you can actually feel the hurt in her soul with Isobel Campbell's cello being the lethal weapon that gives an underlying feeling of regret and even malevolence to the song.

It just seemed right that these traditional songs should appear on vinyl. The timeless quality of the music seemed best served with by the flawed warmth of that format. Packaged with extensive liner notes to clarify the history of the sings and the singer, you enjoyment is enhanced by understanding of what these songs are about. Lovely stuff.

Available from Singing Knives Records.
Review Date: April 13 2008