This is folk music — Ewan MacPherson on guitars, Jenny Sturgeon on harmonium and guitar and Lauren MacColl, fiddle, viola, vocals — but in spirit it reminded us of chamber music: intimate tunes played by a small group of people in a small venue.
Like classical works, the music is meticulously written and arranged, and it’s gentle in tone throughout. “Huam” is the Scots words for “the call of an owl” and there’s natural feel to the music, both because it focuses on nature a fair amount and because the sound flows and ebbs, like a natural thing. It sounds traditional and Scottish without sounding jaded or cliched. Sturgeon, eschewing nominative determinism has a PHD in seabirds and, the title aside, the album references birds directly (songs include Hope Is The Thing With Feathers and Union Of Crows), lyrically and by sounding like a bird effortlessly gliding on thermals. Good stuff, if gentle, probably essential for all folk fans.