Recommended by Simon MacDonald (Writer/director/performer/lecturer at Highlands College)

OUR BRIGHT NIGHT by Kirsty Merryn

OK. I have tried hard to pick just one track from this album, but they’re all superb, so I’m not sure I can. Maybe by the time I get close to reaching my word limit for this shout-out, I’ll make a choice. But first let me introduce Kirsty Merryn.

Like a lot of musicians in this moment, she was about to embark on a national tour to promote her new album ‘Our Bright Night’ after its release at the end of April this year. As we all know, the world had changed completely by that time and her plans seemed to be in ruins. Incredibly, she refused to let this situation get her down and set about establishing the inaugural HOME festival that gathered the great and the good of the modern folk scene to beam their words and music live into our homes. Debuting selected tracks from her album there, she played it live online a few weeks later and then scooped the Guardian Folk Album of the Month award into the bargain. Reviewer Jude Rogers describes it as “… a balm for the soul right now, wide-open and heady. Her production offers spaciousness; at times… softly delivering its bliss.”

This is Kirsty Merryn’s second album following on from the equally beguiling ‘She & I’ – a collection of self-penned works reflecting on the lives of women consigned to the back pages of history. Released in 2017, this is also well worth checking out.

All right. I’ve decided. Here’s my fave: ‘Mary’ is a track written in the form of a traditional courting song “but takes place in a near-future where seafronts have been tarmacked, and woods felled.” She sings of a pair of lovers sitting and gazing at the sunset behind a telephone mast and, for me, it completes the third and final fitting piece of a triptych of eco-aware songs that began with Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, took on ‘(Nothing But) Flowers’ by Talking Heads and ends here with ‘Mary’, a timeless piece of mod folk. Three is, indeed, a magic number.

www.kirstymerryn.com