Folk fans are in for a treat – and a bit of a preview – when acclaimed singer-songwriter Hannah Rarity takes to the stage of Under Canvas in Inverness this week.
Because her set will include some songs that she has written while working towards her new album.
“There will be stuff from my last album but then there will be a couple of new things that I’m working towards for album three at the moment, so there will be a couple of new things as well,” said Hannah, who has become a respected and influential fixture in the folk scene since winning the BBC Young Traditional Musician Of The Year in 2018.
But old or new, the audience at Eden Court’s open air summer musical festival are in for at treat as Hannah performs a mix of traditional and contemporary songs as well as her own material – all of which has earned her comparison with the like of Eva Cassidy.
Under Canvas is one of Hannah Rarity’s favourite festivals
Although Hannah confesses she’s in for a treat herself, as Under Canvas is one of her favourite festivals.
“This is my third time doing it and it’s just a lovely welcoming atmosphere, definitely my vibe,” she said as she prepares to play both an afternoon and an evening gig on Friday August 11 on a bill that includes folk trio, Silk And Salt
“Just the way it’s laid out, outside Eden Court with the tents, it’s such an intimate atmosphere and you can really see the faces of your audience. The afternoon gig has a really family friendly element, so there might be kids running around and dancing to the music.
“In the evening, it’s maybe slightly quieter and you get people really honing in on what you are doing. And it’s always nice to to be performing outside in summer, even if it’s raining.”
Under Canvas is also part of a summer of concerts across the UK and Europe for Hannah starting with her bucket list gig at Hebcelt in Stornoway last month, and will also include performances at St Margaret’s Braemar on Saturday August 12, The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool, on September 1, Skye Bridge Sessions on September 2, and then at Eden Court itself on October 1.
Hannah looking forward to playing Eden Court in her own right
“I am looking forward to playing Eden Court in my own right, I played it last year with Blazin’ Fiddles, so I’m just really looking forward to be being back in the venue,” said Hannah.
And all the while Hannah will be working towards her new album, the follow-up to last year’s To Have You Near, which saw her depart from traditional folk music to bring in jazz and blues influences, to great acclaim from fans and critics.
“I think the album was kind of a reflection of the music I had gone to during lockdown, it was what I had naturally been listening to. I’ve always loved traditional music with big strong voices, especially female acts, so I had been listing to things like Nora Jones and Eva Cassidy albums – she was kind of folksy but went into blues,” she said.
“It was chilled out music that was needed at that time and some of it filtered out into the writing.”
The end result delighted Hannah’s fans and won her many new followers – although she laughs when she recounts her dad’s reaction to hearing it for the first time.
“He said: ‘It’s not a happy album’. I think when you’re making album you’re channelling whatever’s going on at the time into it. But the new one might have a lighter feel to it,” said Hannah, laughing again.
Hannah Rarity says it will be lovely to see fans at Under Canvas
But is she sticking with those jazz and blues flavours or going back to the more traditional sound of her first album?
“It might be a melting of the two, depending on the songs I write as I have a few more to finish off. But in terms of the instruments, it will be more folky, going back to acoustic instruments,” said she hopes to have the new album out by next year.”
And she has a message for Under Canvas fans getting a taste of her new work this week.
“If you come along I promise a nice space away from everything that’s going on at the moment and it would be lovely to see you.”
Hannah Rarity will be at Under Canvas, with Silk And Salt, on Friday August 11 at Eden Court. For more information and tickets visit eden-court.co.uk