A History Maker Told The World We All Have Problems With Power (A Review Of Josephine Sillars Concert At The Edinburgh Gin Bar 10-08-2016)


Hey Readers

It is often said that there is nothing worse than a wet  Wednesday and most of the time this assertion would be correct but not always. You see last Wednesday it was chucking it down when I arrived in Edinburgh and since I didn’t have a clue where the venue for the show I was attending actually was I feared  I would be late for my afternoon of musical entertainment.

I needn’t have worried as it transpired that I arrived before the performer who was having challenges of her own to face that day as she was facing not only the inconvenience of moving flat but also the fact the trains were running late. Looking on the bright side, her unfortunate delay meant I was at least going to be at the venue in plenty of time to see her.

Josephine started her set with the brilliantly refreshing You Are Not The Reason. This song has bitingly clever lyrics which take a gentle dig at people with oversized ego’s This when combined with a sing a long melody makes an instant hit with her audience and that audience is ever growing.

This was followed by History Makers which I would say is the closest she has ever come to a political song. Whilst not overtly nationalist or pro independence there is a definite message to Scotland in the line they will call us history makers for the chances that we take. So to those who preach conformity from the safety of their armchair whilst reaching for their comfort blanket I say this you will chance nothing by standing still and five minutes (in the Warhol sense of the phrase) after you have made your final journey no-one will remember you ever existed. Now I don’t know about you but that is not what I want for my epitaph. 

This was followed up by Teardrop. This was I think I am right in saying the only cover version in her repitoire but such is Ms Sillars unique and to put not to fine a point on it stunning voice she made the song her own and absolutely nailed it. 

This was followed by  the very  moving February Has A Smoking Problem. This song is a song that not only makes you listen, it also makes you think and empathasise with the girl who is standing smoking outside the night club where her partner has just broken up with her. There is a real and genuine warmth in this song in which the narrator relates the girl’s  story with compassion and expresses the hope that if she were ever to be in this situation someone would show her same understanding as she has shown with lyrics which are absolutely beautiful. This to me illustrates the human condition at its best with beautiful and poignant lyrics.

In her next number Hurricanes Josephine combines poweful lyrics with a hauntingly beautiful melody which when fused together create that atmosphere which normally be reserved for childhood winters when your dad was telling you and your cousins ghost stories because you asked him to.  This song takes you to those dark winter nights when your stars and raindrops are your friends for reminding you to glad you have the comfort and shelter of home whilst others may not be so lucky. You know, some of the imagery in this song is so vivid it paints pictures on the canvas of your mind. This to me is the mark of a quality songwriter and Josephine Sillars is most certainly that. 

After such a haunting number Josephine’s next The Sun  And The Moon is a song about nature and the changes, hopes, and challenges it brings.This number served to remind me that the more things change the more they stay the same and though you may not want change in your life it will visit you whether you welcome it or not. 

By now it was time the penultimate song in what I can only describe as a fantastically phenomenal set and what better song to sing at this time than the one I regard as her calling card Problems With Power. This song has lyrics so sharp they can actually bite you on the bum. It is a brilliant piece of 21st century social commentary which I think could with enough exposure become the anthem for a generation. Yes , honestly it really is that good and I think it’s song that everyone should listen to.

Josephine finished her set with Vincent. No not the Don MacLean classic about Vincent Van Gogh but her own classic which is much more poppy and upbeat and this brought to end an entertaining 40-45 minutes of amazing music by a talent who was born to give a voice to the 21st century. 

So how would I describe the music of Josephine Sillars? Well I would say it’s a mix of Indy, pop, folk , and social commentary which is delivered by someone who has a voice similar to Rachel Sermanni in the sense that I could listen to her all day, and a quirky edginess in her lyrics which reminds me of Anna Meldrum who though some of you may not have of her yet, is like Rachel one of my favourite ever musicians. Having said this shows how highly I rate a wonderful talent who I hope will go on making music for years and decades to come.

As for my favourite in her repertoire I would have to say problems with power. This is an amazing song with powerful, passionate, thought provoking commentary which runs through it from start to finish and reminded me that even on  a wet Wednesday you’ll find something to warm the heart and I certainly did when I spent time with a history maker.

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 


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