In truth, it wouldn’t have been altogether that surprising to see a few teary-eyes in the audience. The song was the astonishingly long ‘Gently’ – 9:44 on the EP of the same name and possibly longer live. It may not be the happiest track in the world, asking: “Am I the only one who is tired of it coming around,” and pushing on from there, but it is absolutely stunning.
And although it arrived halfway through Rachel’s set, it seems the perfect place to start when describing the artist’s performance, because although the song is lengthy, the lyrics and music are starkly moving and thoughtful throughout; painting pictures and taking the listener on a journey as they float into the ears.
To be able to not only hold but transfix an audience through such a lengthy selection takes particular talent. The numbers and aptitude of the band on stage at Summerhall – two fiddlers, a drummer, guitarist and pianist – no doubt helped, but at the centre of the beautifully sculpted Scottish ambience was the lyrical and vocal talents of Rachel Sermanni.