Hannah Rarity: To Have You Near

Oh wow… With her previous outings, Scotland’s Hannah Rarity proved herself an excellent singer and her 2018 album ’Neath a Gloamin’ Star was thoroughly enjoyable. But now, four years later, on this album we encounter an artist that has found a deeper voice, a more varied selection of songs (mostly her own with some truly fine cover selections) and arrangements that build this into a remarkable achievement.

Already the opening, Home, sets the scene. The song is neither folk nor pop but something quite her own and the lyrics, about the longing for a real home instead of a place to sleep, feel poignant and personal. She has begun another chapter in her career, to put it simply.

The songs range from strong stuff backed by band and string quartet to very quiet, very intimate moments and throughout them all Hannah’s voice carries them all with unquestioned authority – the kind of inner strenght that needs no raising of the voice, her presence is enough.

I especially wish to mention She Must Be Mad and Caleidoscope, her own songs that fly directly into singer-songwriter elite. Beautiful compositions with lyrics that speak powerfully of human life and its turns. Here is real talent come into full bloom.

And the way she takes on Tom Waits’ Take It With Me and Julie Matthews’ Comes The Hour is gorgeous, as she does not try to follow the originals but turns them into her own.

Honestly, I really did not expect this. I take my hat off and mark this as one of the top releases of 2022 without any doubt whatsoever. It’s an album that leaves me in gratitude.


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