‘A beautifully functioning unit’ fRoots
Setting old words to new melodies, re-working ancient ballads or writing their own - Salt House marry all their musical strands with a deep understanding for the British song tradition and an empathy for a story.
The trio of multi-instrumentalist Ewan MacPherson and violist / fiddler Lauren MacColl weave ever-changing musical threads around Jenny Sturgeon’s vocals.
Their music is rooted in the traditional music of Scotland and its neighbours, drawing on influences from landscape and nature. Based in the Highlands and Islands, Salt House was formed in 2012 and has released two albums to date - the debut ‘Lay Your Dark Low’ and the latest release ‘Undersong’, produced by folk heavyweight Andy Bell (Songs of Separation, Jon Boden, The Furrow Collective). Undersong was recorded on the remote Hebridean island of Berneray and gained the band critical acclaim from the British press - ‘a gentle, lulling delight’ (The Guardian).
Jenny Sturgeon - vocals, harmonium, guitar
Ewan MacPherson - vocals, guitars
Lauren MacColl - viola, fiddle, vocals
Lauren is considered one of Scotland’s most expressive fiddle players. Her performances are emotive, engaging and informed by an equal helping of tradition and technique. From the Black Isle, she studied music in Glasgow before returning home to the Highlands where she draws much of her musical inspiration.
A founder member of both chamber-folk quartet RANT and song-trio Salt House, Lauren also performs with Rachel Newton’s band and in a duo with Calum Stewart. In 2017 she was commissioned by Fèis Rois to write a suite of music based on the life and prophecies of the Brahan Seer. Premiered at Celtic Connections, the music was released as an album to critical acclaim.
Lauren has been fiddle tutor for RCS Junior Conservatoire for a decade, continues to teach at Fèisean across the country, and runs the Black Isle Fiddle Weekend for adult learners each July.
2017 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards Composer of the Year Nominee
2009 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards Instrumentalist of the Year Winner
2008 ‘Classic Album’ at Celtic Connections for ‘When Leaves Fall’
2005 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winner
"Jenny is a singer-songwriter who brings together the old and new with a rare skill" (R2 Magazine). The inspiration for Jenny's lyrics comes from folklore, historical events and personal experience, and having trained as a biologist her enthusiasm for nature creeps in to all her work.
A founder member of audio-visual collaborative project Northern Flyway, Jenny joined Salt House in 2016 and performs with Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs) and Charlie McKerron (Capercaillie, Session A9) as the Jenny Sturgeon Trio.
In addition to touring, Jenny is involved in several projects including working as a songwriting workshop tutor and collaborating with Aberdeen based artist and fabric designer Helen Ruth. In 2016 she was commissioned, by The National Trust for Scotland, to write a series of pieces of music to celebrate 30 years since St Kilda became a World Heritage Site for nature. 'The Wren and The
Salt Air' is the resulting work and was described as "musically superb, absolutely fascinating and utterly charming" (ShireFolk) and "A genuinely inspiring work" R2 Magazine.
"Scot Jenny Sturgeon is as close to an organic folksinger/songwriter as you can get. She absorbs the culture, essence, stories and legends of her native region and manufactures them into inspired songs and tunes which reflect much of the natural world around her." Folk All
“Ewan is a fine songwriter” RnR Magazine
"A master sharing his personal musical heritage.” Folkwords
Now based in the Highlands Ewan has been working in the music industry for 20 years. As a multi-instrumentalist, he is a recognised figure on the vibrant Scottish music scene. Ewan is a founder member of three bands and has taken stages around the world with a wide range of traditional and contemporary folk/roots artists.
Liverpool born with family ties to Scotland, Ireland and Wales he completed a BA at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (Paul McCartney’s “Fame School”) in 1998 and after moving to Edinburgh in 1999 was nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2014 MG Alba Trad Music Awards and his last album Fetch! picked up a Songlines Top of the World recognition.
Ewan’s music has taken him as far as India, Malaysia, Canada, America, Australia and throughout Europe, in addition to his own projects Salt House, Fribo and RoughCoastAudio, he is currently a member of renowned acid-croft band Shooglenifty.