The Gillies
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    The Gillies, described by Norman Druker as ‘the lost child of Emmylou Harris and George Jones’ are an Americana influenced alternative folk duo, based in South-East London, Susan Turner (vocals, tenor guitar), and Mark (Gilly) Evans (guitar, dobro). “Our songs seem to have a lull of sadness attached to them” Susan says. “The darkness of lonely rooms and street lit nights. Growing up in Norfolk seemed to do that to us. Long conversations and lost train lines to Yarmouth across the Breydon marshes to Art College, driving down the Acle straight… bizarrely these memories seem to haunt our songwriting, always going back to our Norfolk roots.” With Susan’s poignant, Emmylou-tinged vocals laid above the intertwining picked guitars, The Gillies have brought their own personal flavour to their songwriting, their songs have influences of English, Celtic, and American folk traditions, a sense of darkness, a twist of fate, the complications of tangled relationships and a timeless sense of mystery. The Gillies characteristically capture the sounds of haunted landscapes and crows: “There’s always crows - crows in the parks, crows in ploughed Norfolk fields, crows on telephone wires”. ‘We have really worked on how the two guitars work together, creating intricate picking patterns that fall and conflict and harmonise with each other. It’s taken a few years for us to find the sound we were looking for. We didn’t know what that was until recently” – Gilly’s, dark, sweet-sounding Gibson contrasts with the cold brightness of Susan’s tenor guitar. ‘Finding the tenor guitar was a breakthrough for me. I found something I could play. It gives our sound a kind of lonesome feel, sadness in the strings.’
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    “I love to go searching for old stories and on a camping trip to Southwold in Suffolk we found a wonderful museum call the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum— which was full of old sailors poems, storms loss and tragedy.” The Gillies found the poem ‘Sailors Farewell’ adapted and wrote music for it. In 2018 they will be recording a cd of other poems from the Museum, sales from the CD will go towards the museum to enable its upkeep. In March 2016 their ‘Winter Song’ was included on a CD of songs for Eltham Arts Festival, the song challenge also happened in 2017 resulting in 'A Plateful of Songs" which their song Adam and Eve was featured. Both were recorded by Phil Saatchi [http://www.philsaatchi.com/music.html]. 2018 the song challenge is Walls. In March 2018 they will be releasing their new album "No Hiding Place". Their other album "Worries Fold Up Their Wings" released 2016 can still be downloaded. “We spend a lot of time songwriting, and seem to be constantly writing new songs. Gilly plays a riff that sparks some words, or I hear a line in a film which starts my mind going off on a tangent. The words sometimes seem to be sitting in the sky other times I’m searching and searching for the right words to say. Songwriting together gives us extra information, a crossing over of memories. I’m always fascinated when the songs are finished they seem to take on a life of their own, with reflections and echoes of our lives.”
  3. Comments
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    ‘I love your music. The accompaniment is so good and understated – it really supports the songs. There's a quality in Susan’s singing that keeps the meaning of the song to the fore, which is all the more powerful for not being overdone. The same goes for the words and melody. That song about Norfolk [Long Journey Home] – I shiver every time I hear it. There is a strength to the songs and singing - not soppy and wispy’ – Deborah Smith “What I love about the Gillies is the poetry in the songs they write. Take the words of the 'Air Door Keeper' - everything is there - the history, the mythology,  the heartbreaking emotion.  The folk ballad was composed to be sung, to be passed on from lip to lip through generations. The Gillies are in this strong tradition and they go from strength to strength.” Norma Proctor Author ‘The House of Abraham Philips’ “its an insight into the darkness of Susans mind” - James “ I found ‘Sailors Farewell deeply poignant and haunting’ - Martin Noble “Bittersweet and bewitching songs that capture the elusiveness of a life we yearn for.” “Delicate and heartrending dobro and guitar accompaniments” “Drift into the melancholic, intricacies of a feeling world” “Poetic song laced with love and longing” - Hilary Waterfield “The songs are tightly constructed.  Words aren't ever overused, and the stories within each one are memorable. Melodies are all original, but with a hint of musical ancestry, some of which may come from the past of a dark and weird America. They both sing in voices that are clearly their own, and ones that both acknowledge and respect their British roots, and place them in a contemporary setting.” - Norman Druker DJ