Rachel Sermanni Cameron House, Toronto, ON, March 20
Published Mar 21, 2013Lou Grant may hate spunk, though one wonders how he feels about chutzpah. Scottish singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni semi-famously earned an opening slot with Mumford & Sons by approaching the band in a pub and talking them into an impromptu jam session. Clearly, she has some gall.
Onstage, though, the 21-year-old was reserved and pleasant. Her voice, on the other hand, was mammoth. Playing to a rapt Cameron House back room, she delivered an utterly compelling set. As a lyricist, Sermanni has an affinity for the mundane — i.e., passing trains and candy bars — but her otherworldly pipes add an element of grandeur to even the most prosaic elements.
With only an acoustic guitar as accompaniment, she avoided the trappings of some of her UK folk revival counterparts, keeping the focus on her evocative, well-crafted songs. Larger stages and audiences in folding chairs are inevitable.