In this occasional retrospective of music retrieved from the recent, and not so recent, past I’d like to turn my attention (and yours) towards an album of songs that changed the way I listen to new writers and performers. Dark Nights Make For Brighter Days by Samantha Whates was released in 2011, a year before I started writing reviews for this webzine and, when I finally caught up with it twelve months later, it opened my ears to a new generation that seemed to me to have sprung up overnight.

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Samantha Whates – A Young Woman Who Takes The Popular Song Beyond The Boundaries

Sometimes, a song is playing and the room becomes absolutely still and quiet. There is no interruption save for the singer’s measured breathing as it balances airlessly on the melody. A single instrument picks out only as much notation as is necessary to frame the piece.

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Fatea Magazine

Understated, other worldy debut from the London-based Scottish singer songwriter whose lightly produced album showcases a set of sometimes slight, sometimes absorbing songs and Ms Whates’ deceptively forceful voice which pushes the songs onto more solid ground.

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Folk Radio UK

Dark Nights Make for Brighter Days, the debut album from the Scottish singer-songwriter Samantha Whates is, as the title suggests, a record of contrasts and contradictions. Recorded live at Castlesounds in Pencaitland – a small village just east of Edinburgh – almost two years ago, ‘Dark Nights…’ is an intriguing collection of self-penned songs, feeling at once tied to its Scottish roots lyrically (‘So the car broke down/fill the bottles from the burn’) and in thrall to more exotic influences musically.

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Sound of the Ladies

Fans of good acoustic music should listen to Samantha Whates’ debut album, Dark Nights Make for Brighter Days – those at Christ Church in Spitalfields for the launch last night will know how melancholy and pure it is, how talented the musicians involved are, and (this won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s seen her perform before) how beautiful her voice sounds.

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