Rhona MacFarlane - No Rain

October 18, 2021

Picture by Skaiste Klaniute

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If you know anything about me (and I really do say this all the time), you know that something that tends to show up in my own music time and again is love, life, loss… and precipitation. So, it’s no wonder that this week’s Artist Pick, Rhona MacFarlane first caught my attention with her new release, “No Rain”.  

When I first heard Rhona I was reminded of a young Joni Mitchell - each phrase pulling you in, with a simple vocal, cello, and fingerstyle guitar. There is a buildup in “No Rain” where the words come slowly at first – “‘Time is ours for now’ as he weakly forms a smile on his frail face”.  And then you hear the subtle Scottish overtones, and you get a sense of something new and uniquely hers. It is the story of the end of a life, and the love that surrounds him. I asked Rhona about the language and what spoke to her. “It is hard to pick the lyric that speaks most personally to me … but I would say ‘the sun still rises over your back garden’. It reminds me that even though people come and go from our lives they still remain in some way. Ultimately nature is a bigger force than us all and the sun will continue to rise after people go but it will shine over the places where time was spent together, reminding us of the imprint they left on us which will always be there”.  

Macfarlane has the soul of someone years beyond her age. At 24 years old, her themes run deep and reflect a hopeful, yet real understanding of the kind of love that develops over a lifetime, and what it means to lose it. “Growing up I had always been drawn to music and was creative from a young age. I even made my own radio show and recorded myself over a tape cassette when I was 7 years of age”. Rhona started playing piano and violin that same year and began learning to play guitar at the age of 12. “I learnt covers of songwriters I looked up to such as Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, John Martyn and Ben Howard who my parents introduced me to. I spent a lot of time in my bedroom as a teenager playing these songs and it was a very inspiring time in my life where I then began songwriting and discovered new musical ideas.”

She progressed from playing covers to writing her own music by the age of 15. “I remember my brother hearing it who was in a band at the time and said 'why don't you record this' so I took his advice and recorded it at Seagate Studios Dundee.” Rhona had the opportunity to play in the Montrose Music Festival, with acts including Bryan Adams, Deacon Blue and Jools Holland. From there she was selected to participate in the Hit the Road touring project where she performed live on the Janice Forsyth Show on BBC Radio Scotland. She also participated in the Music for Youth Exchange at Platform Glasgow and the Gardyne Youth Music Initiative. “All these opportunities in the Scottish music scene I am very grateful to have had and have been crucial to my development and giving me a chance to do music full time. After these experiences, I fell in love with songwriting and performing and haven’t looked back since”.

Rhona studied violin at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, played at the BBC Proms, China with NYOS (national youth orchestra Scotland) and also worked as an ambassador with Nicola Benedetti for the Benedetti sessions. After graduating from the RCS last June (during the height of the pandemic) she was able to explore the type of musician she wanted to be. “Since graduating I have been freelancing and doing a multitude of different things including string arranging/playing for talented artists such as Annie Booth whose album will be out soon! But my main passion is songwriting and is my main focus”. Since graduating, Rhona has been working on her new EP, “Closing the Window” which was recorded in various studios with various supporting musicians and was produced, mixed, and mastered remotely with Matt Ingram in London.

Rhona and I spoke about how her new EP “Closing the Window” (releasing November 12), from which "No Rain" is the second single differs from her first, “The Tide”. “‘Closing the Window’ has been a bigger project for me with working with a producer for the first time and one that I really admire ‘Matt Ingram’ (credits Laura Marling) so I learnt a huge amount working with him. ‘Closing the Window’ was recorded in live vocal/guitar takes so there is a rawness and a more emotional quality I would say compared to my last EP where things were recorded in separate takes. I think the topics are also different due to being at a different stage of my life.”

Rhona now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and hopes to have more gigs soon now that covid restrictions have eased. “I am hoping to do a small tour next year of small towns/villages around Scotland as I am passionate about bringing music to smaller communities and making it accessible. I am applying for some support slots and festivals also. I want to keep learning and growing as a songwriter and hope to start writing an album and have applied for some funding that would help support this. I am always inspired by artists such as Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, and Laura Marling (to name a few) so would love to someday manage to do this full time”.

If you haven’t already done so, please follow Rhona MacFarlane by clicking the green button above, and be sure to listen to her other great songs on Spotify. Also, I am sure you will enjoy Rhona's freshly released music video for "No Rain"! Be sure to hit subscribe while you're there.

Also be sure to check out “Fresh Indie" and "Artist Pick" Spotify playlists to support Rhona and our other great artists, and make sure you follow the playlists below to discover incredible new music every day.

Written by Joe.



Time, is ours

For Now

As he weakly forms a smile on his frail face

And no words need be said

Her eyes,

Hold Fear

That can’t be disguised

When life together is now but a distant dream

But atleast there’s no rain outside she says

Atleast there’s no rain outside

And the sun still rises

Over your back garden

Over the things we were

All the things we had

And all the things, we leave behind

Together let us sing hold my hand babe

No need to fear

Connected in blood

We stand, we stand for you

Trying to express the things we feel

Why can’t we express the things we feel for you

And the sun still rises

Over your back garden

Over the things we were

All the things we had

And all the things

And the sun 

Over your back garden

Over the things we were

All the things we had

And all the things we leave behind

But at least there’s no rain outside she says

At least there’s no rain outside


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