After a “summer” break we started to look towards the Letham Nights triple header that was to take place on the 13th August. We had been contacted by David Latto for a chance to play (check this link for a free download of a new recording!). He had attended a show last year and was impressed. Chloe Hall, a Letham Nights favourite, had intimated that she and Silas Palmer were to be touring the UK in the summer. Adriana Spina contacted us 18 months ago expressing her interest in the Letham Nights experience. Adriana was touring her new album “Never Coming home” this summer. So, it was easy then! All the players were on board, the will was there and the venue was waiting……Ah, but was it?
A little local difficulty…
Oops! A minor detail had been left out – booking the hall! Wouldn’t you know it was the same day as the Letham village Annual Flower Show – one of the biggest days in the year for the Hall and the local community. Undaunted, and with the blessing of the Flower Show Committee, we decided to go ahead anyway realising it would be a monumental task to turn the hall round from a Flower and Produce Show so quickly to the quietly understated ambience that Letham Nights has become known for. On the day the team were on hand to help with the flower show tidy up and we were grateful to the flower show people who helped with the Letham Nights set up. Good work everybody! Geoff the sound man hot tailed it from Glen Elg where he was playing a gig in the afternoon. With people beginning to queue outside, sound checks were completed by the skin of our teeth. We heaved a sigh of relief and the show got under way.
The David Latto Band (David and Gavin Brady) started their set with “Wait a Minute” and “Black Horse” before delivering a beautiful “3000 miles from Nashville” the story of the shy and retiring Shetlander Thomas Frazer who was recently inducted into the Nashville Hall of Fame, talked about in the same breath as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. “15”, “Wooden Heart”, and “Alcohol and Pills” from the newly released EP “3000 From Nashville” along with “A song you will never hear” and “Byway man” were amongst the fantastic set that David and Gavin played. There was even an encore…for the support…fantastic…The whole audience had a sense that they had just listened to an incredible performance from the David Latto Band. The guitar arrangements and vocal harmonies were truly beautiful. A strength of voice and assured confidence with the songs were what I picked up from this performance.
After a very short break Chloe and Silas graced the stage. Chloe introduced each song with warmth, joy, sadness and humour (not all at the same time). Chloe and Silas played from the newly released “Spring Hill” album “Love songs, dedications and requests”, “Tax Office Love Song”, “Worst House” and a song with a story everyone will recognise “Third Drawer Down”, throwing in “Dance with me”, “White Street” and “I’m Still Here” from the “Outside and “White Street” albums. The addition of the gentle harmonies and the stripped back fiddle playing Silas gave to the mix was a superb backdrop to Chloe’s beautiful songs. The songs have a resonance in truth, love, humour and vulnerability. During the set Chloe asked if any one had a request, obviously some audience members who had been enthralled last year expressed their wishes and “Shipwreck” was delivered. Chloe and Silas were enthusiastically called back to do an encore as well. One couple I spoke to had driven up from Berwick. They had seen The Chloe Hall Trio last year and were determined to see them again no matter what. I was sitting with Andrew Watson, guitar player with the Adrianna Spina Band who said to me “I wouldn’t mind it at all if I were to sit here all night listening to this calibre of music.” Adriana, with a twinkle in her eye said “Thanks for putting us on after Chloe and David….no pressure!!” Bass player Mark Fleming said, “This is a brilliant thing you’ve got going here, really unique with a fantastic atmosphere, I’ve never played a venue like this in years of gigging”.
A break allowed the audience, who had been captivated by the show so far, to top up their drinks, chat, meet new people and generally reflect on the show so far. There was a lovely buzz in the room. The Clap and Tipple Bar was pretty busy as usual.
Adriana and her band took to the stage and opened by acknowledging the quality of the preceding acts. Her show started off with a couple of songs from the “Never Coming Home” album, “The Hardest Thing” and “A Thousand Lives”. These songs were a different groove and when Adriana played “Two Steps” and “Fire in me” solo, she had the crowd completely with her. The band returned on stage and “Faces”, “Let You Fall”, “Jeannie” and “Aisha” were delivered with gusto. Adriana and the band did not disappoint us, the quality of the songs along with her very tight band showed through. Despite not having played with the band for over a year, the stand in drummer didn’t miss a beat (scuse the pun!). No wonder they got rave reviews from the Belladrum Festival and Celtic Connections. The set finished with the rocking “Way Down”: foot stomping was the order of the night and another encore demanded. Adriana invited David, Gavin, Chloe and Silas to join them on stage for a rousing and triumphant rendition of “The Weight” by the Band, ably supported by most of the audience. A great end to a great night!
And of course, thank you to everyone who contributed to the impromptu raffle for the Alzheimers Society which raised £111!
After what seemed like a long summer break, we welcomed the return of two favourites to Letham Nights for our 14th event in just less than two years. Yes two years, can you believe it? The “Loveliest Day of the Year” at the end of June was a huge success and it was some comfort to think we had a wee break before the amazing talents of the Moonzie AllStars and The Coaltown Daisies graced our stage.
The Moonzie AllStars played at the inaugural Letham Nights in December 2008 and one half of The Coaltown Daisies Vivienne Bern has supported twice. She has teamed up with the undeniable talent that is Lynzy Moutter.
Having previously seen and heard both Vivienne and Lynzy playing locally but not together, I was excited when they told us that they had hooked up together to form The Coaltown Daisies. As luck would have it, the timing of this collaboration coincided with the end of the summer break. So it was to great expectancy that the Daisies took the stage. It was apparent from the first few bars of the first song that this was not only a vocal match, but the acoustic guitar playing complemented the whole shebang. The Daisies charmed us with self penned songs including Star, I Need to Sleep, Falling for Artemis, It’s better this way, Forgive you, Take You There, Long Way Home, Fly by Night and Poor Man Blues in which they were accompanied by a number of the Moonzies. It seems that both bands hold each other in such high regard that to play a few songs together at Letham Nights was high on the agenda and boy did we benefit from this.
So onto the Moonzie AllStars set. As I mentioned earlier they had taken part in Letham Nights 1 when they were honing their cultural musical mix, I also saw them recently supporting another Letham Nights favourite The Chloe Hall Trio at the Byre Theatre. I could tell instantly that their time had been well spent, the music had moved onto another level. The band is David Adam on Pipes & Flutes, Graham Dickson on Bass & Guitar, Geoff Stevenson on Vocals, Guitar & Bouzouki and Johnny Beaver on Percussion & Drums.
The Moonzies played through two sets of self penned songs, inspired covers and old favourites. Starting off the proceedings with a stirring percussion and pipes intro the Moonzies zipped through a lively first set which included the Hypophant, La Vie Est Court, Disco Stu, Bertha and covers of Belly Dancer, Brand New Cadillac, High Drive. There was quite a squeeze on the dance floor during the lively set.
After a short break, when the Clap and Tipple bar got pretty busy, set two gave us an equally energetic dance floor work out, again mixing African/Brazilian/Celtic beats with classic rock and Pop. The songs included Jock Brown, Silver Salska, Whole Lotta Rosie, Bulgarian Red, Carnival d’Iparanga and Poker Face. And as the show was heading to the finale the Vivienne and Lynzy took the stage for a Let’s Go Crazy/Long Way to the Top segue way, the Daisies adding their tuppence worth to fantastic effect.
Craftscotland held their first ever pop-up shop at Letham Nights in November. Thomas Farrell, who selected lots of the craft on sale during a work experience with Craftscotland over the Summer, staffed the shop with Emma Walker, CEO of Craftscotland. The shop had a truly local flavour with handmade products onsale by crafters who live and work locally to Letham. Claire Heminsley, Letham Nights co-organiser and Letham local showcased her illustrated t-towels. Edinburgh based ceramicist Lara Scobie teaches in Dundee. Her porcelain tealight holders went down very well with the Letham Nights crowd, as did Fife based Lauren Crawford whose beautiful handwoven skinny scarves and brooches will be featured once again in the December pop-up shop. Jill Kitson completed the stand with doorstops, candle lanterns, mushroom brooches and tea cosies. More than £100 of work was sold with 25% of the proceeds going straight into Letham Nights.
Only a month to go and over 30 people already booked their place. In other words, get a move on!!! Just reply to this email or phone/ send a text to one of the numbers below and we will reserve a seat.
Things are hotting up for the next great Letham Nights adventure…
… the return of the Black Oil Brothers on Saturday 22nd May!!!
We will have a poster out as soon as possible but just to put you in the picture…
The Black Oil Brothers were one of the first bands to play Letham Nights last May in 2009. They are 3 highly talented and very cool young musicians from Chicago with a lust for life and who play a wonderful brand of acoustic southern delta blues. Their last tour of the UK was a year ago and kicked off at Letham. They went down a storm and had such a brilliant time that when we invited them to come back, they jumped at the chance and organised another UK tour, this time making Letham their Grande Finale!
They would be delighted for you to follow their progress as the prepare then go on tour at
And just to add to the fun we welcome Ladybank acoustic covers band Skin and Bones for their first Letham Night in support. Have a listen to them at http://www.myspace.com/521117844
I know we always say it is unmissable, but really this one is…. unmissable!
Only a month to go and over 30 people have already booked their place. In other words, get a move on!!! Just reply to this email or phone/ send a text to one of the numbers below and we will reserve a seat.
All Help Welcome
We would be happy to accept any help with setting up, staffing the bar and clearing up on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Set up usually begins at about 4pm on Saturday.
This time we are also looking for B&B accommodation in the area for friends of the band as they are bringing a contingent of friends and relatives – some from Chicago, some from Northern Ireland. If anyone local is interested in providing this please let me know.
Letham Nights #13 – Sneak Preview….
An extra, extra special midsummer Letham Nights with a difference will be taking place on Saturday June 19th 2010 to celebrate the Loveliest Night of the Year. More details will follow but just to give you a wee sneak preview, we are hoping to have an open mic session, a bit of drama and comedy AND the return of another Letham Nights favourite band. Look out for more information soon and join the Letham Nights Facebook group or check out the LN blog and listings to get it first. We are taking bookings for this event now. Don’t be disappointed – get in quick!
After the June event, Letham Nights will, as usual, take a long summer break. Before this however, Letham Nights favourites, the Chloe Hall Trio are returning to Scotland on Friday 27th August to play the Byre Theatre in St Andrews. If anyone is interested in a Letham Nights outing to see Chloe and the boys, let me know. It could be worthwhile getting Sandy to take us in the bus!
We hope to return on 18th September with one of Scotland’s foremost folk bands. Confirmation soon. We are also currently sorting out bookings for a long list of other artists for the rest of the year and beyond.
12th September will stick in our minds and hearts for years to come after a truly magnificent Letham Night with the Chloe Hall Trio and Vivienne Bern.
It was written on the stars that Chloe Hall and Letham Nights would come together. From the moment we received Chloe’s first email from the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia, asking to ‘take a punt’ on our venue, we knew she was a woman of great taste and discernment, not to mention talent and OH! how right we were!
Together with Chris Mildren on bass and Teal Bain-Roben on his tea-chest drum kit, the Chloe Hall Trio enthralled us from start to finish with their beautiful melodies and spine-tingling 3-part harmonies. Chloe’s lyrics tugged at our heartstrings, made us sigh wistfully, smile, sometimes laugh out loud and when combined with the stories behind each song well, – you could feel the love in the hall! For her first set, Chloe went straight into a series of songs from her new album ‘Outside’ including the title track and ‘Shipwreck’ (Are you the one I’ve been waiting for? Are you the shipwreck, or the shore?”) and ‘Walking after Midnight’.
After this first set, Vivienne Bern from Glenrothes took to the stage and sat down with her acoustic guitar. She was nervous about having to follow on from such a great performance yet as soon as she began to pick out the introduction to ‘Your Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go’ by Bob Dylan, we knew we had another great performance to look forward to. Vivienne’s voice and guitar playing were effortless and she continued with a series of covers and self-penned songs. In ‘Forgive You’ she slipped effortlessly from a fragile, cracked style to gutsy blues. A cover of the Beatles’ ‘Help’ gave a great song new life and her rendition of Nina Simone’s ‘I’m Feeling Good’ left us all breathless. What a great talent she is and we look forward to hearing more of her own songs next time she plays Letham Nights – there WILL be a next time!
Chloe and the boys then returned to the stage and we were carried off again on a journey with the songs. The highpoint was the achingly beautiful and inspiring ‘Dance With Me’, a celebration of the power of love in the face of great adversity. Hear Chloe tell the story and then sing the song.
As Chloe says – ”a rare and precious moment of real connection and love”.
Thank you to Chloe, Teal and Chris – and of course Vivienne for … well, as it says in the final encore song, sometimes you need no words….
P.S. don’t forget – this ozzie lot, while quite good, are just not quite up to the sheer class of the Chloe McHall Trio….Take a wee peek at this!
**Next gig is Sat 17 Oct 2009 Letham Nights #8 – Spanky’s Heroes & Guests**
For those of you who missed the Chloe Hall Trio on Saturday 12th September, commiserations! For those of you who came, thanks and have you still got that warm, happy glow that Chloe’s songs induce? It was an exceptional night with top quality music and a great Letham Nights atmosphere. Chloe, and the boys were delighted with Letham and Vivienne Bern excelled as support act. A full review will be posted on smartcommunityfife and letham.org.uk just as soon as we get ourselves organised but in the meantime, you can see some great clips by following these links:
So what’s up next?
On Saturday 17th October, all the way from Dundee, indie alternative rock band Spanky’s Heroes will take to the stage and get the place jumping. Driving rhythms, uplifting melodies, jangling guitars… magic!
Then, on 28th November, the stunning Luva Anna will play Letham Nights, bringing their unique blend of sea shanty-folk-punk to shake things up. They will be joined by the magnificent Bum-Clocks, Edinburgh-based 3-piece band whose show combines the energy of Iggy Pop with the inspiration of Rabbie Burns. You don’t believe what you are reading? Take a peek:
Apologies to Vivienne Bern for not mentioning that she will be playing for us at Letham Nights with the Chloe Hall Trio. Vivienne is from Glenrothes, an accomplished singer-songwriter who is very prominent in the Fife Acoustic Music scene. She has a beautiful voice and plays a mixture of her own songs together with a wide range of covers. We are delighted to welcome her to Letham Nights with Chloe and the band.
Only a few days to go before the Chloe Hall Trio come to Letham Nights. It is going to be a fantastic night. Tickets are selling so get yours now! You can usually pay on the door but it helps us a lot if we know who is going to make it….
The band have finished their tour of Canada and are now in Ireland.
They play some gigs there and then head for Scotland where they will play the Falkirk Folk Club and Caberet Voltaire in Edinburgh before coming to Letham Nights.
Well known to lovers of Australian contemporary folk, Chloe is an exceptional songwriter with a truly beautiful voice. The new trio have lifted Chloe’s already engaging and charismatic performances to new heights, with uplifting 3-part harmonies, bass (Chris Mildren) and a cracking rhythm section (Teal Bain-Roben). More info at: www.letham.org.uk, www.smartcommunityfife.org.uk and www.chloehall.com.au
This is a major scoop for our village hall. Don’t miss it!
Reply now to book your tickets!
ps Don’t forget that 12th Sept is a Letham Village Hall Coffee Morning from 10-12noon. All welcome.