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!
Australian singer-songwriter Chloe Hall has embarked on her third UK tour and is on her way to Letham! When she played Letham Nights in 2009 with her trio, we could see she’d fallen in love. With Letham. With the locals. With the magic that happens when everyone pulls together to make these special nights happen. This year, as part of a UK-wide tour, Chloe has teamed up with fiddle legend Silas Palmer (Women in Docs, Spot the Dog, Deep Blue Orchestra) to form a duo, groundbreakingly called ‘Chloe & Silas’. With over 30 years performance experience between them, they’ll be bringing their blend of uplifting harmonies, great songs and exciting playing to Letham Nights for the first time. This is music that will make you feel good! “Sheer joy. A Sixties vibe with a true modern day slant” Dirk Maggs, BBC Producer (UK) “A breath of sweet, fresh air” Gonzo Magazine (Canada)
Here is their full schedule…
Chloe & Silas: UK 2011
July 30: Shotley & Benfieldside Tennis Club, Shotley Bridge
August 4: Kellington Hall, North Yorkshire
August 5: Ropewalk, Barton-upon-Humber
August 6: CB2 Acoustic, Cambridge
August 10: The George Hotel, Argyll
August 11: Falkirk Folkclub, Falkirk August 13: Letham Nights, Fife– THE BIG ONE!!
August 20: Blue Walnut Cafe, Torquay
August 21: Forest Folk Club, Lydney
August 23: Hoy at Anchor Folk Club, Leigh on Sea
August 25: Route 2 Wine Bar, Topsham
August 26: Bow Village Hall, Crediton
August 27: Teign Valley Community Hall, Christow
August 29: The Tyne Bar, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
It’s about time we let you know properly about our next Letham Nights on 13th August 2011.
It’s going to be a packed day with the Annual Letham Flower and Produce Show taking place. Local makers and bakers and gardeners and growers from across the parish will be showing off their skills and vying for the favour of the judges to win the top prizes. Why not make a day of it and come along at 2pm to see the winning entries. The auction at the end of the afternoon is always a great chance to stock up on delicious home made cakes, jams and jellies, wine, flowers and prize vegetables.
At this point we need lots of help to clear up after the flower show and QUICKLY get set up for Letham Nights. If you are around your help would be greatly appreciated!
Once we get this done, get the musicians sound-checked, the lighting sorted, tables laid, bar set up (phew!) it will be time to welcome our star guests for the evening….
LET THE MUSIC BEGIN!
First up, local boy,David Latto. David has been making his mark over the past few years playing venues across Fife and beyond and delighting audiences with his unique brand of country/americana. Here is a review of his new EP “Three Thousand Miles From Nashville”
He taps into the melodic and lyrical traditions of a culture three thousand miles from his home and imbues it with vitality. Latto’s voice is particularly compelling, warm and resonant, with just a touch of his native accent evident, whilst the sparse arrangements really allow the songs to shine.
We have a treat in store!
We are then delighted to welcome back to Letham and Scotland – for the third time!! – the wonderful Chloe Hall from Melbourne, Australia. Chloe is a big fan of Letham Nights making our spines tingle the last time she played with her heartwarming melodies and the moving stories in her songs. This time she will be accompanied by virtuoso violinist Silas Palmer. Together they have just finished recording their new album, financed entirely through the pledges of fans. Add your name to the list of pledgers and get the new download or a hard copy or a whole range of other possibilities…. We can’t wait to hear it! Here is what others have said about Chloe:
Chloe Hall has power. Every once in a while you attend a concert that has you wondering why you’ve never heard much about the artist on stage because they sound so good.
Finally, in an exciting triple bill, we will have sparkling, rising star, singer-songwriter Adriana Spina, one of the most exciting talents in the independent Scottish music scene. Adriana has been a sell-out success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and made headlines when she was handpicked to support Sheryl Crow in the American superstar’s only UK headline date of her tour. She will be joined by her four-piece band to finish off a cracking evening in style.
Adriana’s debut album “Never Coming Home” has just been released so we will be one of the first to get the chance to hear her new music and buy the CD.
The excitement is building for our first Letham Night since the Loveliest Night of the Year way back in June. Saturday will kick off with the wonderful Coaltown Daisies aka Vivienne Bern and Lynzy Moutter, followed by the band who helped to launch Letham Nights way back in December 2008, The magnificent Moonzie Allstars. What is really exciting is that both sets of artists have been rehearsing together and so I think we are in for some very special musical fireworks!
The Daisies have only been performing and recording together for a short time but there is already a delightful chemistry between them as their very individual voices and the crisp, clean acoustic guitar strokes, blend together into a powerful spine-tingling mix of melody and harmony. Listen to this and weep!
The magnificent Moonzies performed a barnstorming set of world-folk fusion the last time they played and since then they have gone from strength to strength, playing gigs in the four corners of Scotland at venues and festivals, honing their sound and developing an even greater diversity of world influences. Recent gigs include sessions at Eddy’s Acoustic Nights in Kirkcaldy courtesy of Acoustic Music in Fife as well as opening for a previous Letham Nights star, Chloe Hall, at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews. They are soon to release their new album ‘Hypnagogic’. By the end of the night they will have the joint jumping again for sure! Listen to this:
The Hippophant [audio:http://www.moonzieallstars.com/mp3s/hippophant.mp3]
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:
If you go to one of the links below you will find instructions for voting
for Vivienne as the ‘Voice of Fife’. Vivienne will be playing letham nights
on 12th September with Chloe Hall. She has a lovely voice and it would be
good to support her. Have a listen online.
Another wee update. Tickets for Bex Marshall on 22nd August are still
available. Just email me or leave a phone message and I will put you on the
We have done extensive leafletting of a whole range of places including
Giffordtown, Cupar, Ladybank, Kingskettle, Muddy Boots, Freuchie, Falkland,
Pillars of Hercules. Letham and Monimail residents have received leaflets
with their Community Council minutes and we have had an offer from someone
to distribute in Muchty at the end of the festival there.
We have not done Collessie, Dunshalt, Strathmiglo, Dunbog, and quite a few
The trailing round villages took a while and was probably not a particularly
economical or eco-friendly way to do things. In future we are looking for
some volunteers who actually live in these places and who might be willing
to receive a wee package of leaflets/ posters to distribute or even to print
some off yourself. Please can you let me know if you would be willing to
take this on. We are looking for info on Chloe Hall to go out immediately
after the Bex Marshall gig as it will only be 3 weeks away.