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!
Before we get on to Letham Nights….
For those of you who live within the magic 7 mile radius of Letham and are eligible to enter, we hope you have all your produce ready the Letham Flower Show this Saturday. The hall is all set up and looking tip-top! Entries can be submitted on Friday evening but must be in by 10am at the latest on Saturday morning. Judging then takes place until the show opens from 2-4pm.
Everyone is welcome to come along and view the exhibits, have a cup of tea or coffee and contribute to the closing auction of flowers and produce.
And then Letham Nights… From 4pm we need as much help as we can get to clear the hall after the flower show and get it set up again in time for soundchecks etc. If you are available, please, please, please lend a hand!!! The more help we have, the easier it will be.
You won’t be disappointed. When the dust settles, the Clap and Tipple bar opens, you take your seat under the soft lighting with friends and neighbours and the music starts…
First up, some Americana from young local star, David Latto. David, even in the last few months, has grown in stature and is singing better than ever – giving voice to a rich natural talent. Just listen to his recent recordings at Annfield Studios.
Then it’s over to Chloe and Silas for more delightful heartwarming songs showcasing their new album, Spring Hill. Check out ‘Show on the Road’, Chloe & Silas’ video diary of their tour of the UK.
Finally, to kick up a storm and get everyone up on the dancefloor we will have the wonderful Adriana Spina band, fresh from Belladrum and displaying the talent that has made Adriana one of the rising stars of the Scottish music scene.
Come and enjoy! There are still some tickets left so just use the contact details opposite to phone or email one of us and we will get back to you – or just turn up at the door on the night!
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**
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.