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!