Posts Tagged ‘drummer’

A brilliant thing we’ve got going here…

August 28th, 2011

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!

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A Right Royale Bevvy at letham Nights

May 10th, 2011

A Right Royale Bevvy

Despite the fact that the nation was gripped by a wee wedding somewhere in London town and that the Bevvy Sisters second visit to Letham Nights had been postponed due to weather (once) and the unfortunate illness to Kaela Rowan (get well soon wishes from all Letham Nighters) a sell out crowd attended the rearranged show. The Bevvy Sisters arranged a fantastic replacement in Roberta Pia – aka Banana Bevvy, vocalist with the Banana Sessions band. David MacGregor was easily persuaded to provide support. We had attended a benefit gig for the Haiti appeal in Dunshalt and were hugely impressed by his virtuosity, humour and Dreadlocks. David, from Dunfermline, had been living in the Jazz quarter of Paris until recently and had recently cut off the Dreads much to our surprise when he turned up to the sound check.

As this Letham Nights was, for the first time ever, held on a Friday, all hands were on deck to get the hall turned into the atmospheric, welcoming and classy venue that people are now coming to expect. No warm cans of Tennents, folding Formica topped tables and strip lights for our discerning punters. Craft Scotland’s Emma Walker set up a POP UP SHOP promoting Scottish makers wares: jeweller, Jane Gowans, ceramicist, Cosima Sempill and textile designer, Claire Heminsley had a display, in the bar, of their gorgeous pieces. Sales were made during the breaks in the music.

Geoff Stevenson, once again providing superb sound on the night, ran through the sound check. The lights were dimmed and background music filtered through, it was time to open the doors. Around 110 people flooded through the doors, found tables, sorted out refreshments from the “Clap and Tipple Bar” ready for David MacGregor’s solo performance. Mike started the whole thing off with a wee chat about our venture, the way we came across the musicians, the ethos of Letham Nights, the POP UP SHOP and thanking every one for their continued support.

David then took the stage and the crowd were treated to a set of Jazz classics along with some self penned numbers, some of which were inspired by his stay in Paris. The audience sat listening intently to the mesmerising music emanating from his guitar. Huge skill and an ear for melody shone through and he was applauded Letham Nights style i.e. uproarious cheers and whoops at the end of his set. David thanked the crowd, reminded them that CD’s were available for sale as well as letting us know that he is available for one-on-one guitar lessons. Now there’s an offer all you budding guitarists out there…David’s set list is as follows, Improv intro into Summer time, Georgia on my mind, Danny Boy, DayDream, Red House,  La  Belle vie into Windy and Warm and finishing off with On Green Dolphin St.

During the short break, the Clap and Tipple Bar was under siege, selling a tempting range of mainly organic, locally produced and locally sourced wines, beers, ciders and soft drinks at reasonable prices.

The lights went up and The Bevvy sisters kicked off their first set with “Littlest Bird”, ”Cow Cow”, and more from the St James Session CD as well as a few new numbers, “Whirlepool”, “Cock a Doodle”, “and “Mary Don’t You Weep No More”. Banana Bevvy sang some of her own songs, “You You You”, “Just add Hot Water” and lead vocals on Aretha Franklin’s “Baby I love you”. I think that I said, in the review of the first Bevvy Sisters Letham Nights, that there couldn’t be three voices that were so meant to sing together. With the introduction of Roberta’s voice I realised the very high bench mark Kaela had set, within the trio of superb vocalists, had been reached. No disrespect to Kaela, loads to Roberta.

The second set started with “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Lovesick Blues” and continued to entertain with classics, “It Aint What You Do”, ”Baby I Love You” dipping into genre’s such as the Phil Spector sound, Trad Country, Swing, Jazz, Gospel and TV adverts (McEwans is the best buy). Guitarist David Donnelly and drummer James Mackintosh let the sisters shine but have a huge influence in the “Bevvy Sound” such is their virtuosity and musicianship. The encore, “Aint No Grave” slipped into the theme tune for “Are you being served” which was a fabulous way of letting the crowd know that there was merchandising available, CD’s badges and a first for Letham Nights……..PANTS, yes, PANTS, Knickers, underwear……which were in fine demand as soon as the band left the stage, sales went very well. To quote Heather Bevvy “We’ve had a run on our pants” Ooh err missus! Cue Mr Humphries…

A huge thank you to the Bevvy Sisters and to David McGregor for treating us to yet another very special Letham Nights and we look forward to seeing you back soon!

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