Some of you I have already met and some others may recognise me from wee gigs I’ve done at Letham Nights already. I also featured with Herbert The Tortoise in the recent Prezi for The Observer 50 Radicals. I have since been invited to join the LN committee.
Following our first committee meeting proper last Saturday it has been decided that amongst my duties will be the spreading of the word south of the Forth. With this in mind I set out this afternoon with my stash of posters and a good swedge of blu-tac (other brands of sticky wad are available of course).
I’m really looking forward to seeing The Banana Sessions and Amy Raynor in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be on the lookout for fresh talent in Edinburgh with future LN bookings in mind so please get in touch if you’ve got the licks, riffs and/or chops.
Make sure you check these guys out on 3rd March. It’s gonna be mega!
October is Oxjam month when music events across UK are dedicated to raising money for Oxfam. Letham Nights will be supporting this campaign with a fantastic open mic night on Saturday 1st October at 8pm featuring a talented array of acts as well as a set from Edinburgh band Buckley’s Chance. If you would like to reserve a ticket, contribute to Oxjam or offer to perform at the open mic session, please use the contact details opposite to let us know!
Donate to our Oxjam campaign – click on the link below…
Please note that we are raising funds for, but do not represent, Oxfam 🙂
“’David has a nice style about him with a warm, sincere singing voice and a good sense of how to put a song together. Thomas Fraser was hooked on Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams and very consciously imitated them; David’s style is much more his own and much more modern – reminiscent, but not imitative, of the likes of Slaid Cleaves. There’s a warmth to his performance and an elegance to his songwriting that promises much..A very nice calling card, then, from David Latto and it’s in the finest tradition of Scottish country-based music’”
Can you believe it? The brothers are coming back again. With new songs in their locker and a swagger in their step from playing support to Buddy Guy at Buddy Guy’s!!! in Chicago, the boys are desperate to get back on stage at Letham Nights. This is their 3rd Annual Tour of the UK, and as always, it would not be complete without a stop in their favourite village to see their favourite folks. This from band member Tony Manno: “A TBOB UK tour without a Letham Nights stop is not a tour at all. This time we’ll be bringing Johnny Action on the drums to make sure every foot in the house doesn’t stop stompin’ all night!”. Blues was born in the Mississippi delta and raised on the streets of Chicago’s south side. The Black Oil Brothers draw from the same well as their heroes and that lets your ears know that there ain’t a damn thing wrong with the sound of a good man feeling bad. Such is the blues: finding outlets in music that turns heartbreak into ass shake. Such is the music of The Black Oil Brothers and it very well may be saving our souls. Let them save yours, in Letham!!
And opening for the brothers, we are delighted to present again the inimitable, pared down, gutsy, bare-necessities blues of Mick Pritchard. Born and raised in the backwater of Maltby, a mining town in the heart of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Mick Pritchard spent most of his teens dreaming of playing bass guitar. Aged 16 and after raising £90 he bought an Encore six string electric guitar from Argos, replaced the strings with bass strings and started playing along to Stone Roses records. In 2008 Mick moved to Edinburgh, swapped his two bass guitars for an acoustic guitar and began to teach himself blues picking. Mick will be picking his way through a number of ‘oldies’ through to more contemporary fare and even one or two modern classics and originals including songs about tortoises and handheld media/communications devices…!
The craft shop will be back with (wedding) bells on! Following a successful pop-up at the November 2010 Letham Nights, craftscotland are presenting a range of gifts fit for any wedding pressie list. There will be rings from Jane Gowans who recently completed a year long artist-in-residency at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. Local lass Claire Heminsley’s tea towels, which are designed in Letham, hand printed in Edinburgh and each have their own story printed on the label, will be available to buy on the night. We will also be introducing ceramicist Cosima Sempill. Cosima’s work is featured in the current edition of Real Life Weddings magazine after she created 150 ceramic favours for her brothers wedding last year.
25% of all sales go towards the running costs of craftscotland, the national agency which promotes Scottish craft, and 25% of all sales are donated to Letham Nights. So whether you are looking for a wedding present or feel like treating yourself to something handmade in Scotland, make sure you bring cash to the pop-up shop as it’s cash only sales.
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.
The ingredients of what makes a good Letham Night are hard to define but on 28th November, we got it right once again. The raw energy from the Bum-clocks and the sheer joy of Luva Anna combined with the irreverent humour of both bands gave us all another fantastic evening.
Is Tam Burn, lead singer of the Bum-clocks barking? Well he certainly was at Letham Nights #9. With a howl and a wuff , he introduced the first number in their brilliant repertoire in the guise of a demented dalmation and away we went – Iggy Pop meets Rabbie Burns in ‘A Tail O’ Twa Dugs’. “Noo ah wantae be yer dug” chants Tam, as Malcolm Ross’ jagged guitar and Russell Burn’s driving rhythm on the drums carry the song along. To our delight, we find that the relationship between the bard and other contemporary musicians is a strong one – ‘Lang Lang the Night – Panic in Detroit’ turns out to be a collaboration with Burns and Bowie.
Who the heck are the Bum-clocks anyway? And what is a Bum-clock? Here is the definition: A humming beetle, that flies in the summer evenings. (from Jamieson’s Scottish Dictionary -Edinburgh 1867). “So we are the Scottish Beetles” declares Tam – boom boom! All the band members have strong credentials in the Scottish alternative music scene of the 70’s and 80’s. Tam and Russell playing in the Dirty Reds and the Fire Engines, whilst Malcolm is an ex-member of Josef K and Orange Juice (Remember “Rip it Up and Start Again”?)
The band have been supported in their musical and poetic venture by the Scottish Arts Council as part of the Homecoming Celebrations. And what a brilliant way to weave together a simultaneous tribute to Burns and the godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop! No tired tartan formulas here but creative, genuinely poetic, entertaining and very, very funny . Thanks to the Bum-clocks for gracing the stage at Letham Nights.
Now over to Roy for the Luva Anna review….
Whilst sorting out the music for the Dundee College fashion show in June, Claire handed me a CD that one of her students had submitted for review and asked me what I thought. I popped it in my HiFi and within two tracks we knew that the answer was a no for the Fashion Show but an absolute, indisputable YES for Letham Nights. A wee bit of ‘tinternet trawling confirmed my suspicions. This is a young band with a unique sound and exuberance that most established stars would kill for. Finalists in the Channel 4 “Orange Unsigned Acts” show, playing 200 gigs over the last two years, they played festivals like T in the Park, the Wickerman, Rock Ness, and Connect. They also supported The View on the Acadamy Tour. Busy boy’s indeed.
It took a bit of ducking and diving to find suitable dates as they and Letham Nights have full books for some months ahead.
That date was the 28th November and I will remember what I did on this momentous night for, well, a very long time….
The set started with Sea Shanty, a fabulous four part vocal harmony with a folky twist, seamlessly moving into Hold On, an amazing vocal delivery from Dave Webster reminiscent of both the Buckleys, Jeff and father Tim. Truly goose bump stuff.
They then fired into a set of rhythm, pace, subtlety and harmony. Delivering each sonic ingredient with power and charm, catchy melodies and solid riffs, they played songs from the self titled Luva Anna and Made Without Compromise CD’s. Amongst Coma Girl, Dumba Dumba, Angry Fat Bouncer, Sober, The ballad of Boaby Smith, Arthur McBush, Bonny Little Girl and Granton on Spey they dropped in a few new numbers like Time to Laugh and Postcards.
Dave and Drewboy Gray shared the main vocals and Guitar parts, Robbie Ward on bass, bouzouki and bass pedals (the latter two, simultaneously), and Billy Fisher’s fantastic percussion. Superb musicians and vocalists, one and all.
Almost two hours later we were all wondering two things, why is the band not totally massive and where are they playing next? I’m not sure but I’m told that all the CD’s for sale were snapped up within 10 minutes of the gig ending.
Once again Geoff the PA man supplied us with superb sound for the gig. The “Clap and Tipple” provided the bar, keeping the thirsty crowd suitably quenched with a fine selection of organic, local and fair trade beverages and buxom serving wenches.
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:
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.