Cast your minds back to early May 2009. There yet? Good. You will remember we were entertained by three guys’ from Chicago who had searched the internet for venues in Scotland to add to their UK tour itinerary. Luckily the “Green” ethos of Letham Nights was a deciding factor and we were the lucky recipients of a storming show. The “Long Way from the Delta” show was an uplifting, authentic and foot stomping event. There was a connection felt by all who had attended the gig and this was sustained during the rest of their tour and indeed the following year using the usual social networking sites. Tony Manno said to me last week that he thought “life is so amazing when a decision made last year resulted in this friendship and Letham Nights being so close to their hearts”. I couldn’t agree more.
It wasn’t long before we were asked if they could return to Letham in the spring of 2010. They were so keen to play for us again that they told us they would arrange the UK tour dates around when we could fit them in. Last year they started the tour with us and this year they wanted to finish the tour with us then stay on a few days to relax before heading home to Chicago and a gig at the world famous “Buddy Guy’s”. We hadn’t set out our line up as far ahead as that but quickly decided on the 22nd May 2010.
A week later Ladybank band Skin and Bones contacted us asking about the chance of getting to play at Letham Nights. Brian cycled over a demo CD and after a wee listen thought they would be right on the money for the Black Oil Brothers as the support act. Synchronicity at work me thinks. Certainly serendipity.
So onto May, and the show. Before the sound check the band were lying on the grass at the side of the hall, taking in the sunny weather. Hamid and his 10 year old son Samadi turned up at the hall. Samadi had e-mailed the band asking what the chords were for “Saturday Afternoon”, a song on the album. They suggested at that time that he should get up on stage to play the song with the band during the show. Samadi was chuffed to bits, and did the sound check with the band, his guitar proudly sitting next to the bands guitars.
Skin and Bones came on stage to warm applause and played through their set of covers. Comprising Led Zepplin, Biffy Clyro, Neil Young and Foo Fighters songs. Sarah and Karen’s lovely harmonies along with Kev’s guitar and Brian’s percussion were well received by the sell out crowd. (The tickets were sold out two weeks before the gig, a first for Letham Nights, could this be a sign for the future?). All too soon their set was finished, leaving the stage to great cheers. They had only played six or seven gigs since they got together and really impressed the audience.
The Black Oil Brothers came on and continued where they had left off last year, playing through the album and adding a couple of covers along the way. Starting off with “Goggles Paisano”,“Going for Broke”, “Saturday Afternoon” starring Samadi, “Robert from Hibbert”, “Johnny and the Pale Rider”, “One for Suzie” and The Rolling Stones “Dead Flowers” where I was persuaded to make my live debut, Tony Manno very helpfully whispering the chords to me as I strummed along, grinning like a fool [You were great Roy! Ed.]. They finished the set with a fantastic version of The Band’s “The Weight”.
Once again their foot stompin delta blues, great guitar work and gritty vocals went down a storm, these guy’s know their trade and had the audience eating out of their hand.
As the night closed, they promised to come back next year… What do you all think?
Kev from Skin and Bones told me they were so inspired by the night that they were going to work on original material.
What a night!
During a small break in the Black Oil Brothers set Neil from the North Howe Transition Toun Movement presented us with a metal Letham Nights sign and extolled our efforts and successes during the last 18 months. The whole team were summonsed and a round of cheers were gratefully received. We had also found out that Michael had been nominated as an inspirational advocate on sustainability and green issues, achieving a top 20 placing from over a hundred nominees for the Scottish Green List, a fantastic accolade
The article in the Scotsman went something like this
Sometimes being green can seem slightly dry and worthy, but not when Mike Farrell is involved.
He has set up a local gig night called Letham Nights, which is aiming to fund a “zero carbon” village hall for Letham in Fife at the same time as providing a stage for local talent.
The project supports North Howe Transition Toun, aiming to tackle climate change in Letham, Monimail, Bow of Fife, Collessie, Giffordtown and Charlottetown.
Mr Farrell and his team are in the middle of a busy 2010 programme, which is attracting local and international acts. This list celebrates the incredible work going on by unsung heroes around the country.