Borders’ band The Dirty Beggars have been busy honing their skills with gigs a plenty including several festivals since we mentioned their superb debut album Bite The Bullet back in January 2012. A very talented bunch indeed they came across as a local version of Old Crow Medicine Show and importantly had the writing chops to back up this claim without a traditional song in sight. Well they’ve been back in the studio and the first fruit is this excellent E. P. of three songs all written by vocalist Kieran Begbie. From the opening bars of Bury The Past it’s clear that the Beggars are on fine form as they skittle their way through this uplifting number. With banjo and fiddle well to the fore and some fine harmony singing the song is driven by well scrubbed guitars while Begbie’s voice has a well worn quality to it. It’s an assured, jaunty number with a fine hook in the chorus while the lyrics capture the sense of an elder offering advice to the young. A damn fine start. Unforgiven begins with a burial as the singer regrets his hell raising days and tries to get on with his new life as a farmer. It’s a powerful song with wonderful hints of penance and redemption on what is an almost cinematic tale. From the baleful opening the harmonies rise and momentum builds up as the band pile in. The fiddle playing here is particularly fine resonating with a lonesome howl. Come Away With Me closes the disc with Begbie inhabiting a younger soul looking to make a future for himself away from a dead end life. Again the Beggars nail it with a sound that’s as old as the hills and a fine sense of a rural America that’s slowly dying as its young are forced to look for work away from their small town existence looking for a paradise just a few States away. A melancholic desperate air pervades the song despite the optimistic goal with fiddle soaring as the guitars and banjo drive on and Begbie sings with an authenticity that beggars belief.
All in all this is a collection that builds on their debut with the band portraying an uncanny ability to capture a sound and feel that one can only imagine they’ve picked up from some dedicated listening. We look forward to hearing what they do next.
The E.P will be available from the 29th November and The Dirty Beggars have a launch gig at The Classic Grand that day.