Blabber’n’Smoke wrote about this Glasgow based collective’s EP here and we popped along to the launch show last Friday for what turned out to be a short but invigorating shot of harmonic roots music. The band, AJ Meadows from Memphis, Tennessee, backed by Harry & The Hendersons and ably assisted by two fiddles (eight players in all) filled the stage as they delivered all three songs from the EP along with a couple of other songs (mea culpa but I didn’t catch the titles) and a final (and excellent) cover of The Band’s The Weight.
While Meadows on lead vocals and acoustic guitar was the focal point for the night the group as a whole were mighty impressive especially around the vocal harmonies. While the brisk and breezy Glasgow Summer showcased the collective voices it was on Ella where they really excelled. Here the lead vocals were swapped around over a plaintive fiddle while harmonies and counterpoints rang out until the song coalesced into its collective voice towards the end. It was an astounding performance and my notes simply state here that it was like hearing an unknown CS&N song. Wildwood Flower/Across Rivers was a refreshing blast of good old-fashioned country rock, the Appalachian clarity of Wildwood Flower flowing easily into the crowd pleasing folkiness of the second half of the song. It was a short but very sweet set and their version of The Weight, aside from allowing further opportunity to show off their vocal prowess had the audience singing along.
Apparently, this was only the second time this collective have played live, the last event almost a year ago. It would be somewhat criminal if they leave it so long before returning.
Unfortunately we arrived too late for the opening act, Megan Airlie but we did catch Olifant Collective, an entertaining crew who offered up a fine mix of Ska and Mariachi tinged songs with a hint of Klezmer in the mix.