PREVIEW AMERICANA MCINTOSH ROSS Oran Mor, Glasgow, Fri 6 Nov; Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 29 Nov
The piano hook on UK hip hop urchin Chipmunk’s new single, ‘Oopsy Daisy’, is curious. By ‘curious’ we mean ‘hugely akin to “Wages Day” by Deacon Blue’. And by ‘Deacon Blue’, we mean ‘superb’. History has been unjust to
Scotland’s abiding social pop conquerors. For beyond the ubiquitous jock-rock bombast of ‘Dignity’ and ‘Real Gone Kid’ roved a melodious, much-loved contingent who immortalised Glasgow walkways and skylines; who rallied for nationalism and poll tax; who loaded their albums with folk-rock apologues, vivid love songs and urban lullabies. It’s with delight and colossal relief we report that DB’s still-heartbreaking frontman, Ricky Ross, has swerved his attentions from penning James Blunt odes, to working with his clarion-lunged DB vocalist (and other half) Lorraine McIntosh. The fruits of their union fuse bracing Celtic folk with the tender Americana that has so long captivated Ross and are celebrated on their lovely long- player, The Great Lakes. Evoking Lone Justice, The Handsome Family and Fleetwood Mac, its highlights include the lambent aria ‘Bluebell Wood’; the title track’s balmy promenade; and the railroad hosanna of ‘Gloria’. There are, of course, affinities to Deacon Blue. The Great Lakes’ lilting hymns and McIntosh’s vocal prominence recall 1990’s harmonious treatise Ooh Las Vegas and the twilight swoon of Fellow Hoodlums. There’s nary a throwback to ‘Wages Day’, right enough: clearly they’re leaving that honour to Chipmunk. (Nicola Meighan)
PREVIEW COUNTRY ROCK JIMMY WEBB AND THE WEBB BROTHERS Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 6 Nov
‘People realise that this is not just another record, this is a family working together,’ says legendary singer- songwriter Jimmy Webb, explaining how he recruited various members of his family to make the album Cottonwood Farm in what turned out to be an emotional recording process. With contributions from his father Bob and his sons
Christiaan, Justin, James and Cornelius, who have achieved success in their right own as The Webb Brothers, the album is packed with hummable melodies, but it also reflects the warmth of a family collaboration.
and sincere throughout our conversation, and explains: ‘I thought, “We are all alive, we are all still here on the same planet”. I was sitting here looking out at the garden and I thought, “Let’s make a record together”.’ ‘It became a family project. We got to know each
other and we liked each other a little better. Had I never done that then our relationship would have taken a different route. It’s totally brought us together and it’s been miraculous. ‘We’ve done a pretty damn fine album – we’ve worked
very hard on it. It was completely healing for all of us, and people respond to that.’ He also hopes their forthcoming live performances
will have a broad appeal. ‘I think the crowd will be families just like us. It will be parents and children getting together.’
When asked why he decided to undertake the project, And he admits being happy to include some crowd
the man responsible for penning classics like ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘MacArthur Park’ admits that there had been something of a family rift after an acrimonious divorce.
‘People tend to take sides and there are great silences. I realised that I didn’t know my children.’
Speaking from his Stateside home, he is courteous
pleasers for fans. ‘I always have to serve up the hits but the old material is still good, it’s still beautiful.
‘I’ve taken a great joy in what I’ve been able to accomplish. Doing what I wanted to do – I hope there are plenty of people who can say the same thing but I’m not sure if there are. I’ve been very lucky.’ (Emma Newlands)
PREVIEW JAZZ EMPIRICAL City Halls (Recital Room), Glasgow, Sat 14 Nov; Perth Theatre, Mon 16 Nov; Tolbooth, Stirling, Wed 18 Nov
The emergence of Empirical on the London jazz scene in the middle of the current decade brought with it a lot of extravagant praise of the often burdensome ‘great jazz hope’ variety. The band have undergone major shifts in personnel since winning the EBU/European Jazz
Competition at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2007, but the award-winning habit remains – drummer and co-founder Shaney Forbes recently picked up the Worshipful Company of Musicians annual award for Young Jazz Musicians. The new line-up retains Forbes and alto saxophonist Nathanial Facey alongside Lewis Wright on
vibes and Tom Farmer on bass (pianist George Fogel has also been playing with them at times). The re-vamped band recently issued their second album, Out‘n’In (Naim Jazz), with Julian Siegel guesting on bass clarinet and tenor sax.
The album is a spirited tribute to Eric Dolphy, and features nine of the group’s own Dolphy- influenced originals alongside arrangements of the American saxophonist’s compositions ‘Hat & Beard’ and ‘Gazzelloni’.
The new instrumentation and Dolphy-inspired sound give the album a notably different sound to its acclaimed predecessor, but clearly suggests the band remains in rude health as a creative unit, despite key musicians like Jay Phelps and Kit Downes having moved on (as it happens, pianist Downes has his own trio album – featuring Scottish bassist Calum Gourley – due for early November release). (Kenny Mathieson)
62 THE LIST 5–19 Nov 2009