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Leith Folk Festival now on!

Posted 26/05/2009 By admin

Well, it’s the annual Leith Folk Festival, and i’ve been asked to mention it to my friends, and of course my beloved OOTB crew came to mind instantly, so if you want some international folk, head down to the Leith Folk Club. More info at their website: www.leithfolkclub.com

OOTB 344 – 26 May 2009

Posted 26/05/2009 By admin

Matt Snyder

Matt is our first debut of the night. His set is purely instrumental piano which is a refreshing start to what is almost always a guitar-fueled evening. His first tune is a jazzy number. This really demonstrated his passion for playing. I’d love to see him on a real piano, I think he would totally rock out! His second is a half improv classical piece, which was beautifully melancholic. He ended on another jazzy number which was definitely my favourite of his.

Jim Bryce

Jim’s first song was his self-proclaimed ‘screechy’ number. Played on the keyboard I loved his screechy, almost bluesy song, and with a bit of scat singing thrown in I thought it was brilliant. His second was an incredibly poignant ballad for an old friend. He finished on a comedy number about the British abroad. It was perfectly perceptive and funny.


As our second debut of the night, Anna silenced the crowd with her a cappella intro to her first song. She has a unique style which I enjoyed a lot. Her second song was equally as captivating. I’d definitely love to see more of her here.


Bravely Ryan is performing a brand new song this evening. The subject is something we can all relate to; not turning into your parents. The lyrics were quite chilling. I’m guessing he really doesn’t want to turn into his Dad! In contrast Ryan’s second song is a very old one. He just plays two verses because apparently it gets a bit boring. I don’t agree at all, in fact it’s probably my favourite of his set. He ended with a song called soldier, which is a song about sex. ‘Not in a bad way’ he informs us……whatever that means!

Roger Emmerson

In the music circuit this guy is known as the ‘Blues Father’. I wasn’t sure if he would live up to this huge name but he did not disappoint. He started with a song about drinking and stereotypes. It had some great finger picking and that classic blues instrument, the harmonica. I am a total sucker for any tune that has a bit of that in it. He then moved on to a beautiful song called photographs. It was here where I really gave in to the ‘Blues Father’. I am now a fan.

Roger gives us a wee story about the name of his next tune, when he promptly tells us that it has nothing to do with that! Its called ‘Media’. With lyrics like ‘You are my Media…….. I am your Jason’, It sounds like a love song to me. He moves seamlessly on to a song about redemption. Roger assures us that he is old enough to sing this. No comment…..

He then picks up the tone with his summer song. As soon as it starts I know I’m going to love this song. Then he lets rip. ‘Lets dance!’

In contrast ‘A cut away’ was an incredibly poignant song about his brother. I enjoyed the passion that went into this song.

To finish Roger announced that he would do a cover. There were lots on sharp intakes of breath by the crowd at this but personally I loved it and thought that it was the perfect end to a great featured act.

Broken Tooth

Toothy, getting into it - 19 May 2009

Toothy, getting into it - 19 May 2009

With lyrics such as ‘If hell don’t want me, I’m going to crawl back to your side’, this was a true Broken Tooth set. I have to say though, I think this was probably one of my favourite times seeing him play. It was quite a diverse set with some, true to form, brilliant guitar playing. I particularly enjoyed the ‘Miller’s Daughter’ as I felt he connected more with the lyrics.

Jonny Pugh

Jonny, in true Pugh fashion delivered a set of beautiful acoustic tunes and accomplished guitar playing. He played the classic ‘On Fire’, which was sentimental and heartfelt. He then played two new songs. The first of which was slightly more melancholy but it was his last song that really did it for me. It was a great tune which left me singing the ‘hey, hey, hey’ part for a long time afterwards.


Although this is not his debut at OOTB, I have never seen him play before. It is an impromptu set he informs us, and if this is true I am pretty impressed. He starts off with a song called ‘Russian Dolls’, which is about what is going on in the world today. He then moves on to sing about being grateful for being alive. He also has a slight Scottish twang in his singing voice, which I do enjoy listening to. I hope to catch another set soon.

OOTB 343 – 19 May 2009

Posted 19/05/2009 By admin

OOTB REVIEW 19/05/09

The Weather Underground.

The Weather Underground starts out with a bold guitar riff. His bouncy
chords slide nicely into some distinctive harmonics that his voice whispers through. He punches out signature sequences throughout the song, which are particularly effective. Nice bit of edge but not too in your face.

His second song “rain” was definitely appropriate for the evening, as we all
walked in “soaking wet through.” It has a nice mellow sound, and moves along nicely like the rain, as well as compassing a good use of repetition in
“rain, rain, rain” he seems to word paint himself away as his slot fades

Calum and Jimmy Carlyle

It’s nice to finally hear the echoing voice of Jimmy Carlyle, as I had only
heard it on CD until now. Their first song opens up with the unusual sound
of the mandolin, it really shines through this unplugged evening, making its mark immediately, but yet it maintains a lovely flowing sound with Calum’s well played guitar part.

This happy, nice sounding story ironically turns out to be a song full of
angsty, Scottish Pride and it doesn’t take any crap. No-one can argue while it’s being proudly sung out.

Their second song is also a political song, this time it’s much more laid
back but yet still interesting and full of charisma. Calum and Jimmy open
this song with a very powerful yet cheering accapella verse that really
enhances the sound of their harmonies. The vocal melodies weave in and out of each other as the bassy guitar part drives the song along, leaving space for the mandolin to fill in the spaces.

There were some great gaps in the vocals, which really allowed the two
instruments to show us what they could do and definitely makes the most of the overall sound.

Calum and jimmy’s lively songs have a brilliant folky undertone and they
really brought the best out of their distinctive sound tonight. I thoroughly
enjoyed listening.


Neil’s voice immediately changes the sound, a great contrast to Calum and
Jimmy’s very lively performance. Neil’s gentle voice is quieter but yet still heard. He has a few subtle leaps in the vocal melodies which keep the
songs interesting, and despite the mellow sound in the opening the guitar
has drive and builds up into some firm strumming that keeps the song bold
and yet still maintaining the lovely gentle sound in his voice.

“I dance like a loon at 3 in the morning” “the red eyed monster in your
living room”

His quirky and interesting lyrics work well, keeping the attention on him. I
had the urge to sing harmonies throughout this song, especially during a few of the repeated melodies. I particularly like how Neil inverts the vocal melody as he ends his song; it is a really nice touch.

Neil also used some complex guitar parts though out the rest of his slot
which give a nice contrast to his gentle stuff and really enable the voice
to stand out, he keeps the beat well when he kicks in the strumming on the
guitar, then before ending the song he takes a different route up the fret
board and fades out nicely.

Broken Tooth

“If hell don’t want me, I’m going to crawl back Onto your side”

If anyone had fallen asleep, Jim definitely woke him or her up.

He opens with a gritty and involved guitar riff. Jim has a bit of a country
feel about him when he sings, reminds me a little bit of Jack White.

He has a really nice instrumental section where he really shows us what he can do on the guitar before layering his distinctive vocals on top.

“Caught up in a loop hole before you man the fuck up and move on”

It’s really nice to hear a guy sing about his weakness rather than his
strengths, because I find, it’s sometimes quite easy to forget that men have emotions.

I particularly like Jim’s passion and how he speeds up his guitar in the
guitar solo bits, it really changes the dynamic of the song for a while
before he returns to his original style. This makes the song more interesting especially as he maintains the stomping rhythms through out the
changes. The length of his songs seem to be the only thing that lets them down but he does however, maintain the use of interesting lyrics right the way to the end, which I think is particularly effective.

“There is a demon in the moonshine” and “I believe my time has come”

A great performance from Jim Thomson.


Ryan gets more confident every time I see him. He is full of potential and
he’s lyrically brilliant, if not a little strange at times, but in a good
way of course.

It’s such a relief to hear people sing about stuff other than love… and
even when we heard his “love” song, it definitely was different to every
other love song I have ever heard.

Ryan starts off with an up beat guitar riff, his edgy voice cuts through the
guitar. He uses a nice mixture of bold singing and more beautiful melodic
vocals throughout his song, creating a nice contrast.

“I lost my faith, might, god and love and law.”

He uses a few nice pauses to great effect throughout which direct his
passionate words through well, delivered guitar playing.

“I don’t know how to tell you this” “I’ll say it once”

The word “once” creates a really nice dramatic stop.

His funeral song was short, sweet, and lyrically impressive and well, those
of you who missed it, your loss, you should have been there.

Ryan definitely makes an impact with his individual style and unusual, yet
interesting lyrics. I really enjoyed his slot again and I’m looking forward
to seeing how he progresses over the next few months.

Hopefully he will still be, “Running around with a butterfly net.”


Jamie is another performer with drive. He has a very sophisticated voice.

“I don’t turn every corner in this maze of emotion”

The song changes only subtly throughout but yet he still manages to keep the attention on him. It was very well performed indeed; I wish I could convey such a presence with such little change in my music.

The pauses break up the guitar part well and make it more interesting.

“You walked away from me”

“Only wishes come true in fairytales”

This fairy tale song, he played because the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest sang a song about Fairytales… I have to say, that Jamie’s fairytale song is much better than the Norwegian, Alexander Rybak’s song.

Jamie’s second song was a very moving song about his daughter.

“In my life I try to be the best I can be, I provide for you and keep you

His conversation style lyrics you would imagine would be spoken but he sung them, keeping them profound and full of emotion.

“I thank you” the lift in pitch in the voice towards the end of the song was
nicely done and worked well.

Jamie’s last song was even more moving. It was about the late Billie Mackenzie who committed suicide after the death of his mother.

“I hope you found what you were looking for.”

“So many people cried, the day his music died”

Jamie uses a simple but consistent guitar riff throughout this song, the
emotions conveyed and the tone hides the simplicity before he ends on a the
question “why?”

A very powerful and enjoyable slot from Jamie.


Angus breaks into his first song with the sound of a keyboard. This is the
first electric element we have experienced so far tonight. He does really well singing over the keyboard without amplification in the voice.

His conversational style singing really stands out and makes the song
interesting from the very beginning. He has a great sound and these
individual and well thought out lyrics stream out over some hammered on yet lovely sounding keyboard sequences.

“Bus to appear” “downtown San Francisco checking on your money”

“There is really only one solution do I have to spell it out?”

I really appreciate it, when songwriters ask questions in their music; it creates a lovely ambiguous feel. Despite this, and the content of his lyrics, his songs are still happy sounding and are easy to listen to.

The chorus in his first song is only subtley different to the previous part
of the song but it is very effective. His booming vocals keep everyone’s
attention as this San Francisco story is sung out.

“you’re never gonna change that law”.

I’d love to hear some of Angus’s music on a grand piano. His second song has
happy innocent vocals that work well with the keyboard and convey a little
bit of musical animation.

“My head’s full of strange ideas”

An inverted ascending scale in the higher register gives the song a grand

Bouncy, involved and with a consistant rhythm and good dynamic contrasts, Angus firmly ends a very enjoyable set.

Nyk Stoddart

Nyk starts with something mellow! Yes you heard me right, something mellow.

I like it, it’s nice to hear his softer side.

The first song has a finger picked opening.

“footsteps echo in my dreams”

“I feel the colour of evening, It’s nice to feel the wind”

Some lovely lyrics from Nyk here.

I love the gentle guitar playing that you would never expect from him.

Humming in the middle of some softly strummed guitar parts is another great
contrast to his normal sound.

His new song opens with muted chords, he sings out some words straight off an envelope, which is much more interesting than having lyrics written on a piece of paper.

The strumming in this song is a little harder than the previous mellow
sounding one, but yet it’s still not quite the crazy, normal sounding Nyk
song. This does give him the perfect opportunity to play his ascending and
descending gentle guitar solo’s which flow along nicely.

“Mr Sleaze” a requested song by myself of course.

Nyk’s bouncy chords open one of my favourite songs, partly because it was
written for me but also because it’s and awesome song!

“Mr Sleaze is an outragous and bad, really, really bad man”

“Mr Sleaze gets under the skin”

“Hey hey hey” is the returning theme that everyone likes to sing along to.

A great performance from Nyk.


Funky, intricate guitar part starts off John’s set.

This song has a happy feel and a folky storyline.

The catchy opening guitar riff is repeated throughout the song between the verses to great effect. This man is very good at the guitar indeed.

John has a nice voice, it’s full of character and conviction.

“We love to walk the cleavand way”

“I swear I could not love you more as these shadows lengthen”

A Happy unrequieted love song is next with an interesting guitar part and a
nice charisma.

“I used to be creative”

“I’m losing my grasp and I’m all burnt out”

John jumps about the register vocally aswell as with the guitar creating a
very folky, yet soulful sound.

Another happy sounding song ends his set, which is great at the end of the
night, I really love Johns style, if only there were more happy sounding
songwriters about.

“You’ve not got the decency to get off the floor”

“Pull up that blind and see the light”

“Forget these lies when you wash them all away”

These well written lyrics, full of imagery, lend themselves well to the

The rhythm is constantly challenged, breaking tonights boundaries with
interesting, effective and involved guitar parts, every single note falls
perfectly in time, even in his great spikey rhythms.

After a couple of taps on the guitar his song fades out, ending his set and leaving a mark on the Edinburgh Acoustic scene.

Nicky (written by Johnny Pugh)

Nicky is completely unfazed by the lack of vocal amplification, She blows
the audience away with this rendition of my favourite song of hers, “In

This song really benefits from the accompaniment of the two guitars (since she is joined by Calum Carlyle)

The song conveys a sense of freshness and change.

“it’s been a long time, but my heart still seems to move”

“Catch my eye on you” is her second song. It begins with tense, broody

It’s a testament to Nicky’s vocal that she can over power the terocious
strumming of two guitars. Nice overlapping vocals from Calum. Songs of frustrated desire I guess, the angst of the lyrics are delivered
convincingly by Nicky’s vocals.

Nicky’s last song is “Between the floorboards”

The song starts with Nicky being poetic and reflective before exploding into a rock refrain.

“Because everything feels like… I can’t describe”

Excellent use of dynamics throughout the song, some intelligently plucked
chords from Calum add a touch of depth in the accompaniment.

A polished performance once again!

Review written by Nicky Carder with help from Johnny Pugh.

OOTB 342 – 12 May 2009

Posted 12/05/2009 By admin

Debutants ‘Fitzroy Soul’ kick off tonight’s OOTB. They have a real ‘smoky bar’ sort of sound, with plenty of rock and blues influence on show. Nice harmonica playing as well. Their second is somewhat darker, a gently iterated fingerpicked guitar line gradually builds into an almost grunge-like sound. Some great guitar interplay at the end, in what I thought was the duo’s strongest of the set. The set ends with “Journeys”, which drops the tempo and reverts back to a bluesy sound. An interesting and unpredictable chord progression keeps the listener interested. Some nice lyrical ideas on show in this one; “as my world falls on a spindle”. Some really tight playing from a clearly well rehearsed duo, with some interesting and original songs.

Roger – It’s a real pleasure to see Roger return to OOTB after a couple of months; he is both a hugely talented musician and a gifted songwriter, which makes for an extremely entertaining set. “Cutaway” begins with furiously strummed chords which provide ample backing for Roger’s virtuoso harmonica playing, the harsh tones of which mirror the lyrical content; “I can’t sing about you” he bitterly laments. “Venice” has a different feel, the vocal line follows the staccato riff of the guitar. The lyrics tell the story of a doomed love; “strange love, so young is what I said”. Again the guitar work is highly proficient, with intelligently used hammer-ons and pull-offs. His last is an instrumental homage to gaffer tape, which has some purely inspired playing; most guitarists struggle to solo over the altered dominant chords Roger uses, so to do so on a harmonica in such an unpertubed manner is a little mind-boggling. Cracking stuff!

Calum Carlyle– Playing tonight under his alter ego Caramel Curly, Calum begins with the enigmatic “My penis is a gyroscope”- this is full of observational gems such as “you can get to heaven even if you’ve got a penis”. The whimsical lyrics and Calum’s adept performance make it easy to forget that this is quite a complex piece to perform. A great, fun start to the set. This is followed by (the now poignant) “Living Proof”, which has now become engrained in OOTB folklore. I say poignant because the ‘hippy’ in question now looks a lot less hippy-esque. However, the song is still a cracker, and it had the audience singing along as ever. Again, Calum is really skilled at writing lyrics which are equally humourous but also thought provoking, with some astute observations about nuclear power. Calum ends with one of his new bandmate’s, Nicky Carder’s songs “Ice Cream”. Calum brings out a different side to the song which I quite enjoyed; the vocal is perhaps slightly more restrained, which places the focus on the intelligently crafted lyrics. Another strong set!

Bobby - 12th May 2009

Bobby - 12th May 2009

Bobby – “Things to do when Nothings on the Telly” is a hilarious piece, with some excellent folky guitar. I always enjoy Bobby’s performance of this song, he always conveys the cheeky charm of the lyrics perfectly. His second is slightly more biting, taking electoral apathy as its topic; “Blame it on the martians/ they weren’t even there!” is a memorable line. Again, the use of finger-plectrums allows Bobby to pick out some complex rhythmic patterns, which make his songs sound all the more authentic. His last is an ode to the joys of busking on Rose Street “to pay for food and drink and hash”. As ever, Bobby supplements his performance with a great stage presence, an enviable trait for any performer.

Rob Sproul-Cran with Johnny Pugh (review by Darren Thornberry)

Rob Sproul-Cran and Johnny Pugh - 12th May 2009

Rob Sproul-Cran and Johnny Pugh - 12th May 2009

1. Japan – this song is a delicate, delicate thing. The guaranteed hush occurs as Rob finds his ghostlike voice and the lyrics spill out in a remarkable melody. I’m humming along, trying to be objective, but I can’t. I love it.

2. The Day He Died – Johnny plays some sweet harmonics; Rob sings “Memories you forgot you had come bubbling to mind.”

3. I See Stars – this may be Rob’s strongest song. It has grown on me a lot over the past couple of months. The live version tonight is a beast and shows off their collaborative talent. But still, you MUST hear Rob’s immense recording at www.myspace.com/robsproulcran

4. A Nice Day at the Beach – Very cool and yes breezy tune with interesting chords. Johnny unleashes the monster of rock and the duo hits their stride. Awesome.

For the last two songs, Rob stands alone and brings out some very special stuff.

5. The rock song with unintelligible lyrics. There is a Zeppelin-flavored beat throughout and while I cannot understand the words I don’t care because I am filled with surprised glee at the sound of Rob’s blues. This is what makes him standout – the ability to stop your heart with one lilting song and then plunge a needle full of adrenaline into it with the next.

6. Father. So quiet tonight that I strain to hear what’s being said. This short, quizzical, lovely song always gives me a knot in my throat. I’m afraid to know what it’s about.

Wonderful set from someone who will go far. Were you lucky enough to have his website written on your arm?

Nicky Carder and Calum Carlyle

2/3 of the new supergroup around town Neoviolet take to the stage for a couple of numbers next. Although they have only begun playing relatively recent, their first song shows that their collaboration has all the ingredients for success. Calum’s assured musicianship compliments Nicky’s natural songwriting extremely well. “The Train Station Song” is another example of this; Calum’s accompaniment is never overbearing, and adds depth to the song which allows Nicky to really let rip in the vocal. Some great harmonies as well. I very much look forward to hearing a full gig from this outfit very soon.

Jim Whyte

A quick squashee from Jim next who provides us with a tub-thumping new song. I’ve never heard Jim sing like this before, and I must say it’s absolutely brilliant! Great to hear him doing angry bluesy stuff! Its a cracking song as well packed with (self referencing) nautical imagery. Good to see that Jim is on fine songwriting form and I hope to hear some more where this came from!

Jonny Pugh (review by Darren Thornberry)

Listening to Flux, I find myself thinking that Pugh is a songwriter in the Dylan tradition. He’s a very poetic lyricist and wonderful guitarist. My partner describes his voice as “warm chocolate.” Loose ends, written in his angsty period, is actually a pretty sweet song. “Am I holding you down? My love what will become of these loose ends?” Mmmm, pensive stuff. Lyrics on his last song are irresistible. “Your forgiveness when it’s blind won’t see you through. I hurt you the most, it’s true. And I don’t know why you love me, but you do.”

Johnny’s approach to the stage is humble and subtle, and that makes his grace as a songwriter fill up the room.


Cameron’s first is an adaption of a poem written by his granddad. It has a really laid back sound, which belies the wistful tone of the words; it is testament to Cameron’s performance that the words sound completely original to him. Its one of those songs which really benefits from the sparse accompaniment of a single guitar. Great start. His second is a new one, but its played like its been part of Cameron’s set for years. Using intelligently placed harmonics, Cameron creates a dark brooding atmosphere, with long pedalled notes in the chorus. The tension is allieviated in his third with an up-beat carefree number, with a stupidly catchy chorus. “The only thing we fear is love” he sings. Nice, well balanced set.


Another debutant, Matthew’s first is in D. It has some interesting musical ideas (I particularly like the move to the Gm chord), and the confidence grows as the song progresses. “This Town ain’t the best” begins with insistent strumming has some lyrical gems; “They left me no choice/ I stole a Rolls Royce” is frankly close to Shakespearean. Brimming with confidence in his last, we are treated to a good old fashioned rock and roll romp. Great to hear yet another new face at OOTB.


Another confident debut. His first is reflection on the human condition, to which there is “no easy way out”. Again, some nice lyrical ideas on show. On his second “Walking Along”, he is accompanied by a mysterious bongo player, which complimented the rhythmic style of the music well. A real foot-tapper. His last is the strongest of the set; it has a really psychedelic sound, with prolonged drawling vocals which had my head reeling (this may or may not have been helped by the fact I was on my 5th pint at this stage). An really original song which I enjoyed. My only comment would be perhaps to learn the songs a little better to ensure that the performance remains uninterrupted. Otherwise a strong debut.

Cracking night at the Tron, I thought it was a really high standard; see you on Tuesday!

OOTB 341 – 5 May 2009

Posted 05/05/2009 By admin

A pocketful of Harmonicas”

or the review of 5/5/09

a multimedia play by Rego Gunloop the 17th

Chapter One – “Musos palace”

(Stage set: An open mic venue in the basement of the Tron, Edinburgh)

(Sound effects: baudy shouting from outside, whilst glasses clink, and a busty male barmaid laughs uproariously – the first character appears at the mic…)

Mr Broken

After thrashing Black Beauty to bits (metaphorically of course!) during the sound-check he starts “Summer Rose”. This reminds me of the time that a bargain basement sooth-sayer once said to me “ribbons and bows” but he was insane so I didn’t give him any money and he shot me with a water pistol. Oh, and Jim’s song is good – a sound about not getting any – esp. between 25-35. What a world!

He sounds like my gran on steroids sometimes though – “reach into the cage” he sings – I think he has a thing about hamsters – maybe not – next, he hoots like Little Richard with an improvised song. Finally, in “Guns in the desert” – the hero walks out of the saloon and out of the town because he realises we sold and they bought. We sold and they bought. The arms trade is an ugly business – and the less said about the leg trade the better….

Sam Barber

One of my favourite performers, who reminds me of haircuts – we see too little of him here, and so it’s most welcome to hear his songs at OOTB again. After trying to bribe me wiv 5p and a bit of chewing gum (students eh ?) I lied when I said I’d give a good review, so here it is:

“Story of my life” is a song that consist of C9ths as far as my myopic ears can tell – it is buskesque, but with a folky pop melody.

His speciality – his trademark is 12 string chordings which adds something chimey to proceedings. Whatever those are.

“Theory of everything” is an award-winning song – which has groovy key changes, and I’ll have a short back and sides please mate.

I wish I was intelligent enough to understand his lyrics though – but it seems like a mixture of Einstein singing a love song. Finally, “Thursday” – despite being sung on the wrong day, has a spangly and high-capoed sound with almost modal chordings – he also sings “yeah” in a hip way. We demand to hear more of your fine pop talents Mr Barber – please return soon! We also have a house pair of scissors…

Dave Robertson, aka Heroin in a Nutshell

A regular performer at OOTB who has been travelling all the way from Dundee just to play at our humble open-mic, Dave has been a most welcome presence here – one of the new van garde perhaps ?

“This is the real world” is a song about Celeb types – quiet intro then stabby loud/soft with some great melodic touches – proving Dave has much more talent than most celebs…

“Welcome to the jungle baby” he sings with a sincere & passionate vocal. Tarzan suddenly appears and draws a cartoon – or was that just in my mind ?

“Streets are fucking empty…you’d better hack it baby” is a fab catch-line – he sure can hit those high notes too – when the chorus kicks in it just sails away…

“Question” – Dave dedicates this song to OOTBs own musoprof Calum Carlyle, with some very striking and dynamic chords, and a mesmerising vocal. Has a delicious flamenco thing going in places as well. Nice key changes. And maybe a bit of “nu-Radiohead” perhaps (apologies for the comparison!) – which may mean mournful and reflective, but angry and dynamic. It’s always a worth-while journey for Dave to play here, for him and us, as we always look forward to his songs.


He states that this first song is his oldest surviving song – he writes loads apparently, but like Victorian children only some make it to adulthood…

“Mexico” – which has nowt to do with Mexico, with words like “bones structures mainly, god and love. Say once, once!

“Talk amongst yourselves” has some very intricate finger-picking here – which reminds me of James Taylor again, but it slides into a resolving major-fifteenth, so that’s all right then…James Taylor is the name of our sheriff in these parts by the by – he wears a badge, but has no gun…so that’s all right then.

Overall, some cool songs…hope to hear more soon!

John Watson (debut)

Driven up from Scarbourgh today – “Ace in my pocket” is a great picking blues – you can tell he’s played a few places – within a few bars – he’s captured everyones attention. “Slidey backshifting devil of a man” he sings whilst playing great, well-placed blues riffs. “Station master in this godforsaken town” is a slower tune but just as well played – even Billy the Kid would keep in his guns, and hide behind the busty male barmaid, after such great playing.

“We’ve got our problems” finishes with it’s jazzy, but bluesy feel – but with sophisticated progressions. Truly mind-blowing. We hope you return sir! – your amazing playing keeps us from complacency!

Bill Phillips

OOTB’s poet laureate recites his most famous poem

And we all say “Intermission!”

In a surreal twist of theatre, the narrator steps up to the mic. Darren Thornberry takes over the story…

Nyk Stoddart adjusts his spectacles mid-song like the consummate professional he is - 2 June 2009

Nyk Stoddart adjusts his spectacles mid-song like the consummate professional he is - 2 June 2009

Nyk Stoddart

MantlePeace is a pensive little ditty. Nyk hears footsteps in his head, which may or may not be a good thing. The tune here is funerary, mournful, lyrically abstract.

Mr. Sleaze – ahhh, this song deals a fatal blow to its subject. Nyk shows off some vibrato and the modulation is a nice layer to the song.

Kitten in a Bong. Who me? No one will own up to actually putting the cat there, but as Nyk indicts the ancient hippies it would be foolish to deny the funny fantasy. After all, it’s just a made up story.

The Narrator steps through the saloon doors, and as people dive into corners, expecting a showdown, a figure appears on the far end of the bar and the narrator faces him…

Jim Whyte

The ancient mariner of OOTB sings his new song “Ship” – “do de doo do dee do” on a stormy, jaunty sea – he’s trying to “fit my ship together” – like airfix ? – I do like those model planes. From the lyric “Sailing across the sea” he goes into a more plaintive mode…but soon it gets louder and louder…I think that’s called “rousing”.

“I’ve found love” is one of my favourite songs of his. Genuinely moving, it’s about finding something you didn’t expect…how love makes you act strange…

“Live feed” – this song may be about reality TV, where he “blacks out my windows – turn on my TV…there’s a fly on the wall…watching it all”…Then there’s the Jerry Springer bit…fab!

Jim has obviously not lost his talent to mesmerise an audience…more new songs soon Jim!

Darren Thornberry

I can’t possibly do a review of this man’s work, and do it any justice, but nonetheless:

Our very own Darren Thornberry plays us .”Chips and Curry”.


“Curry!” the audience scream.

Darren then plays his love song to Edinburgh, whilst mentioning “South and North Bridge” and the moving lyric “The silence has no mercy so we talk awhile instead”. Beautiful.

“Is it true ?” is a melancholy number with his signature heartfelt singing – class.

Darren has a rare talent for song-writing and performing, that combines honesty, catchy melodies, and memorable lyrics. When he departs these shores for the US pretty soon, he will take a part of us with him…not literally obviously, as that would be messy and painful…seriously though, OOTB won’t be the same without him.

Ha! I get the final word, maybe. I’ll dodge the bullet after all, thanks to the incredible writing skill of Darren Thornberry:

Nyk Stoddart

Mutant Zombies – the ultimate show closer goes down a treat. Nah nah nah nah nah. Full stop.

The director shouts “Cut!” – and the barber comes out – does everyone’s hair, and everyone leaves. Everyone’s forgotten the sheriff, however, and he’s gone wrong…in fact he now looks like Yul Brynner…

Friday 29 May TRIANGLE Magazine Launch at the Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanic

Music, Poetry and Geometry under the same glass roof…

It’s free but book now for this extraordinary event by sending an email with
the names of attendees to: bookings@brownwilliams.org.

See www.brownwilliams.org for more information and the magazine itself.

Hannah O’Reilly at The Listening Room

Posted 04/05/2009 By admin

Come along to the Blue Blazer on Sunday 10 May 2009 for a feature set by Hannah O’Reilly, who will no doubt be selling copies of her new CD “Stilletto”. Come for 8pm and catch the always-spectacular open-mic section of the night too. Free admission.

08/05/2009 20:00 at Basement Bar @ The Tron, Edinburgh
Hunter Square, Edinburgh,
Cost: £5/3

Another Sporadic Music Night with Paul Gilbody and very special guests Bag of Bags! It’ll be fantastic…

Secret CDs – 6 May 2009

Posted 04/05/2009 By admin

The eighteenth Secret CDs night will be on Wednesday 6th May 2009 from
7.30-10.30 p.m. I hope you can come along to the intimate, friendly
surroundings of Secret CDs home in The Phoenix cellar bar in Edinburgh’s
Broughton Street.

The big news is that top local songwriter and chanteuse *Hannah O’Reilly -*
www.hannahoreilly.com* -* will be using the evening to launch her
long-awaited new CD ‘Stiletto’. Secret CDs is very excited about this, and
we feel very honoured that the mighty Hannah has chosen our humble night for
the occasion.

In the unlikely event that this news is not enough to entice you, the three
other acts on the bill will almost certainly convince you that this is the
place to be:

– *The Beggar Girls* are a 4 piece all female band playing and singing
traditional tunes and songs form Eastern Europe, France, England and some
original material. They live in the Scottish Borders. Website:
– *Andi Neate* has released five albums, including her most recent studio
recording, Crows, Rooks and Ravens (2009). Recorded over a year in
Edinburgh and Bath, the production ranges from songs with the full band
treatment (Storm Crow, Too Busy Playing God), with strings, brass and
backing vocals, to pared back emotive solo voice and guitar. Website:
– *Little Pebble *is a member of the Fence Collective, and will showcase
his 5 track e.p. ‘Irish Winter’ which comes in a handmade case made from
sugar paper – so you can eat it if you want. Website:

All four featured acts will play highlights from their respective CDs, which
will be sold on the night. Door entry will be £2.

The Himalaya Shop, 20 South Clerk Street
£3 in, £2 food

“Featuring side projects from the city’s finest names in independent music.”

with Horsebreaker www.myspace.com/thebandhorsebreaker

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