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OOTB 11 – 10 Jan 2002

It was another busy night at The Waverley with a full card of performers. The standard was exceptionally good, possibly the best night yet.

Trip Fontaine came back after a month away and it was good to see the hairy Mancunian again. “Freeway” has to be one of the most melodic songs I’ve heard at these evenings. There’s a pleasant, cathartic pain in his voice which chimes with the 12-string guitar in a very pleasant fashion. Trip won a demo competition on Radio Scotland and consequently has a session on Monday, 11th February at 10pm. Make a date in your diary now.

Scott Reilly has come on immeasurably since I first saw him at Edinburgh Songwriters a couple of years ago. The tunes are great, if the Lightning Seeds had interesting lyrics and an edge they’d be comparable to Scott but they don’t. “Tell It Like It Is”and “End Of The Line” are top quality songs. More of this please, Mr Reilly.

I don’t know how many songs Norman Lamont has in his repetoire but he always plays one new to me which is amazing. One of the opportunities these open mic nights have is to let people bring new songs to try out. Norman uses this artistic license to the full. “Singing Nothing” is a very happy tune with a melancholic lyric partly about waiting to meet people in London in the rain (know the feeling). “(I’ve never gone down on a) Submarine, Girl” (important comma) is a fun song to end any set. Glad to see Norman back from his cold.

Free Loading Frank, freshly shaven and looking younger than his 29 years, was in ebullient mood. “Bloodshed On The Way” is becoming a singalong favourite in the Waverley. I imagine Frank, like millions of others (including myself), raised a smile at George W Bush choking on a pretzel. I don’t wish anyone ill but…Back to music. If anyone hasn’t heard “Scully” they’ve missed one of the most memorable and amusing songs played in Edinburgh’s open mics in the last five years. Will Frank ever record his music? I hope so, we shall see.

Lynsey Hutchinson seems to get better each time I see her. Sometimes when I do the sound I don’t get a chance to listen to the performers very well but going over the tapes it was a pleasant surprise to hear how very good Lynsey’s voice is. “Brother Grimmer” is a dense, symbollic lyric much like the old Brothers Grimm tales themselves and a heartstring-tugger it is too. Her new song was also a densely lyrical piece with more than a hint of melancholy. You can’t sing lyrics like these without feeling and this young lady certainly delivers. Look out for her new band Brundelfly. I would advertise their gig but it’s on a Thursday night so I can’t do that. (By the way, apologies for calling you Lesley, Lynsey!).

The raffle was won by Stephen McMurray. The prize – a kazoo that lights up from the USA.

Iain Firth came on with his customary energy; admirable as he comes straight from his top chef job in an Edinburgh restaurant. Another performer with a large collection of songs, with lyrics containing a lot of “ba-ba-ba”s (didn’t do the Beach Boys much harm). One song (“Electric Shocks”?) was a romantic piece about sex and flowers, his “ba-ba-baa” number was about foxes not sheep. A Dan Mutch tribute song “I Wish I Was Something Different” was indeed reminiscent of the style of the ex-Khaya frontman’s own compositions.

The first debutante of the evening was also the last act. Riley Briggs (and friend Ian Stoddart on drum) came on and, while I don’t like to single anyone out, blew me away. His first song “Jennifer” was an absolutely gorgeous genre-crossing pop song about a girl from Dumbiedykes. An obviously natural guitarist with a golden voice and some of the best melodies I’ve ever heard. “Older Women” highlighted a love of country music in style and the subject matter of love for older women is someting I can currently relate to. I think the audience’s very positive reaction was understandable. The next song – a new song “Love” – is a beautifully understated, sentimental (in a good way) piece. “My Love Is Blind” ended the evening and achingly fantastic it was too. These guys will definitely be at Out of the Bedroom again if I have to drag them there! Wonderful stuff.

Another landmark musical evening then. Hope to see more performers, new and old, over the coming weeks and you, too.

Take care each and everyone of you,

Jim

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