Laurie Cameron -‘The Girl Who Cried For The Boy Who Cried Wolf.’ (Glencoe Records)
This gorgeous album was one I was tipped off about by Kevin Buckle at Avalanche Records in Edinburgh. First of all, credit, where credit’s due; it’s a brilliant album. (And it’s great to see that at this point in musical history, record shops are still supporting independent artists.)
I don’t know a lot about Laurie Cameron – so I came to this album pretty much at face value. At points in the past I have had singer-songwriter fatigue, and yet a record like this forgives all sins committed under that banner. She hails from Perth, has supported the likes of Roddy Woomble and Frightened Rabbit (Frabbits’ Andy Monaghan contributes synth here) and with musical partner Ross Lorimer she has made one of the standout records of the year. Slightly folky, beautifully orchestrated and understated in the best possible way.
I drove home tonight to 17 Seconds Towers, alone in the car. I had this album on again, and was stunned once again by its’ beauty. The festival’s pretty well over and autumn’s on the way. Standout tracks like her version of Rabbie Burns’ The Slave’s Lament,’ ‘Rest and be thankful’ and the stunning title track are going to be the soundtrack to my autumn. And they should be to yours, too.
The Girl Who Cried For The Boy Who Cried Wolf is out now on Glencoe.
Edinburgh Electric Circus, March 24
Glasgow’s Snowgoose are a five-piece, but tonight it’s singer Anna Sheard and guitarist Jim McCulloch who are here, representing the band. Despite the usual handful of people who won’t shut up (for God’s sake!), their gorgeous sound wins over the crowd. Ms Sheard has a voice comparable to the late Sandy Denny, and the guitar-picking of Jim McCulloch is a perfect foil and accompaniment for her. Yes, it’s folky, and it’s warm and lovely.
The band released their debut album Harmony Springs last year and tonight’s set is drawn from both it and the new record they are working on. Songs like ‘Fox On the Tracks’ ‘Shifting Sands’ and the album’s title track are simply bewitching. If we don’t hear more from these guys, then something’s wrong with the world.
I have to confess to not being terribly enamoured with Roddy Woomble’s latest solo effort, Listen To Keep, but live, he and his band deliver a fantastic set. Opening with ‘A New Day Has Begun’ from his 2011 album The Impossible Song & Other Songs, the crowd receive him with warmth, which he returns. ‘We have a new album out,’ he quips.’ You can either buy it at what record shops remain or download it illegally.’ He’s got a great sense of humour, and it’s quite clear that the crowd adore him.
It’s a pretty diverse crowd here, and sure there’s people who would love him to bring Idlewild back, but there’s a lot of singing along with the increasing back catalogue of solo material. ‘Waverly Steps’ from his solo debut My Secret Is My Silence and new songs like ‘Treacle and Tobacco’ stand strong together, and the encore is inevitably the real treat.
He bring’s on Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones for a version of ‘My Secret Is My Silence’ and then they do Idlewild’s biggest hit ‘You Held The World the World In Your Arms Tonight.’ It’s fantastic – and whatever paths Roddy Woomble and his erstwhile bandmates go down, I want to follow…
Sigh. I first heard Roddy Woomble’s music back in 1997. Ironically, I picked up the 7″ of ‘Queen Of The Troubled Teens’ expecting it to sound like a folky band because of the girl on the front cover wearing an outsized woolly jumper. I wasn’t expecting the record that I put on, memorably described by NME as ‘sounding like flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs.’ Anyway, I fell for Idlewild, saw them several times, rejoiced when they got big and felt aggrieved when they parted company with their record company around 2007.
And I was intrigued by his growth into folk, loved his debut solo album My Secret Is My Silence, and basically went and checked out the Incredible String Band because he said they were his favourite Scottish band. When he collaborated with Kris Drever and John McCusker for Before The Ruin.
You can see where this is going, can’t you? Look: I have really tried to like this album, and having been a fan for so many years, I feel almost like I am betraying him by saying this – but the reality is I don’t rate this album at all. It starts off ok, and then just descends into blandness.
The opening track ‘Making Myths’ is ok, but the thought that struck me as I neared my second playing was ‘this is like a poor version of Deacon Blue.’ God knows, the man has made some brilliant records over the years – and Mrs. 17 Seconds has long held up Idlewild at the Usher Hall in 2005 as one of the best gigs she ever went to. I’ll probably try and give this a few more listens, more out of loyalty than because I enjoy it. But even just typing this review makes me feel sad.