Walking from the car park into the Swan, I saw- could I believe my eyes?- a gentleman carrying what appeared to be a harp, judging by its shape. Five minutes later, cover whipped off, and there stood a gorgeous 36-string Salvi harp. Then Andee arrived, and it was official- the harps had invaded! Three in one evening- a first for the Swan Acoustic, we reckoned.
The guitars were still out in force though, and Brian began the night on his with a classic- Leonard Cohen’s “Tennessee Waltz”. He followed this with “Waitin’ on a Dark-Eyed Gal” by Ronnie Wayne Davis, the sheet music for which he had found when looking for a silver box he had misplaced. Second half brought Chet Atkins’s “Mr Bojangles” followed by a self-penned love ballad, “Kath’s Song”, written for his wife. (Awww!)
Andee was up next and started with a lovely version of The Foggy Dew into the hornpipe Rights of Man. The Foggy Dew was written by Charles O’Neill about Irish soldiers being sent to fight for the British in the First World War. Andee followed this with “Star of the County Down” into “Castle Kelly”. Her second half was air “Soft Mild Morning” into the hornpipe “Her Long Golden Hair was hanging Down Her Back” followed by “Where You At The Rock”, a traditional Irish song about gathering at a place to say Mass. Gorgeous playing!
Chris Thompson followed with his first song -an instrumental- being what he described as “a Hawaiian –style mash up of about seven different songs”. Very relaxing and then “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, a classic Pink Floyd number. Second half Chris played two self-penned numbers, “Retirement Song” (which suggested selling one’s house and buying a boat!) followed by “Sweet Nothings”, a soothing ballad.
The blogger followed with two songs in one on the little harp; “Virginia Company” into “Steady as the Beating Drum” from the film “Pocahontas” and then “Beauty and the Beast” from the film of the same name, all three songs written by Alan Menken. This was followed in the second half by two traditional Irish dance tunes, Little Beggarman and Off to California. I *will* manage the key changes next time..
Mike Craig (wearing a flowery shirt, a cunning but futile attempt to distract the crowd) did his first song as a duet with Brian- the excellently played riff-driven “20 Years” by the Civil Wars and “I Can See The Pines Are Dancing”, a song written by American folk artist A.A. (Auguste Arthur, for the trivia fans) Bondy. Second half Mike played jigs and a hornpipe on the mandolin – Bantry Girls (apparently not to be confused with banshees -my hearing is not so good…), Home Ruler, Battering Ram and a mystery jig which was very pleasant but could not recall its name.
Newcomer to the Swan Acoustic Frank Wood introduced himself and his harp and kicked off with a fantastic performance of “Farewell to Fiunary” a Gaelic air and followed it with “Da Slockit Light”, a song written by Dr Tom Anderson of Shetland. Dr Anderson apparently was inspired to write the song by the depopulation of Eshaness where he was born- slockit being Shetland dialect for “extinguished”. Second half brought “Petronella” and a song called “Send in the Clowns”, written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 musical “A Little Night Music”. Lovely playing Frank and hope to see you again.
Next performer was Gloria who started with Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927”, a very passionate performance. Her second song was an acoustic version of Purcell’s “I Attempt from Love’s Sickness”- an aria with some vocal gymnastics and poignant lyrics from the opera “The Indian Queen”. Second half a newer version of a song called “Burglar’s Girl” followed by an excellent self-penned number “The Night of The Night Out” which painted a vivid picture about night life in Leeds as well as telling the story of a young man who hopes to take over a taxi firm but is supplanted by a young college graduate. She topped off the evening with a great version of The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” but not before James “Human Jukebox” Porter turned up and sang “You’ve Done Nothing Wrong” by Iris Dement followed by “Mr Moonlight”, a song written by Lee Roy Johnson but made famous by The Beatles. Classic!
An excellent night all, see you on March the 5th!