Gigs · Music

Blue Rose Code again

Ross Wilson at Coda Music Edinburgh

Ross Wilson (Blue Rose Code) performing an instore set at Coda Music in Edinburgh on 4th November last year, the day after his sold out show at The Queen’s Hall.
The gig and the instore were in support of the magnificent “The Water of Leith” album. One of the albums of the year and one of the gigs of the year for me.

Blue Rose Code Water of Leith

Fatea Records’ Male Artist of 2017, recent new father, all round good guy.

Gigs · Music

Saint Etienne, Queen’s Hall 09 June 2017

Sarah Cracknell by Claire Anderson
(Sarah Cracknell by Claire Anderson – thanks Claire!)


Saint Etienne were at the Queen’s Hall on Friday evening.

As when I’ve seen them before, the gender balance was 85/15 male to female, which split I guess is caused by a mixture of the guys in the audience being a) record collector types like Pete and Bob, b) guys that really fancied Sarah Cracknell or c) guys that really want to be Sarah Cracknell.  From the amount of awkward dancing going on, I think c) may have had a majority.

Or maybe all the girls were watching Robbie Williams at Murrayfield.

Whatever.  Saint Etienne continue to do the business really well…

Saint Etienne at Queen's Hall


…Sarah with her feather boa as seen in Claire’s picture above and the guys up at the back of the stage looking as if they are thinking about Pickettywitch b-sides (this is not a bad thing – Bob Stanley’s Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé is one of the finest books available on pop music, particularly his chapter on The Bee Gees.)

Saint Etienne Queen's Hall June 2017


I’d like to think the back-projection below was for the Edinburgh crowd…I tried to explain it to a girl from Nebraska standing beside me who was baffled.

Josef K - Saint Etienne


Gigs · Music

The Staves – Queen’s Hall 7th February


staves scotland jura
From The Staves Facebook page – “We got whisky…”

On Saturday 7th February The Staves returned to The Queen’s Hall, promoting their new album “If I Was,” out on 23rd March – which seems a bit daft, but it was meant to have been out before the tour, last week in fact. Atlantic Records delayed the release in what seems a truly anachronistic move; really, nowadays, who cares about chart positions or avoiding the competition? Are The Staves really needing to avoid a clash with Ed Sheeran or the next Taylor Swift single? If they’d had the album at the show on Saturday, they would have sold buckets, but when you get to a certain level in that game, that’s way too simple. Or maybe Warners are seeing The Staves as the new Corrs (and, to be fair, they cleaned up with The Corrs…)
Yada yada, what do I know..?
Anyway, the last time I saw The Staves was October 2013 and in the interim they’ve made the afore-mentioned album, toured a lot and released the “Blood I Bled” EP.

staves blood bled

“Blood I Bled” came out at the end of last year, has three tracks (only one of which is on the new album) and is wildly impressive.
I approached with care; having quickly learned to love the “Dead & Born & Grown” album, I was a wee bit scared that the greatness of The Staves had been bolstered by the production and mixing skills of Ethan Johns and his dad, who had worked together on most of the album.
It’s OK, nothing to worry about. All three tracks on “Blood I Bled” were produced by The Staves and are great. The track from the forthcoming album was recorded with Justin Vernon, who has worked with Bon Iver, which is supposed to be a good thing…best of the three is the only one they didn’t play on Saturday, “America,” where they seem to get Joseph Heller and George Thorogood name-checked in the same lyric.

Anyway, the show on Saturday was even better than the last one in 2013. A lot better attended. The act has tightened up a lot, Emmylou Stave has become Cruella de Stave and they’re still super-posh. Love ’em.


staves live edinburgh

Gigs · Music

The Staves in Edinburgh…

The Staves Edinburgh - I wander I roam

The Staves are coming to The Queens’s Hall on Wednesday, toward the end of another lengthy tour for them.

I’m quite intrigued by the prospect, having spent a lot of my listening time over the last couple of months with their Dead & Born & Grown album, the original cover of which is shown below.  It reminds me of The Millenium’s Begin sleeve, but I love the font and I’ve enjoyed albums for worse reasons than the font on the sleeve…




staves millenium begin

But seriously, I’m pretty excited by this.  I was first attracted to The Staves because of Ethan Johns’ involvement with this album – Johns, of course is Laura Marling’s producer and co-toiler in the garden of greatness (she would be as great without him, but it might not be as obvious,) and has also got a pretty good solo album, If Not Now Then When?

Ethan is the son of Glyn and the nephew of the late Andy (who produced Marquee Moon!) and he and his dad had allegedly (according to Atlantic records’ website) both shown an interest in The Staves; so, happily, they share most (although not all) of the mixing and production credits on D&B&G.  Ethan plays a few instruments too and contributes the great “live” vibe that he adds to Marling’s records – fingers whistling on guitar strings, stuff falling over…

So, with that pedigree of producer and given that posh birds with acoustic guitars seems to be where I’m at a lot of the time now, I got the “Special Edition” of D&B&G (we fall for it every time) which includes a live five track CD, which adds nothing, apart from maybe allowing a picture to be added to the front of the CD showing Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor (probably not from the rough end of Watford) in full on CSN supplication. That’s it below…


staves edinburgh live



CSN Carry On Crosby Stills Nash

Now, obviously, there’s only one CSN, but delightfully, there’s only one The Staves.  Maybe it’s the sibling thing, but the vocal blend they have is unique and striking, as on this YouTube clip below – I’ve been struggling to think what sort of post-production could have been going on to beef up the voices on this, but I ultimately don’t doubt that what we hear in this room is how they sound.  Anyway, I’ll find out in a couple of days.

As for the D&B&G album, I wouldn’t be without it now.  It took a couple of listens, but now I’m a big fan.  It reminds me more of the first America album than CSN, but that’s not a bad thing.  Some parts are better than others, but I love “The Motherlode” and especially “Snow.”  This is partly due to the presence (and appropriate silences) on bass of Pat Donaldson.  He played on the canonical Richard and Linda Thompson records, with the McGarrigles and was also the only member of Fotheringay never to have been in Fairport Convention, which is surely the answer to a pub quiz question in some awful circle of hell.  Also, apparently, a neighbour of Glyn Johns now.  And originally from Edinburgh.

Pat Donaldson really does take The Staves to another place.

Anyway, out of all that, I’ve convinced myself that The Staves at The Queen’s Hall will be the best thing ever…


Staves in car