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Out of the Bedroom 677 review – Thursday 4th October 2018

Running order: Tina Louise Avery, Joel Evry, Rosie Smith, Callum Mackinnon, Bill Philip, Tau Boo, Beth Clarke, Majk Stokes, Beth Myers, feature act: Jim Bryce.

Tina Louise Avery: ‘Birth’ was an autobiographical tale of the birth of Tina’s son, now 15, written on the Isle of Lismore this summer. Very nice fingerpicking. ‘O Susanna’ – not that one – was about an ongoing incident in a quarry. Interesting change in tempo/dynamic between verse/chorus and a pleasantly floaty vocal, soft and warm.

Joel Evry: ‘Motel Walls’ was a ballad in the Americana style; powerful, sad. Joel plays both kinds of music: country and western! ‘Bound for Glory’ was a song of hope against the backdrop of poverty and trouble. An eternal moral tale. Great guitar playing and a beautiful tone from the gorgeous semi acoustic guitar.

Rosie Smith: ‘Widow’ was a new song written the day before her recent OOTB feature act appearance and never played live before. Hypnotising, with a great vocal and lyric: a gifted wordsmith with an ear for melody. ‘Teenage Blues’ contained a dark lyric about teenage suicide, self-harm and appalling mental health issues juxtaposed with a beautiful, happy tune and top line melody.

Callum Mackinnon: ‘When The Trains Come Through Town’ explored drinking and smoking as a teenager and generally doing all things deemed to be wrong. Written this week, since his CD launch on Saturday, this was a screamer with a nice riff and natural lyric/melody – Callum’s on fire! ‘Maybe It’s The Cold’ was re-written at a Gretchen Peters songwriting retreat, totally rejigged from his June OOTB feature act show. Haunting.

Bill Philip, poet and long-term friend of OOTB, read three poems: ‘The Shortest Day’, for a BBC poetry competition; ‘37D’, based on a young woman’s comment about herself; and ‘Intermission’, a classic from many an open mic night.

Tau Boo: Songs tighter than ever, and nice to hear the lyrics clearly from his trademark deep, resonant tones. Busy recording his own material and also playing and writing. The guitar sound is sweet. ‘Breathe Deep’ had chiming chords and cathedrals of sound, reminiscent of the influential 4AD acts of the ‘80s and David Sylvian of Japan. Vocals pulsing in time with the guitar to great effect.

Beth Clarke: ‘The Edinburgh Weather’ was a love song disguised as a positive comment on the Edinburgh haar. Plays with a smile on her face. The first mandola ever seen at OOTB? ‘Aberlady Bay’ was another romantic piece about her love for the East Lothian coastal village. Mmm… lovely. Was Beth angling for a job at Visit Scotland? Very good debut.

Majk Stokes: With a nod to the new series of Dr. Who, Majk played ‘Time Traveller Blues’. A witty song beginning with the blues parody “I woke up tomorrow morning…”. Very amusing. ‘Where Are You Going This Time?’ was about a crazy, beautiful couple and showcased the rarely-seen, serious side of Majk. Very nice riff.

Beth Myers: a squashee (one song performer) who played the song that she played at her only other OOTB performance last year which was also a squashee. A brilliant voice, deeply emotional and full of character – strong alto ascending to soprano. The lyrics told a dark, twisted tale over jazzy chords. A wild, spooky song. Playing 4th November at Henry’s Cellar Bar.

Feature act: Jim Bryce. Not your typical singer-songwriter, whatever that is. ‘Living Through Your Metaphors’ was a wild, semi-orchestral piece reminiscent of The Who’s rock opera experiments – a full sound on keyboards. ‘Five Year Old’ was country-pop written from the perspective of a five year old looking at his daddy. Very sweet. ‘Dawn Promises (I Can’t Give You My Love Dear, But I’ll Make You A Cup Of Tea)’ created a downbeat, smoky, late night piano bar atmosphere and was magnificent. ‘If I Had My Time To Live Again’ had hints of mid ‘70s Tom Waits. Beautifully played, very emotional, melancholy piece. ‘Celebration’ was the highlight of the evening. Only the third time Jim had played this live in 36 years. Intense, poetic melancholy drawn from a turbulent time in Jim’s life. Dramatic performance reminiscent of Jacques Brel. An epic – several minutes long, but I could have listened to it all evening. ‘A Kind Of Hesitation’ was a sweet instrumental. ‘Hyena Hum’ showed Jim’s lighter side, with an audience participation number aiming fire at British colonisation of way too much of the world in the distant past. Fun, perceptive, witty, astonishingly good lyrics. ‘Breathe’ – back to the guitar for the finale. Melancholy, jazzy, warm, fuzzy.

Review: James Igoe

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