A warm summer night is always conducive to the consumption of cold beer and live music. Bluesbunny therefore took the opportunity to sample a new acoustic music evening held at Linen 1906 in the civilised south side of Glasgow. Another brainchild of promoter - and self confessed hippie - Crawford Smith, this Wednesday night regular event is classed as an open mic night with a featured artist or two to keep things interesting. Tonight's featured artists are Noel Graham and ex Scuffer Clair Tierney.
Always energetic, Crawford Smith warms up the crowd with some covers and some originals. He is not a shy boy and does his best to make everyone feel welcome. Bluesbunny has heard Crawford play several times before and there is no doubting his performing ability. He can interpret other people's material and make it his own - witness his fine version of "With a Little Help from my Friends". He credits the excellent "Back to the Start" to the one of the bar staff at Linen who is apparently too shy to perform. Rounding off with a frenetic, guitar slapping version of "Peace Song", he is clearly more than just a host.
The bar is getting busier as the first featured artist, Noel Graham, takes to the stage. A modest chap in a yellow t shirt, he sings rather than performs. Reminding us of like a singing postman for some reason, he adds a bit of fun to the proceedings in a Housemartins kind of way. His songs burst into life and stop just as quickly. As his confidence grows, he gets a bit of fire in his belly and captures the attention of the crowd. His vocal limitations are sometimes obvious but he can certainly play the guitar. Best track was the bluesy "Happy".
The second featured artist is Clair Tierney. It would appear that this ex Scuffer (the Scuffers being one of the Bluesbunny's favourite bands) has brought the family along. Big Bill Tierney drags his double bass on to the small stage. John Tierney plugs in the trusty electric guitar. This is the first time that we have heard Ms Tierney perform live. As she approaches the microphone, a red glow falls upon her. Perhaps a portent, we prepare ourselves for something a bit special. There is indeed a certain magic in her almost laconic vocals. She starts with a song called "Mister D'Arcy" about all those handsome studs out there. Her curiously American sounding voice soars over the hustle and bustle of the busy bar. The punters know quality when they hear it and they show it in the applause at the end of each song. Barely pausing to plug her Myspace page, she takes us on into "Stop All the Clocks". Finishing on a song about another subject close to her heart "Mary Queen of Scots", her singing again impresses. She even gets called back for an encore - a very respectable cover of Gillian Welch's "Elvis Presley Blues". Whilst she looked serious and deep in concentration throughout, there was a definite sparkle to the performance. The crowd certainly appreciated her. Nice idea to bring the family along as well.
Time for some open mic stuff now as the evening draws to a close. A bit of audience participation gets us some wild versions of "Stir It Up" and "All Along the Watchtower. Even Noel Graham returns for a cover of Deacon Blue's "Dignity". A good time was had by all and that bodes well for the future of the Southside Sessions.