We’ve got the Americans confused – no, not with the Yes/No Referendum (well they might be) – but with the Scottish weather.
The Stray Birds declared they weren’t fooled by how nice it was in warm and sunny Glasgow on the day of this polished show at the CCA and a short time ago, when the mighty Steve Earle appeared at the Kelvingrove Bandstand in the city, he reckoned the weather here was weird and advised us to get into the air-con business.
To continue in the weather vein – or should that be weathervane? – this hugely talented trio from Pennsylvania went down a storm on their second visit Glasgow, thanks to The Fallen Angels Club.
Rightly lauded for the sheer quality of their musicianship and close harmonies, they dig into roots music but are able to add seamlessly a contemporary flavour with songs that reflect their friendship.
Maya de Vitry on vocals, guitar, fiddle and banjo, Oliver Craven on vocals, guitar and fiddle and Charles Muench on vocal, bass and banjo are a subtle and stunning joy to behold.
Huddled round a single microphone with Maya and Oliver flitting between instruments, they are mesmerising in full Celtic flight.
“Work My Honey” early in the 80-minute set exemplified their elegant approach and the interplay on the languid and thoughtful “Work My Hands” was just gorgeous. “Dream In Blue” and “Colorado” – a Will Kimbrough cover – were heartfelt while “Wish It Would Rain” had a flow and gentleness that made us yearn for it to last longer.
“Harlem,” timeously dedicated to 9/11, was a personal highlight: Maya’s vocals slurred and intoxicating, The Stray Birds at their mellow, captivating best.
Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel” got a great run-out and was hotly pursued by a vibrant and spot-on version of “Loretta,” a Townes Van Zandt classic that featured on their excellent Echo Sessions covers EP.
Surprisingly, “Bad Medicine” – the title track of the new album out next month – was the only taster offered. It’s a grand tune: tight harmonies and flawless playing. We’ll have to be patient until next month to hear the rest, seemingly. I reckon it will be worth the wait.
Nothing The Stray Birds have produced to date has been a let down and neither was this quality gig, quite the opposite.
Join Mike Ritchie on Sunday, Celtic Music Radio 95FM from 2.00-4.00pm and online.