A small intimate venue holding approx. 80 people was the setting for two Scottish songwriters: Scott MacDonald and Davy Cowan. Stripped back from their normal settings with only a guitar to support them (with the occasional stomp box and harmonica) both musicians split the evening with two 30-40 min sets to keep the evening fresh.
Kicking the evening off was Davy Cowan who traveled down from the Highlands and fresh from his day of busking in Glasgow. Many will know Davy from his other work with the Storm Chasers and Coinneach, however he was wearing his solo hat tonight to promote his new album Working Man’s Dream. Normally seen towering over the audience, Davy chose to keep it intimate by sitting down, however that did not stop his performance any. Kicking off with the first track of the album Working Man – that harked back to the old protest songs of the 60’s and 70’s – Davy showcased his unique voice that can only be described as a strange mix of Highland grit and Americana twang. A few of his songs showcased his influences from other musicians such as Town That I Love with hints of Passenger from Iggy Pop and Tender Sleep giving a comfortable backdrop of Chris Rea’s Road to Hell, however the lyrical content woven into these stories allows you to sit back and enjoy the moments captured. Davy’s overall song-writing style is very straightforward and does not clutter it up unnecessary flashy lyrics to show to show off his songs. What you get here is an honest man singing honest songs and the crowd reacting to it…honestly. Moving effortlessly from soft songs such as In-Dependence (about alcoholism), It’s Summertime and rockier Will You Ever Learn, Davy keeps his audience tuned in with short tales before moving on. From a performing point of view a few personal favorite songs of mine, a cover of Tom Paxton’s Ramblin’ Boy (which technically Davy is) and Answerphone Song.
Davy Cowan’s album Working Man’s Dream is available to purchase on Amazon and other outlets. http://www.davycowan.com
The main event of the evening was Scott MacDonald who set up the evening to promote his album Angels Around Us. Another traveling songwriter who has played numerous venues up and down Scotland kicked off with his song Bucket in the Rain, an infectious song that not have been out of placed in a Buddy Holly album if he was Scottish. Similar to Davy Cowan, Scott’s song-writing is used simply to tell the stories he has amassed over the years, however musically Scott’s songs have more indie-pop/rock arrangement to his strumming while his picking have tinges of Dougie McLean and John Martyn woven in to its style. A song that stood out of his first set for me was called Turn it Up, from his Soul City album. Within the song you could feel rhythms of Dire Straights and similar lyrical storytelling from Men at Work’s Down Under. However this was not a copy of those songs or bands, but using great qualities from them and creating something new, which every songwriter tries to do. Another song that that stood out and that got the crowd involved was Written in Stone, bring an euphoric drone and Gaelic chant with great qualities that Donavan would be proud of. Scott is another songwriter that mixes touches of Americana with Scottish storytelling well and stands out above the other singer/songwriters that are tryng to make their mark.
For More information on Scott MacDonald and his Albums you can catch him here: