James Yorkston, Withered Hand, Kris Drever

at Summerhall

* * * * -

Three of Scotland’s finest musicians perform a fantastic collaborative set.

Image of James Yorkston, Withered Hand, Kris Drever

The Songwriters’ Circle tour features three of Scotland’s best-loved folk musicians. James Yorkston, Withered Hand and Kris Drever are taking to the stage together to perform songs and stories and tonight they are at Summerhall in Edinburgh.

The format of the show is simple: the three musicians onstage take turns in performing each other’s songs. Each musician has their own take on folk music and each has their own distinctive voice and style. Hearing the three performers collaborate on each other’s music is an exciting and engaging experience. For example, the Withered Hand song No Cigarettes sounds more powerful with Kris Drever and James Yorkston adding their own backing vocals and guitars and the song loses none of its fragility and compassion. The same could be said for the James Yorkston song Queen of Spain. The slow waltz of the track sounds fuller, bolder and magnificent, but again loses none of its loving charm. Kris Drever’s When the Shouting is Over is another highlight and underlines that the audience is witnessing something special this evening.

There is no support act tonight; instead, the trio perform two sets. The first half is an enjoyable experience and after a brief, twenty-minute break, the musicians are back on stage at the Dissection Room. The second set begins with a very different tone to the first. Yorkston starts off with a spoken word piece called Woozy With Cider. This song is by no means a conventional folk number and shows that the trio are definitely up for experimenting and trying new things. The majority of the songs are introduced with an anecdote or story around the track, creating a jovial, informal feel and all three performers connect to the audience with their personalities along with their music. All this talking does mean that the group find themselves playing far beyond the curfew and manage to cram as much music and banter into the set as they can.

The idea of taking three fantastic songwriters on tour together and having them collaborate is a brilliant one. James Yorkston, Withered Hand and Kris Drever compliment each other’s songs and present an enjoyable evening of music and stories.