A review of Dave Sharp and Davy Cowan at The Green House, Dingwall on the 9th of April, 2012, by Jim Kennedy. Photos by Mark Dubanowski.
Tonight, we had Dave Sharp, once a member of The Alarm (when he had frighteningly big hair) supported by local lad Davy Cowan. Unfortunately the Tea Posy faithful were at home eating their Easter eggs and only a handful of regulars turned out for what was a great night of music.
Former front man of Celtic rockers Coinneach, Davy Cowan brought his solo show to Dingwall. As well as playing all over on his own and with the lovely Rachael Parker on her fiddle, Davy keeps himself busy fronting The Stormchasers and reliving his youth with Davy and The Hosebeast, an acoustic punk duo if you will.
Davy played some songs from his 2011 solo album “The Journey” as well as well as dipping into his extensive back catalogue. He even managed a couple of brand new ones – one so new it doesn’t even have a name! Davy showed his talent for writing some great songs over the years – ‘Wood From The Trees’ was a highlight, just lovely, as well as ‘Show Me The Way’ from Coinneach’s Fragile People CD.
Then the floor opened for Dave Sharp, thankfully minus the big hair! Since leaving the Alarm Dave has kept himself busy. He travelled and gigged throughout America before settling for a time in New Orleans bringing just his guitar and a lifetime of stories. In New Orleans, the cross fertilisation of Irish and American roots music gave him the time to grow new songs based on his travelling experiences which became almost an antidote to being part of the British pop furniture. But, it was more than new songs. Dave grew into his own genre of travelling songs, with an accomplished guitar style that positively reeks of the smoky bars and clubs of New Orleans.
Some might have seen a small audience and gave only a little, if anything, of themselves. This guy just doesn’t know how to give less than 100%. The audience was treated to a set of over 90 minutes of fantastic guitar playing and a gravel voice that would scare the uninitiated. Highlight followed highlight, with guitar work moving freely and fluidly from rhythm to lead and back with not a beat missed. Songs such as ‘The Ghost Of Preacher Casey’ from his Downtown America CD as well as a cover of the Linda Ronstadt number ‘Willing’ had the hair on this reviewers neck standing on end.
Dave’s music and words are more than just songs. Give him a minute and he’ll be telling you that places like the Greenhouse are a “home for the disenfranchised” and for those “disillusioned with the mainstream” and you start to get the idea that this is a true traveller who has come a million miles from his pop hayday of the 80s. But Dave is too joyous to be bitter and too long in the tooth to be anything but himself. He’s a star!
For the finale, the two Daves had a blast reigniting their old friendship that last had an airing at the launch of Cowan’s Ironworks album launch in April 2011. Their set closed with Woody Guthrie’s rousing “This Land Is Your Land” and off into the night we went.
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