Eddi Reader Band , with support from Adam Holmes, at Eden Court, Inverness.
There was an almost complete full house in the Empire Theatre for the concert by Eddin Reader and her band. Support was provided by the very able singer songwriter Adam Holmes. Mr Holmes delivered a very laid back set using only voice and acoustic and electric guitars. He was accompanied by Calum McIntyre on percussion and voice. Mr Holmes writes on a very personal level commenting on the likes of lost loves and writing songs for friends. His electric guitar playing and general laid back demeanour are very like J J Cale. The harmonies between the two singers worked really well against the sparseness of the songs. A really good start to the event.
At the start of her set Eddi Reader informed the audience that a new recording was available marking her 30 years in the music business – although she noted that she had been singing virtually from birth. This natural performing is in her blood as she illustrated with the way she danced along to the songs and also by the stories she told from her family history. All her family seemed to be performers of one kind or another. This musical interest went beyond performing. Eddi stated that her great grandfather had amassed a collection of music history which appears to be of significant academic importance. Poignantly a lot of this material appears to have come from clearing the houses of deceased relatives (never an easy task). However in this case we seem to be the beneficiaries with the culture, wit and history of a Glasgow community being passed on in an extremely interesting and informative way. This was a totally different angle on Glasgow from that portrayed by the late Ivor Cutler.
The band consisted of two guitarists (three including Eddi herself), acoustic bass and accordionist and keyboards with Eddi doing the vocals with most of the other artistes chipping in with backing vocals. As well as reprising her career Eddi and the band tried out some new songs. As with Mr Holmes these songs very much reflected life matters including some on the joys/sadness of parenting and growing old. Eddi said that there was no set list for the evening and this and the acoustic nature of the band brought to mind the interesting improvised acoustic sets that the Grateful Dead used to play in their heyday.
Eddi and the band also explored the history and interlinkages of music with a contribution from the collection of her great grandfather and also her rendition of the Loch Tay Boat Song as interpreted by a New York jazz singer. A wide range of musical styles were present in the performance – jazz, folk and Cajun to name but a few.
A fine evening of consummate storytelling both oral and vocal was brought to an end with Eddi singing Moon River as a tribute to her mum – the audience joining in with the final lines along with the band.
Throughout the performance the lighting and sound were excellent. The stage was minimally backlit with red light and to the front with white.
Finally thanks are due to Eden Court for hosting and assistance and to the musicians for a wonderful evening.