Review of Ivan Drever, with support from Steve Eaglesham and Gil Anderson at The Tea Posy/The Greenhouse, Dingwall, Wednesday March 14th 2012, by Mark Dubanowski. Photos by Mark Dubanowski.
The candles were lit, the curtains were drawn, and the sweet aroma of coffee filled the air, providing the warm ambience that accompanied the majestic singer-songwriters that graced our presence at The Tea Posy/The Greenhouse. I’ve probably said it before, but I do love the vibe of this place, be it during the day when the shop is open, or in the evening when the musicians come out to play.
After seeing his last performance in Dingwall (see Steve is in the right place at the RIGHT time!), I was pleased to see a more relaxed and more confident looking Steve Eaglesham taking to the stage to open the night. The likes of ‘Working Man’ and ‘Baltimore Babe’ made an appearance in the folk singer-songwriter’s set. Indeed, a fair amount of Steve’s short 20 minute set were songs that I was quite familiar with from last time, yet were delivered with more conviction. Closing the set on my personal favourite song, ‘Precious Time’, Steve gave us a great taster of what to expect this evening.
Next, Gil Anderson treated us to a couple of numbers. First, with ‘Lonely Heaven’, a song that was written by fellow songwriter, Dougie Burns, followed by a song I didn’t quite catch the name of, written about a young girl called Rita, whom, with his fantastic dry sense of humour he made a point of noting, he had no physical relations with, emphasising he was not a dirty old man, (“I didn’t quite get there”, he quipped). During both songs, Gil demonstrated a fantastic ability in finger-picking on guitar (on a 12-string at that!). Also noted was Gil’s incredible singing voice; both gentle and soothing, often allowing you to drift off into a state of relaxation, as he entertained the rest of the crowd.
I settled down to a nice hot cup of The Tea Posy’s finest coffee, just as Ivan Drever was welcomed with a short round of applause. Commenting on the cosy atmosphere provided by The Tea Posy, Ivan went straight into his set opener, ‘Ballad of James and Isaac’. ‘The Rose of St. Magnus’ was a, purely, guitar-oriented number. The whole room had gone still, absorbing the rich tones that filled the entire shop.
Ivan was, clearly, pleased to be in Dingwall tonight, admitting it was only because he had it in his head that the gig was actually on Friday night, before noting the posts on Facebook earlier in the day. His humour was comparable with Gil’s, reaching out to the guitarists in the room, as he claimed to be using a Middle-Eastern tuning tonight (BAGDAD, apparently, although I certainly heard no low B!) All joking aside, tonight was a fantastic showcase of Ivan Drever’s musicianship. His voice would reach into you, sending shivers down your spine, and his finger-picking was a sight to behold; absolutely flawless! And, after finishing his first set on a couple more instrumentals, it didn’t end there!
Filling the second set with the, now familiar, blend of guitar instrumentals, dry witty humour, fantastic vocal melodies and more humour, Ivan Drever is quite possible one of the greatest singer-songwriters to grace the stage. From the likes of ‘Remember’ to ‘Crazy Some Days’, Ivan’s music had it all; the previously-noted rich dulcet guitar, meaningful lyrics, as well as a hell of a lot of character! And, after “the only pop song of the night”, which Ivan claims is Orkney’s entry into this year’s Eurovision, he closes the night on the title track from his latest album, ‘Bless The Wind’ (as well as encoring with a fantastic rendition of the classic ‘Last Thing On My Mind’), leaving me feeling the bar of musicianship, seen at The Tea Posy so far, has now been set at a higher level than anticipated!