Texas Troubadours: Chuck Hawthorne, Libby Koch & Rachel Laven, MacSorleys, Glasgow, 1st August 2017

These three Texan singer/songwriters played their third show of a lengthy UK and Ireland trip throughout August in a handsome Victorian bar in Glasgow. It was a freewheeling night with all three on stage for a song each before each went on to do a solo set with the night culminating in all three performing together. The set up allowed each individual’s skills to shine while the interaction throughout the night was a joy to behold.

Rachel Laven was the first to perform solo and her winsome songs, several of them dedicated to or about her fiancé back home were quite appealing including Only Thing Familiar inspired by his response to her having to put on makeup and a tight skirt for a waitressing job. There were some grittier moments as on Wildfires, a dramatic account of forest fires while Love & Luchesses, a song inspired by her grandmother, swept along grandly in a fine Texas narrative style.

Libby Koch was earthier with more of a red dirt sound to her especially on Back To Houston. Her autobiographical Gospel Song was an uplifting mixture of skiffle and Gospel with some inspired whistling while a new song, Medicine Man, was imbued with a spooky voodoo feel. However she kept her best song to last as she roared into the feisty You Don’t Live Here Anymore, a great piss off song to an ex lover.

Finally, ex Marine Chuck Hawthorne came up and immediately had the audience in his hands with The Gospel Hammer, his tough song about his hard working and hard drinking father. Koch came back on stage to sing harmonies on Tom Russell’s Navajo Rug, Johnny Cash’s Big River (a birthday request from an audience member) and the wonderful Welding Son Of A Gun, one of the highlights of Hawthorne’s Silverline album which transfixed the listeners. All too soon, it was the end of the show and all three sang John Prine’s Paradise swapping verses. An encore was demanded with Hawthorne having to admit they hadn’t had time to sort out any more ensemble pieces so they returned to Prine for an uplifting rendition of Angel Of Montgomery which had some of the audience singing along.

A great night and although Ms. Laven was heading back home after the trio played the Belladrum Festival Koch and Hawthorne will be playing dates until the end of August including several in Ireland and a London show at The Green Note on August 23rd.

Author: Paul Kerr

Still searching for the Holy Grail, a 10/10 album, so keep sending them in.

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