Live Review: Hoth Brothers Band, Fallen Angels Club @The Glad Café, Glasgow – 22nd June 2023

Just days before the Hoth Brothers Band arrived in the UK for their first ever tour over here, it was announced that Boris McCutcheon, one half of the original duo, would be unable to join them due to visa issues. This led to the other half of the original duo, Bard Edrington V, to be the only Hoth Brother on stage, flanked by what I presume we might informally call the Hoth Sisters,Sarah Ferrell on double bass and Karina Wilson on fiddle for the tour. A mathematical conundrum – one half of the original band joined by one third of the later trio plus one new addition – whatever, it all added up to 100% entertainment on the night.

With McCutcheon absent, Edrington (who cuts an impressive figure, dapper and astonishingly tall) carried the weight for much of the night in a set which relied on his writing contributions to the two Hoth Brothers Band albums along with several from his solo works. The trio were on fabulous form with Ferrell a punchy and percussive double bass player and Wilson quite a revelation with her fiery fiddle work. In addition, the harmonies throughout the night were spot on and when Ferrell took to singing lead she proved to be a powerful and quite soulful vocalist.

They opened with a song written by Edrington and his grandmother, ‘A New Day On The Farm’ which sloped along quite wonderfully with a Hank Williams’ like hillbilly touch to it. Edrington’s introduction to the song, as for most of the songs they played tonight, gave us some of the background to the number. The man is a natural raconteur as he delivered aspects of the history, the landscape, the heroes and villains contained within the songs. Whether talking about the fabled (and bloody) frontiersman Kit Carson or recalling a chance encounter with a jack hammer wielding “and attractive” woman after taking a wrong turn on a New Mexico highway, he breathed life into the songs even before the band played them.

With Edrington alternating between guitar and banjo, there was old time folk and dashes of bluegrass and Appalachia all on show. ‘Volendam’, a song inspired by the Netherlands had a touch of John Hartford to it while ‘Rendezvous Duel’ (the song about Kit Carson) opened wide the grand vistas of the American frontier in a manner reminiscent of Peter Rowan. Meanwhile, Guy Clark would surely have been happy to write a song as good as ‘Taos Lightning’, dedicated to a deadly powerful local brand of moonshine liquor. Edrington returned to his grandmother’s words on ‘Dog Tags 1942‘, a deeply personal song which just took wings tonight as his banjo and Wilson’s fiddle meshed quite supremely. ‘Bard And The Bears’ meanwhile was perhaps the highlight of the night, another personal song which was played with a supreme sense of tenderness with Wilson’s fiddle almost weeping.

While Sarah Ferrell was impressive throughout, sparring vocally with Edrington and adding, along with Wilson, some great harmony singing, her lead vocal on ‘Down River’, a murder ballad delivered with a fine bluesy wallop allowed her an opportunity to shine. Her bass playing was also mighty impressive especially on the murky ‘All I Can Do’ which found the trio squatting in a bluesy and muddy ditch with Wilson’s fiddle flailing away. Closing the set after almost two hours, a cover of Gillian Welch’s ‘Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss’ allowed all three to harmonise in, well, perfect harmony. While we might have been missing Mr. McCutcheon’s contributions, the trio more than delivered tonight and hopefully they’ll be back soon with the full line up which will be hard pressed to beat tonight’s entertainment.

About Paul Kerr 446 Articles
Still searching for the Holy Grail, a 10/10 album, so keep sending them in.
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