It’s fair to say there must be an affinity between island folk and country and western music, if the good turnout on a fine Thursday night at the Garrison was anything to go by.
It was testimony to Faroese country star Hallur Joensen’s popularity locally.
He has returned to Shetland with guitarist Beddi Hansen to play three gigs. As compere Jim Pearson explained Joensen had forfeited the chance to play in Nashville to a crowd of 30,000 to appear at the Garrison in the big “L” instead.
He was first here at the Thomas Fraser festival in 2012 and was so impressed that he wanted to return. “You people are so friendly, you don’t know it,” he said later. “O no wir not!” piped up Jackie Robertson, next to him on the stage, jokingly.
The presence of local musicians, including Robertson, in the form of a “good going band” made the night as they competently serenaded through a well chosen repertoire of country classics from Alan Jackson’s <i>Livin’ on Love</i> to that old chestnut <i>I’m Nobody’s Child</i> – representing the whole country “thing”, from a touch of the morose to the sentimental.
The Shetland Country Music Club had come up trumps with this formula for a band which included; Brian and Arthur Nicolson – on the guitars which seem to be joined to their hips – Maggie Adamson’s effortless swing fiddle and that old white stork of a steel guitar player Robertson to swish the sleek notes.
Jackie’s probably been in more Shetland Country Club bands than he’s seen lassos, but his experience shines through.
Joensen has a voice with a sincere country twang that resonated with the appreciative crowd. He told us that if this was in Faroe, they would start playing at midnight, people would show up at one and it would run till 4.30am. Phew! The further north you go!
There was a demand for more and we got a heartfelt encore. If Thursday’s performance and audience was anything to go by Joensen and Hansen’s visit, with its touch of local class, should turn out to be one the most successful acts the Shetland Country Music Club has brought to the isles in recent times.
The band will be playing in Hamnavoe Public Hall on Friday and the Lerwick Legion on Saturday.