Owens and Nicholson shine at Muckle Roe

In the homely setting of Muckle Roe Hall, music lovers were treated to an intimate evening of warming vocals and acoustic accompaniments.

Leith singer-songwriter Dean Owens launched his new record Into the Sea, telling tales of war, the circus, and Valentines Day in New York. Cut in Nashville, those under the bunting and fairy lights were among the first to get their hands on a copy.

Local singer-songwriter Arthur Nicholson opened the evening with songs from his debut album Sticks and Stones, before accompanying Owens on stage, with superb harmonies, solid guitar accompaniment and some nifty guitar solos and slide work.

Fine finger-picking and full-bodied guitar were delivered in fine style from Nicholson in his opening set.

His voice sweet and true, and with bluesy undertones in Call it As You See.

All The Right Mistakes, the newest addition to his setlist, had the audience nodding in approval with its rousing rhythm and catchy guitar hook.

Former Felsons frontman Owens is no stranger to the isles having played a number of gigs through the years, both with the band and his solo career. Tonight he plays Mareel with The Whisky Hearts Band.

Last night’s gig was a laid back affair, with soup, bannocks, tea and fancies on offer at the interval.

Despite a fish supper on the way through Brae, there was just enough room for a cheese and pickle sandwich and a few fancies.

Owen’s new material is clever and engaging, nodding to his family tree, intriguing characters, and his connections with Leith.

Dora, a moving tale written about Owens’ grandmother and his family’s past opens with the line “Born in 1914 in a gypsy caravan there beside the river her life began” setting the scene for Owens to paint the pictures.

The beautiful Up On The Hill was spine tingling, with Owens’ and Nicholson’s voices combining perfectly for the soaring chorus.

Armed with a harmonica and friendly patter with the audience, he had the crowd whooping, whistling, and singing along.

Maybe it’s time to dust off the old moothie.

More in next week’s Shetland Times.




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