At Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, Kris Drever played a set in support of Thea Gilmore’s Don’t Stop Singing to launch a new EP. On stage, Kris was joined by multi instrumentalist Megan Henderson of Braebach (vocals, fiddle, harmonium) and Dublin man Éamonn Coyne (banjo, guitar, tenor guitar), who now lives in Edinburgh. Éamonn Coyne has played previously with Kris Drever on their much acclaimed Honk Toot Suite. Among many achievements, Éamonn has also produced sterling work with Salsa Celtica.
The Old Fruitmarket is a popular venue with musicians and fans alike, Kris Drever describing it as ‘a bonny room’ as he took to the stage. The set opened with the EP’s second track Mazurka / Highland /Guns, which features an Irish/Polish Polka variant, and Fintan McManus’s The Guns Of The Magnificent Seven. This introduction served as an impressive start for Éamonn’s banjo and Megan’s fiddle.
For the EP’s opening track, Parcel O’ Rogues, Megan switched to harmonium. Interesting timing from Kris, releasing this track, given the current cross-border constitutional debates. The song derides the Scottish Parliament of 1707 for selling out to the English in the Treaty Of Union – “We’re bought and sold for English gold / Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!”
While extolling the virtues of classic Sandy Wright songs such as Posh Gwendoline’s A Bam – Kris has opted to include his more sedate Wild Hurricane on the EP. This new arrangement by Kris and Éamonn (the song featured on Mark The hard Earth) makes fine use of Éamonn’s tenor guitar and Megan’s harmonies. Tagged on the end of the song, both live and on the EP, is Lament For Glencoe (which featured on Honk Toot Suite), complimenting Wild Hurricane perfectly.
Included in the live set, but not on the EP, is Duncan Drever’s evocative song of exile Crown Of London, described by brother Kris as ‘a historical novel in four and a half minutes’.
The evening closed with a set of fiery reels, The 20 quid set, arranged by Kris, Éamonn and Megan. A relatively short appearance, but, none the less, enthusiastically enjoyed by the capacity crowd.
The EP closes with a long overdue studio visit to a Kris Drever favourite – Shady Grove, with fiddle and banjo adding pace and dynamism.
Its great to see Kris Drever and Éamonn Coyne working together again. Honk Toot Suite was a lovely piece of work and left many fans hoping from more from the duo. The addition of Megan Henderson into the mix is a major bonus.
Kris Drever and Éamonn Coyne will be touring together throughout February and March.
19/02/2012 The Portland Arms, Cambridge
20/02/2012 Topsham Folk Club
21/02/2012 Winchester Folk Club
22/02/2012 The Slaughtered Lamb, London
24/02/2012 The Rock at Maltby, Rotherham
25/02/2012 Paisley Arts Centre
07/03/2012 National Centre for Early Music, York
08/03/2012 Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds
09/03/2012 Ruskin Mill, Stroud
10/03/2012 Bristol Folk House
15/03/2012 Tyneside Irish Centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne
16/03/2012 Assembly Rooms, Derby
18/03/2012 Crofthead Hall, Glasgow
Kris Drever Trio
16/06/2012 The Big Session Festival, Derbyshire
Track: Parcel o’ Rogues (EP released 26th January 2012)
photo credit Michael Farrant