Multi instrumentalist Tim Edey is a self-taught master of guitar and button accordion, one of the country’s most sought-after session musicians and one of the most popular entertainers in world-wide folk music. Having just returned to Scotland after a hugely successful tour of Ireland with Liam Ó Maonlaí and Kevin Burke, Tim was back on the Scottish stage at Celtic Connections to open the evening’s music at The Glasgow Art Club ahead of fiddle player Lauren MacColl.
Tim’s guitar playing is, of course, immediately mellowing; and his gentle opening of a slowed down Strathspey was as smooth a start as anyone could imagine. After a couple of hornpipes to warm up a little more, Tim launched into The Autograph Clog; full of his love of swing guitar (and his astounding, deft capo slides). With his incredibly intricate technique, I always tend to think of Tim as a guitar player. Anyone familiar with his music, though, also knows his ability as a box player and he was more than happy to delight fans of that particular aspect of his repertoire. Tim, his fingers a blur, makes his accordion sound like two as he storms through The Blasket Island Jigs, from Ireland’s West coast (via Séamus Begley). He’s also perfectly capable of combining strings and reeds, though. After some tales of recording at Tpot studios in the Ochil hills, near where Tim lived until recently; with the aid of some dexterous live looping Tim played his Rumba Negra. After a guitar opening as smooth and sweet as Brazilian coffee, his guitar was duly looped and his accordion added a delightful Gallic flavour.
It’s always a joy to be in a room when Tim’s performing. There’s never any shortage of stories from his constant touring and myriad collaborations, and his relationship with his audience is like a warm friendship. He’s been known to, occasionally, strengthen that bond with a sing-along. Although Tim’s no stranger to song, he plans to make more use of that particular instrument with an album of songs later this year. For now, the Glasgow audience were treated to his relaxed and expressive vocal in Buddy MacDonald’s Down Where The River Flows. Enda McCabe’s love song Winds and Tides Permitting gave the audience another chance to join in, before this segued directly into a rousing march with overtones of Segovia. Tim’s dexterity on the fret board once again shone through, as he moved directly into the famous Music For A Found Harmonium. He likes to take plenty of liberties with the melody, which he learned from Jeffrey Richardson, but with his capo slides, de-tuning, and blistering pace it’s still a unique, fiery performance.
J.S. Bach’s Badinerie, best known as a piece for the flute, took Tim back to his accordion again before he was joined by Glasgow guitarist Alistair Cassidy to close the show. A rousing, stomping set finishing with The Foxhunter’s Reel brought the audience to their feet in appreciation – and no wonder, it’s one of the finest nights of music you could hope to enjoy anywhere.
It’s hard to tell what the main attraction is when you go to see Tim Edey perform. His guitar virtuosity is the stuff of legend, and his boisterousness on the box is beyond compare. What brings people back to see Tim perform time and again though (and one lady I spoke to had travelled from Lancashire for this one gig); is his warm, affable character. Whether the show is in a grand concert venue, a local hall or in the back room of a pub, Tim Edey’s live sets bring the most exquisite music and an evening of sheer delight to every member of the audience.
Review by: Neil McFadyen