Here is a voice that has kept me company for these last 12 or 14 years. Part of the exhilarating soarings of Idlewild at their best, providing the shimmering soundtrack to the youth I wished I could have had, re-written or re-lived, and the band that brought the Lad and I closer together as went to our first gigs together. More recently it has pulled me into the lure of Scottish folk and artists like Kris Drever, John McCusker and their ilk.
Whatever the context Roddy Woomble has a non pareil voice whether its screamed with lungfuls of air, or delivered with the softness and attention of his solo material. A voice I could listen to for many a long hour.
On this, the second sortie in support of his latest material, The Impossible Song and Other Songs, he was again accompanied by the same band that he had with him at the Colston Hall show last October, less the drummer this time. Gavin Fox on bass (past bass player in Idlewild and now Concerto for Constantine), Sorren Maclean on guitar (and if his Twitter account is to be believed, a full on foodie) and the hugely talented Seonaid Aitken on fiddle keys and vocals.
Looking more at ease than he sometimes did fronting Idlewild, the two part set covered material from both solo outings and songs from the McCusker, Drever, Woomble collaboration – songs like Waverley Steps (vid from October is here), Silver and Gold, My Secret is My Silence are all gems. Covers like Niel Gow, and the wonderful Travelling Man from sadly missed Bert Jansch are now regulars as is the Idlewild track You Held The World In Your Arms. (vid from October is here) This time we also got the track recorded on Ballad of the Books using the words of Edwin Morgan, past Scottish poet laureate as well.
Necessarily Roddy Woomble gigs are a little more sedate these days, especially in the Pump Room in genteel Cheltenham Town Hall, and of course I sorely miss the crush and energy of Idlewild days, but the voice is still there, woven through these delicate songs, the voice with its brogue and effortlessness, you can’t take that away. Make Something Out of What Its Worth as the man says.
The shocking pic is in large part due to the Pillar Room having big,well, pillars, and the lighting being a bit brutal, oh and me not being in the right place…