Continuing the concert season at the Newport Hotel saw Fife Bluesman Al Hughes perform in the intimate setting of “The Newport” with support from Dave Burnett.
The highly respected local singer / guitarist / ukulele player Dave Burnett, provided a choosy collection of songs. The set included some of his old favourites and early influences sketched a silhouette of his liking of a wide range of music. The brief introductions hinted at his wealth of experience from years of performance and touring alongside The Crickets, friendship with Sonny Curtis admiration of Brian Wilson. These snippets of information left many in the audience wanting to hear more but happy that he struck a fine balance by squeezing more songs in to the all too short set. His selection of material, playing and voice demonstrated an assured performance that confirms the support for these concerts is selected with as much care as the headliner.
Top of the bill was Al Hughes rooted in the blues and soul tradition bringing a selection of guitars including an unusual 12 string resonator, John Fahey’s Steamboat Gwine Round the Bend played on 6 string resonator was an expressive plaintive piece recapturing the feel of Fahey’s own sparse sound. AL writes from his own perspective his own ragtime piece with the name check of ragtime player Eddie Walker nods to where other influences came from along with managing to combine both Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Shand in a single line of one of his own compositions clearly maps influences that combine to make him the performer that he is. His guitar playing impressed the audience working up to the huge sounding custom built 12 string resonator. All of this topped off by a voice that is smoky, soulful ideally suited to blues. A varied set delivered by the accomplished Al Hughes demonstrated why he is so popular around the club and festival circuit.
The additional delight of course was catching both acts in such an intimate venue where there is the opportunity to hear performers with virtually no amplification. These concerts in the Newport are as close as most can get a private house concert with the added advantage of a well stocked bar next door!