Gig review: Hamish Napier & Adam Sutherland, Glasgow

Hamish Napier: Live set was marvellously organic. Picture: www.nataliechampajennings.com
Hamish Napier: Live set was marvellously organic. Picture: www.nataliechampajennings.com
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If a certain Danish lager company did album launches, maybe they’d all be like this, the official nativity of Nae Plans, a new duo project featuring pianist/singer Hamish Napier and fiddler Adam Sutherland.

Hamish Napier & Adam Sutherland - The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow

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As suggested by the title, and explained in a suitably quirky introductory film, “The plan was simple. There was no plan.”

With a self-imposed interdict on any prior selection or discussion of material, the two musicians simply sat together in a roomful of studio equipment and played whatever came to mind, swapping and sharing lead and accompanist’s roles, drawing both on their vast dual repertoire of tunes and their kindred appetite for improvisation. The result, showcased firstly in two full-length album takes captured in the movie – Napier’s gorgeously relaxed yet deeply soulful version of John Martyn’s May You Never and a delectable pair of Phil Cunningham airs – then the live set which followed, was music both marvellously organic and intensely alive, terrifically accomplished and thrillingly unpredictable. It’s a bold, brave experiment and an explicitly traditional venture, essentially modelled on the archetypal seat-of-the-pants pub session.

Completing the evening’s entertainment was a quick Q&A about the album and the folk-club staple of a raffle – with prizes including Buckfast, Tunnock’s teacakes and a tin of Baxter’s Scotch broth. A top night altogether – and a cracker of an album.