Gig review: Gavin Marwick’s Journeyman Spectacular, Edinburgh

Gavin Marwick's Journeyman Spectacular: An intimate set at Queen's Hall
Gavin Marwick's Journeyman Spectacular: An intimate set at Queen's Hall
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“No matter where you go, there’s always somewhere just over there,” says fiddler Gavin Marwick, vaguely indicating a horizon just in the distance beyond which new sounds and inspirations await.

Gavin Marwick’s Journeyman Spectacular - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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His music feels like that too, a staunchly traditional but certainly fun set of folk jigs, reels and ballads, whose resonance, quality and resounding sense of place has the effect of feeling both like here and elsewhere.

The name of this multi-faceted new show reflects a similar ethos, although in truth it’s a reference to both the Edinburgh-based Marwick’s main group and his own record label, upon which he’s released work by some of the groups represented here.

The first half of the show placed these groups – Bellevue Rendezvous, Up in the Air, the Old Blind Dogs Allstars, and guest duo Aaron Jones and Claire Mann – in a more defined context, while the second saw the waistcoated, devilishly bearded Marwick lead his ten-part mini orchestra in gleefully collaborative fashion.

The set felt intimate if perhaps slightly overwhelmed by the amount of free space around the room, although the quality of the music helped make up for this. Sets of reels featured included a lively group called the Vodka Set, so christened because they were composed late at night while under the influence, the delicate instrumental Granton Back Steps, and Balkan Red, the vaguely Eastern European-themed highlight of a lively extended crescendo led by Marwick and Ruth Morris’s clashing fiddles.

Seen on 12.04.14

• Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, 19 April; Seall at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Skye, 25 April; An Lanntair, Stornoway, 26 April