Gig review: John C Reilly and Friends - Glasgow

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Like his fellow screen stars Steve Martin and Hugh Laurie, the fondly regarded character actor John C Reilly has taken his love of roots music that little bit further and performs old-time folk and country covers when he can as John C Reilly and friends.

John C Reilly and Friends

St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow

* * * *

Promotional duties for the new Disney film Wreck It Ralph, not to mention the recent discovery of his Caledonian roots, brought the Boogie Nights/Chicago star to Scotland for the first time for this unexpected treat of a show.

Reilly has affectionately lampooned country music in the spoof biopic Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, but he has a sincere love and natural affinity for this repertoire, and was aided in his mission to bring the “unvarnished truth” back home by LA-based musicians Tom Brosseau and the endearingly eccentric Becky Stark.

Reilly had the audience yodelling along one song in but, minus his full band, this was less a jolly hoedown and more an intimate singaround involving the three vocalists in various configurations, including as a Peter, Paul and Mary-like trio.

Tender, moving renditions of Carter Family, Dolly Parton and Phil Ochs songs and an unamplified Goodnight Irene to finish were just a few of the precious gems in this immaculately conceived set where the relaxed humour never overshadowed the gentle seductive power of the music.

Opening act Irish singer/songwriter Fionn Regan is one of those rare talents who can hold a room rapt with his music alone, which drew on the lyrical flair of Bob Dylan and the torch songs of Leonard Cohen.