Gig review: Eilidh Grant

After six years playing alongside one another, it was with some sadness that last night’s gig at Leith Folk Club marked the end of Eilidh Grant and Pete Cook’s musical partnership.

A bittersweet moment for both; the folk music duo signed off, however, with a charming set that echoed their history together.

For those who don’t know, Grant won the Danny Kyle Open Stage Award in 2004. Something of a modern day Joni Mitchell, not much has been seen of the bubbly singer since she got married and started a family.

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A pity really, as she has a range as broad as LFC’s new home – the Victoria Park House Hotel – which, given its airy and spacious surroundings (and excellent food!) is a decidedly huge improvement on the claustrophobic, unwelcoming confines of their previous base at The Village.

Grant is almost 30 now, and in amongst the plethora or Burns song, Mitchell arrangements and the odd Billy Connolly number, we pretty much got her entire life story.

The craic was good, though, and whenever things got a bit sedate, there was always an update on the Ukraine/ England Euro 2012 match from the bar next door to provide Grant with some new jokes.

With Cook – a classical guitarist by trade – by her side, it was the more traditional material that seemed to wring the most emotion out of the Glaswegian singer’s voice.

An a cappella rendition of Broom Of The Cowdenknowes – the tragic story of a young shepherdess and her affair with a stranger on horseback – touched on the immoral side of love’s wicked ways.

And while a stab at Burns’ Ae Fond Kiss might have seemed too obvious a choice, it still turned out sweet as a rose.

Clearly, the chemistry between Grant and Cook is a strong one; a closeness that brings a certain tension to their otherwise relaxed playing style.

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When they signed off with Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia – dedicated to Cook, who will soon be leaving these shores for another woman in Finland, by Grant – you couldn’t help feel it was a song about two parting lovers instead.