Live Reviews

  Simon Kempston, Caragh Nugent and the Ballachulish Hellhounds live at Tennents Bar in Glasgow

p>It must be the warm weather causing disorientation as the Bluesbunny thought it was Tuesday when it was, in fact, Wednesday. Despite the fact that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong day, we demonstrated our customary perseverance and found both beer and live music. Tonight, our big floppy bunny ears get the opportunity to absorb musical enjoyment from Simon Kempston, Caragh Nugent and the Ballachulish Hellhounds. Put them all together and you get a Basement Session.

Our first contender of the evening is Simon Kempston. He is a folk singer from Edinburgh braving the notoriously difficult Glasgow audiences. It seems that he has done this before as well. Looking remarkably clean cut for a musician, he sings songs that show intelligence and social conscience. Whilst he is an adept guitar player, it is the words that impress us. There is an honesty to him. His music reflects what he believes and unless the Bluesbunny ears were playing tricks, "Carefree Prisoner" gives him the opportunity to express some particularly harsh words on the subject of empty relationships. This song is at odds with the rather more conventional, almost spiritual ode to a town in "Galway" and social comment in "Barricade" that you would expect of a folk singer. To tell the truth, you have to take his songs away with you and think about them for a bit before you can fully appreciate them. Bluesbunny will have to pencil him for another review soon. Once is clearly not enough.

Next into the ring of fire is Caragh Nugent. She has long been a favourite of the Bluesbunny and it has been some time since we have heard her excellent voice. Steve the bassist again provides musical support. Once more, we enjoy the affecting "Pink Carnation" and the sinuous, entrancing "Precious Things". Bluesbunny starts having fantasies about possessing these songs on a double "A" sided vinyl single. On pink vinyl, of course. Back to reality, there is a new song to enjoy in "Lay down Your Head". She ends her all too brief set with Joni Mitchell-esque "Motorcycle by the Sea". We managed to get a few words in with Ms Nugent and it would appear that it will not be too long before you are able to enhance your music collection with a song or two from her. Good news indeed. In the meantime, you will just have to attend her live shows to enjoy her unique voice.

Now we come to the Ballachulish Hellhounds. They look like a couple of disreputable if lovable rogues. They are, in fact, Dochan MacMillan (of the Scuffers and the Free Candy Sessions) and Zander MacFarlane. Come to think of it, being disreputable and being musicians does seem to go together. They play simple acoustic old timey music - a dash of bluegrass, a dash of folk and a dash of old style country music. Songs like "Tennessee Stud" and "Shady Grove" are just designed as accompaniment to strong drink. There is a group of people in the bar celebrating a birthday and it does not take long before the Hellhounds transform their foot tapping into a burst of impromptu dancing. The Hellhound's good humour fills the room and they even manage to throw in a bizarre cover of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine". You get the feeling that if you gave them an unlimited supply of strong drink then these two rogues would play until the end of time. They are just a couple of good ole boys, never doing no wrong.

The first Bluesbunny visit to the Basement Sessions turned out to be time well spent. You get free music with your beer. Now that's our kind of bargain!

Review Date: August 1 2007