The audience at this year’s Mearnsong Concert at Arbuthnott on Saturday, staged as part of the Mearns Connections Festival, were treated to an outstanding evening’s entertainment from fiddler Patsy Reid, accordionist Angus Lyon, American fiddler and singer/songwriter Laura Cortese from Boston and singer/songwriter Jefferson Hamer from Brooklyn, New York City.
The first half of the concert comprised of Patsy and Angus playing a wonderful blend of soulful Scots tunes and lively reels.
Both musicians have excelled from a very early age and, despite usually playing in separate projects, they put together a set that was seamless, as if they had been playing together for years.
In a quite different style, Laura and Jefferson’s second half set was a taste of some wonderful traditional Cajun and Appalachian music.
Woven through these lively tunes, the audience was treated to some of their own compositions. Jefferson’s songs were reminiscent of Steven Stills in content and execution while Laura’s were diverse and plaintive, particularly her arrangement of poet John Beaton’s Women of the Ages.
At the end of the concert, all four musicians came together for a magnificent finale of energetic music with one audience member describing the performance as “giving it laldie.”
This is the first time at the Grassic Gibbon Centre that Scots traditional music has combined with American bluegrass.
When the combination is performed by musicians of such technical excellence and enthusiasm for their respective and combined genres, the result is unforgettable.