The Wynntown Marshals – support Scott Ashworth – Celtic Connections – The Glad Café – January 28, 2024

Written by on January 29, 2024

When The Wynntown Marshals take to the stage the feeling is that you’re about to be wrapped up in their well-honed, spirited songs – and that’s just what happened at this terrific gig.

The Scottish band’s mature catalogue is excellent and imaginative, no track sounds like another and their musicianship means they can vary the pace and alter the tone deftly.

Rightly recognised as flag bearers for Americana in the UK, their music is palpably laid back but the five-piece carries a gritty determination to make each song crackle and stand out in a mix that is irresistible overall.

The guys have brought a 15-song playlist with its hints of Son Volt and Teenage Fanclub that flows by and before you know it, they’re done.

Picking highlights is futile but Your Time, from 2017’s “After All These Years,” is just wonderful. “We used to drink ’til it was light outside / We used to bark at the moon But now with different priorities/ We sing a different tune,” sings frontman/guitarist, Keith Benzie, who then dips into “The End Of The Golden Age” for the majestic Red Clay Hill, one of their very best offerings.

They may only have played occasional gigs lately but the band – completed by David McKee (bass, vocals); Andy Nicholson (acoustic/electric guitar); Brendan O’Brien (drums and percussion) and Ali Petrie (keyboard) – is a faultless unit, willing each other on with nods and smiles. Their playing throughout is exemplary.

Snowflake – about an Albino gorilla, no less – is just heavenly country and Learn To Lose from “Big Ideas” is considered and pensive with Tom Petty lurking beneath it all.

It’s obvious the band is enjoying every minute of this show as well as the audience and no wonder. They have strong material, delivered with verve and passion and, all in all, it feels hearteningly and gloriously timeless.

With songs from his new album “Ghosts And Broken Men” SCOTT ASHWORTH offers taut lyrics and sturdy guitar work. A fine support to catch at this class show.

MIKE RITCHIE

Image: Rupert James


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