John McCusker and Heidi Talbot stoped off at The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh tonight with show 8 of their current tour to promote their new mini album – “Love is The Bridge Between Two Hearts” released by Under One Sky Records on March 9th 2018.
Suprisingly, despite many cross-overs on stage over the years, this is the first time that John McCusker and Heidi Talbot have toured together as the headline act, and that long overdue event (and the album) is producing music of a haunting quality on stage. For any folk based musician, making your music sound like it has always been there is perhaps the most difficult task facing you, and they manage this with effortless ease.
Both musicians have a solid back catalogue of music to draw upon, and this set’s opening number “The Last Star” immediately set the tone for the evening, with Heidi’s vocals as always sounding as if they belong to some timeless and magical place. Following on with the title song from the new album – “Love is The Bridge Between Two Hearts”, John left no one in doubt as to why he has earned a reputation over the years as one of Scotland’s finest fiddlers and song writers.
Over two sets, aided by fellow band members Adam Holmes, Innes White and at times Toby Shippey, we took a trip into traditional songs, music from the back catalogue of John and Heidi, collaborations with other musicians, and of course more music from the new mini album.
Traditional songs often have streaks of the macabre and cruel to them, so it was nice to hear that tradition continued with “William Hall” from the new album. Scotland and Ireland do like their murder ballads, and “The Willow Tree” is as good an example of one as any.
There are so many of Heidi’s songs that I just fell in love with over these two sets – “A Song For Rose” and “Starting It All Over Again” being only two of them.
John, of course, what can you say? Nothing really apart from an exceptional talent moving effortlessly between fiddle styles and other instruments all evening.
The folk/Celtic music scene is massive at this point in time though and there are just so many hugely talented musicians and performers out there at the moment, so talent alone is not going to be enough to make you stand out from the crowd; you need something else. Whatever that something else is, John McCusker and Heidi Talbot have it. Perhaps it is an ease with an audience that makes people feel like they are coming to visit an old friend. Perhaps it is the warmth and humour that is so evidently present between the band and in particular John and Heidi (just as well as the two are married to one another). Maybe though at the heart of everything is just their sheer love of the music that they are playing and the pleasure that both are taking from sharing that music with an audience. This is music that just wraps itself around you like a warm and comfortable blanket.
Love is the Bridge Between Two Hearts
1.Sprig of Thyme
2.Drink to me only with thine eyes
3.Love is the bridge between two HEARTS
6.Over The Hills and Far Away
Release Date: Mar 09, 2018
Record Label: Under One Sky Records
Review by Tom King