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A Sunday afternoon trip to catch Cousti at the end of their Caithness weekend; there’s not been too many appearances from the whole band in recent months but the memory is strong of how good they were at Belladrum last summer, so it’s well worth a trip north through the sun and snow showers for a session in The Newmarket Bar, Thurso. With three hours to play with, we get treated to The Cousti Variety Show: short solo sets from Matt Morrow and Isaac Sutherland were followed by keyboardist Gavin letting rip with his true love – the New Orleans sound. Most of the band were up there for a mighty version of Iko Iko, followed by the Fats Domino classic, I’m Ready. Big smiles all round for that.

After that, it was the whole band getting stuck into a mix of their own songs (some old, some new, or at least unrecorded) and some classic covers. Well it’s fun to hear old favourites like Moondance but they do sound best singing their own songs, built for their own strengths. It’s been true for everyone from The Stones to REM, and it’s true for Cousti. Having said that, though, they played an absolutely stonking, reggaefied version of The Grateful Dead’s Fire on the Mountain. I could have listened to that twice over, very happily. Altogether, there was a greater meatiness to their sound than I’d heard before – perhaps still on full volume from the night before in Wick – and Peter Lamb on lead vocals was giving it everything, quiet Sunday afternoon gig or no. I love this guy’s voice and to hear him soaring above the band on the glorious Without You sets the hairs on the back of the neck going, every time. I’m really hoping they get a chance to get back in the studio and record some of these songs that are starting to get familiar to this Cousti addict – they’re still my favourite band right now.

John Davy

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April 2018

Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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