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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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September 2018

The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
Blue Rose Records
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Locke Creek Records
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Red House Records
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Cn Records

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