Flyinshoes Review

Welcome to FSR our Roots Music Reviewers & Pod/broadcasters Community

Here are some of the artists we are helping "Look for Europe"

A full integrated conventional and digital media promotion service for the independently minded musician.

Become a Patron!

Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart and Red Hook Rapids - Live at The Polish Club, Kirkcaldy, 5th April 2012 - Gig Review

Photo's by Davey Stewart

I woke up on the Friday with absolutely no idea where to begin this review of Thursday 5Th April at The Polish Club in Kirkcaldy. It was one of those great nights where you doubt that it ever happened?  A rub of the eyes and a look at the signed CD from the night before confirms it was true…


I could talk about country music dynasties: how Americana seems to be a genetic/familial condition starting with the Carter Family and daughter June’s marriage to Johnny Cash (a shameless Fife connection!).  Or how Hank Williams’ legacy has been carried on with son Hank Williams 2nd and grandson Hank Williams 3rd.  On Thursday night we heard Stacey, the sister of alt-country legend Steve Earle, who has clearly been weaned from the same bottle as her superstar brother and has found in her musical and life partner, husband Mark Stuart the perfect foil for her talents.  Proof that two heads are indeed better than one and even that’s catching.


The evening was opened (each half in fact) by Invernesshire duo Red Hook Rapids, formed in 2010, with established songwriters Ally MacLeod and Donald Forbes.  Their identity as a duo is marked by the shared performance of each other’s songs.  Ally lends her more melodic vocals to Donald’s gutsy delivery; he in turn provides tasteful and melodic lead guitar to Ally’s songs with her simple and steady guitar playing.  The stand out songs for me were Ally’s lullaby-esque ‘Saving Grace’ and Donald’s ‘On The Edge’, a bleakly hopeless vision of loss and longing.


In contrast to these perhaps moodier tones was the sheer joy of Americans Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart: truly music with a smile on its face.  These two exceptionally gifted songwriters and performers compliment each other like all the usual clichés. Stacey’s songwriting has more depth – the exceptional and poetic ‘The Flag’ being played solo by Stacey out from behind the mic for example; delivering its poignancy direct to a spellbound near full house you could hear a pin drop.  Her stage and song craft are truly the fruits of a lifetime’s work.


Mark’s songs stand out for their assured simplicity.  Road songs with the melancholic, Tom Petty-esque ‘Little Rock’ and the meat and potatoes basics of ‘Workin’ On It’ show his Yin to Stacey’s Yang.  If he were Scottish his guitar playing would surely be called ‘gallus’ given its swagger and the wee smirk on its face.  Mark is no ‘smart-Alec’ though: his guitar playing is skilled using his acoustic with it’s traditional finger-picked or strummed voice but adding tones and styles like a bass for passages here and there then switching to a hot electric style solo!  Stacey’s singing is sweet and true with a rock solid rhythm guitar and finger-picking in accompaniment. 


Together Mark and Stacey are perfect with each other on stage.  Given their personal relationship – 18 years married and we heard all about it in ‘Wedding Song’ – you’d expect that sixth sense type communication.  Never contrived and always natural, they were a joy to watch as well as listen to.  Their song introductions were often funny, very funny in fact, and the personal rapport they develop with a crowd suited the Polish Club atmosphere down to a tee (although they are used to playing to much larger venues).  From jazz pop to country blues, and country pop to folk, the songs varied in tone, feel and volume.  Always tinged with the sounds of cool country their vision of America and life is hopeful, cosmopolitan, down home and out there on the road all at once. 


The couplet of tracks opening their second set ‘Here Comes The Pain’/’Here Comes The Rain’ scoped singer-songwriter balladry to E.L.O. in one fell swoop – the switch of feel is more tonic than sweetener and reminds you that every time it rains there can always be an umbrella to protect you!  Optimism always seemed like the message in their songs.  The aforementioned ‘Workin’ On It’ reminded us that it doesn’t always come cheaply when things work out in life and there may always be that stroke of luck!  Talking of luck, Leadbelly’s famous song ‘Midnight Special’ was given a rousing rendition as Mark engaged the crowd in a sing-a-long of the country blues classic.  Driven by his uncommonly good guitar playing we all believed that the Midnight Special just might shine its ever-loving light on us. 


Closing the night with the encore of Bob Dylan’s ‘You Ain’t Going Nowhere’, after a rocking finish to the main set, we got to sing our hearts out once again at the end of a truly satisfying evening.  Go and get their latest CD ‘Dedication’ and experience its joy for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.   A fantastic evening from two duos: one at the peak of their craft and the other nearer the start of their musical journey and from which we hope to hear more.  Are two heads better than one?  The jury will always be out on that one but tonight’s case was as compelling as any.


There is live music most Thursday nights throughout the year at the Polish Ex-Serviceman’s Club, Forth Park Drive, Kirkcaldy, KY2 5TA.  Doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start. All are welcome and there is a bar as well as our legendary ‘pieces’ at the end to round off the evening.  If you are interested in learning more about the club just turn up on the night or check out the website:

Gerry Hastie

Views: 94

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Flyinshoes Review to add comments!

Join Flyinshoes Review


Keep the wheels on the hub

Become a Patron!

Would like to contribute to FSR and the House Concert Hub? Please help keep the wheels on the hub, this site is run on House Concert Principles and relies on your donation. Thank You for keeping this in mind



Face Book

The Medicine Show is the home of the House Concert here is our rolling news


This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

The House Concert Hub community will use it for the purpose of providing a online, all singing all dancing, review and preview area for the music of the community, and the music community at large. Have a look around tell your friends use the share button, tell the world.

We need reviewers, the idea is we have a correspondents in every area of the musical global village, it will be edited and co-ordinated by Rob Ellen of Medicine Music publicist promoter and presenter, if you wish to subscribe as a correspondent, join up here and drop Rob a line, he will send you cd's and send you to shows, display and publicise your content.

Here starts an other adventure.

  Visit The House Concert European Hub (& Acoustic Music Club Network)



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

© 2018   Created by The Medicine Show.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Site Meter