Next week is sure to rival last for great, authentic artists

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Last Saturday evening, October 24, in the Woodlands Centre we were treated to a co-headline show of two up-and-coming, young singer/songwriters: Dan Owen and Jack Watts.

Opening the night was local instrumentalist and composer Jane Hepburn on the fiddle, accompanied by Andrew Yearly on keyboards. The pair conducted a short but spirited set consisting of original instrumental tunes.

They played ‘Hushinish’, a brand spankin’ new one, ‘The Little Minch’, ‘Sands of Mangersta,’ and ‘The Mid-Summer Nights of Callanish’. It was a super start to the night!

Twenty-year-old singer/songwriter Jack Watts from Brighton alternated between guitar and keyboards on his six-song set. Jack showcased an amazing vocal range that brought to mind Jeff Buckley and the quieter moments of Freddie Mercury on ‘We Lost it All’, a track from recently Watts’ recently released debut EP ‘Red Shortbread’.

There was a gorgeous cover of Chase & Status ft. Liam Bailey’s dance tune ‘Blind Faith’, the amazing ‘Push Blue’, also from the EP, and the title track from ‘Red Shortbread’. We were also introduced to an intensely soulful and new, but as yet untitled tune tentatively titled ‘The Last Song’ “because he always plays it last.” What a very powerful and emotion-filled set.

Then Dan Owen then took the stage and sat on his music stool, which he travels with from show to show. Dan was surrounded by two acoustic guitars, blues harp (harmonica) and a foot drum stomp box.

He proceeded to unleash hurricane-strength, gritty, earthy, wailin’ vocals in a torrent of rootsy, high-energy covers and originals. He kicked off with some marvellously driving acoustic slide work on Robert Johnson’s ‘Walking Blues’, followed by as yet unreleased originals: ‘What is a Man’, ‘Hammer’, the single ‘Fall Like a Feather’, ‘Splinter’, and ‘Riding Out This Storm.’

Several of the tracks came off Owen’s debut EP ‘Bad For You’, and he chose great covers too, with a mad, down-and-dirty, powerhouse version of Willie Dixon’s ‘Little Red Rooster’ among the many highlights.

After a round of uproarious applause, Dan encored with the original ‘Drowning Man’, finishing an absolutely brilliant, mind-blowing acoustic set. It don’t get much better!

And there’s more, more, and, yes, more great music this week with Glasgow country duo Ashton Lane in the Woodlands Centre, Thursday October 29 at 8pm.

The duo were formed after singer/songwriter Esther Duffin met her now husband Tim O’Connor at one of her solo gigs down a cobbled street in Glasgow called Ashton Lane.

Their creative partnership was immediately obvious to them and the street where they met seemed like the perfect name for their band.

Esther’s musical heritage spans back to her childhood, where at five-years-old she accompanied her dad on a US tour with Elton John. Her dad is none other than Graeme Duffin, guitarist with Wet Wet Wet.

Soon after Esther and Tim married, they established their record label “Redhed Records”, with 2015 seeing the couple release their fifth studio album ‘Nashville Heart’.

They perform regularly as a duo and at times as a three-piece, when Graeme Duffin joins them as a guest. They’ve toured the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, gigged in Nashville, Tennessee, and extensively round Europe.

There more, for on Saturday October 31, Halloween Night in the Woodlands Centre, local singer/songwriter ‘Neosa is putting on a charity gig to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

‘Neosa will also be launching his new EP ‘Penny’. One of the tracks, ‘I Miss You’, has been written as a fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support. There will also besupport from local artists including Spanish and The Shed. Afterwards, you can make your way into town and go check-out local blues rockers ‘Trouble Is’, will peform at The Star Inn.

Pictured are Jack Watts and Dan Owen who both played a great set last Saturday at the Woodlands Centre.