Live Review – TheTrembling Bells with Bonnie Prince Billy at The Queens Hall, Edinburgh

The Queens Hall staged the opening night of The Trembling Bells with Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham) Tour to promote the collaborative album ‘The Marble Downs’. The opener “I Made A Date (With An Open Vein)” builds to a crescendo of drums, guitar and vocal harmonies that leads to a set comprising originals and covers including a wonderful version of Scott Walker’s “Duchess” which drummer and songwriter Alex Neilson dedicates to his mother for her 60th birthday.

Lavinia Blackwall’s commanding voice acts as a perfect foil to Bonnie Prince Billy’s gentler tones and as with all great male/female duets there is a sensual tension to their duelling. The humorous bawdy traditional song “My Husbands Got No Courage In Him” is one of the highlights of the set as is the Gram Parsons inspired Every Time I Close My Eyes (We’re Back There).

There was a rawness about the performance and none of the songs felt over-rehearsed which made the show loose and enjoyable. The band also were able, perhaps because of the collaborative aspect of the performance, to branch out into areas probably not associated with the traditional folk reflection of The Tremblimg Bells such as country and western, psych-rock and murder balladry…..

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