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Scrievit (November 17, 2007)

Just back from tonight’s Scrievit show at the Knox Acoustic Café, and once again we had an absolutely excellent time. These shows are presented with class, taste and dignity, and the artists are unfailingly brilliant. Really, if you live in the area, you should be coming to every one of these monthly gigs (if you aren’t already). They’re a blast. 

Tonight’s stars, Scrievit, are a 3-piece celtic/folk band who were, I’m told, originally part of another 6-piece band called Celtic Offspring. I hadn’t heard either of these acts until tonight, but now that I’ve seen them play my love of this style of music has been reawakened. As you well know by now, I adore most types of music and I’d love to listen to each of them, all the time. Alas, to my chagrin there are only so many hours in a day, and I hadn’t heard this kind of music since I reviewed the fantastic Wolfstone for this site a while back.

Scrievit is tons of fun. Christine Storey plays beautifully intricate fiddle, and sings with a power not unlike Stevie Nicks’ (as one fellow attendee pointed out during the intermission). Scott Henderson, who also brought an excellent dry wit to the moments between the songs, plays the border pipes, which are like bag pipes but slightly more quiet and held crosswise to the body (neat!), as well as several different types of flutes and whistles. Watching his fingers fly was mind-boggling. And Ed Nicol holds the whole thing together with superb acoustic guitar, vocal and song-writing virtuosity. Taken in combination these three are truly, in the vernacular of the land their tunes evoke, ‘pure dead brilliant.’

Over the course of the band’s two sets, we heard mostly jigs, reels and waltzes, the traditional mainstays of this music. All were played with passion and energy, with passages of musicality that really should make it onto a recording sometime because many, many more people need to hear this band play. I’m not much of a dancer myself, but I was quite surprised that there weren’t at least a few people up and dancing tonight, given the infectiousness of the tunes. I guess the crowd was a little too staid for that. Oh well.

We were also treated to a few cover tunes, from Fleetwood Mac, Patty Griffin, Ashley MacIsaac and Robert Burns. Trust me, that list may sound a little varied but it all fit just fine. And as if all of this wasn’t enough, this show was also educational. For example, we learned the difference between a violin and a fiddle (“you can spill beer on a fiddle”). Haha. And ‘scrievit,’ by the way, is a Scots word (mixed with Latin during the Roman assault on the highlands, I’m sure) meaning ‘written.’ And now you know that too! What more could a music fan ask from a show?

Many times tonight, I closed my eyes while they played and easily found myself taken back to the time I spent in Scotland several years ago. The landscapes and towns rolled in all their splendour through my memory, with this music making a perfect soundtrack. Good times.

Thank you, Scrievit, for an excellent evening of music and humour. And our massive thanks, once again, to Irwin and Susan (and the rest of the crew) of the Knox Acoustic Café for all of your enthusiasm and hard work in making these amazing evenings happen. You guys rock!


P.S. And on a final note, this show marks the end of the first (Highly Successful!) year for the Knox Acoustic Café. Happily, though, it was announced this evening that there will be a specially-added show in February (information to be added here as soon as it’s  posted on the Knox site), as well as a youth showcase in March. Bonus! For more information, check out the Knox site by following the link which is conveniently located in our Links section on the left-hand side of  this page.

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