Withered Hand has been at the heart of the Scottish songwriting scene for some time now, and more recently had two acclaimed albums in 2009 with Good News and 2014 with New Gods. Dan Willson, who is Withered Hand, has recently been touring performing in a plethora of unusual venues and concluded it all off with his Glasgow date in 432’s The Blue Arrow, a jazz bar of sorts. Presently working towards his third full length album, Withered Hand’s music has been well received by press and even more so from his fans, who often know the lyrics from start to end of most of his lyrical folk songs.
With support from Edinburgh-based Hailey Beavis and Glasgow-based Megan Airlie, there was a warm vibe that ran throughout the sets. Hailey performed a handful of beautiful tracks, including one from her newly released collaborative EP (with Lydia Cole), Among Horses IV. Simply her and an acoustic guitar, it’s a stripped down and traditional performance, allowing us to hear the poetic elements to her set.
Megan has more of a soulful thing going on with her music, plugging in her electric, and wide-ranging vocals. With little in the way of records there was little for Megan to plug aside from a set of future tracks for us all to look forward to. Certainly potential there for some great laid down tracks, with those beguiling vocals.
As for Dan, and well Withered Hand, it was great to see him perform a set of classics including the reflective No Cigarettes, Horsehoe, and Fall Apart. A crowd warm to his patter and the lyrics to his tracks, they automatically shuffled to the front as he took to the stage. Simply him and a guitar, we even had to vocalise the noise of a harmonica (his had an unshifting peanut stuck in it), it was an acoustic Withered Hand gig, and a reminder that the success of these songs are often in the lyrics, as the crowd warmly sing along.
For The Maudlin, one I don’t often hear at their gigs, was given a spin, for the joys in these smaller gigs is that we can be reminded of the rawer acoustic tracks. As Mental Health Awareness Week came to an end, it was a fine song for reminding us of this, a song with a focus on depression and mental struggles.
A warm gig with a beautiful set of music, Withered Hand concluded his tour with a stunning list of tear-jerkers and life mantras.