Island music fans may remember The New Madrids from Loopallu in September, but if you didn’t catch them, don’t miss their Stornoway gig. American roots and soul are at the heart of this bands’ sound with a hefty slice of rock n roll and blues on the side. This Perthshire hailing five-piece includes vocalists Donny McElligott and Ian Hutchison, drummer Maurice ‘Mo’ McPherson, Owen ‘Scaryophonic’ Nicholson on strings and Callum Keith, bass player extraordinaire.
Drawing from the irresistible Stones countrified swagger and such catholic roots influences as The Band, Byrds and later bands like Whiskeytown and Drive-by Truckers gives the New Madrids their musical seasoning. This five piece have a bedrock rhythm section topped with guitars, keyboards, mandolin and pedal steel before adding additional guest textures that include brass, violin and guest vocals; one of which, recorded in Austin, is Brennen Leigh.
With The New Madrids’ debut CD Through The Heart Of Town already causing critics and reviewers to sit up, take note and even tap a tastefully-tooled cowboy boot, it was with some anticipation that Aberdeen punters turned out for the Blue Lamp show. Although numbers could and should have been higher, those who did attend were treated to nearly two hours of stunning Americana, filtered through the consciousness of five wonderfully-talented men of Perth and Perthshire.
With dual vocalists Donny McElligott and Ian Hutchison alternating at the main vocal mic and a scorching virtuoso performance on Telecaster, lap steel and pedal steel by Owen Nicholson, this was as good a performance as the Lampie audience has witnessed for as long as I can remember.
Basing their set around the album, playing all ten tracks, the Madrids mixed up country, rock, soul and blues, tearing down, as the late Michael Marra said, “those foolish walls” in defiance of the genre cops and proving that where these forms meet and meld is a glorious sonic crossroads.