• The List
  • 17 September 2009

The banjo toting duo on their Edinburgh Americana

Sometimes the path less travelled isn’t as peculiar as you might think. Admittedly on paper, Blueflint’s story isn’t an entirely conventional one, but the result is something wholly engaging to anyone’s ears: great songs.

‘Clare [Louise Neilson] and I were friends in our teens but lost contact’, begins Deborah Arnott, the other founding half of the Edinburgh band. ‘By bizarre coincidence years later, I found out that she was learning to play the banjo and so was I. We got back in touch and I was expecting her to be playing trad Scots style but it turned out she was into the whole old time country and bluegrass thing that I was. We met up, had a few bottles of wine and plucked up the courage to play for each other and have been together ever since.’

The pair share the songwriting duties of a now expanded Blueflint which includes bass, percussion and fiddle, broadening out their sound in glorious fashion, taking them beyond any bluegrass pigeonholes.

‘Americana is a useful word as it draws in a million different influences,’ says Arnott. ‘It can encompass us as well as people like Bonnie Prince Billy or Iron and Wine.’

What is essentially the band’s debut album proper High Bright Morning arrives this month and conveys the magic of their writing in ten emotive, often dark tales. Their sound enjoys sonic conventions from the past that only a band driven by two banjo players could, but the songs have special an atmosphere all of their own.

Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Wed 30 Sep

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