Dirty Beggars – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Wed 5 Dec 2012 (4 stars)

Dirty Beggars – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Wed 5 Dec 2012

The bluegrass quintet headline a varied line-up of folk/roots acts

Twentysomething songwriter Adam Holmes has gathered together an impressive cross-section of folk/roots musicians for the latest edition of Adam Holmes and the Embers Present…, the music night he hosts on the first Wednesday of the month at the Voodoo Rooms. Starting off with the beautiful vocal harmonies of Jenn Butterworth & Laura-Beth Salter (or Jenn and LB, as they refer to themselves), there follows a short, soulful set from Holmes and The Embers, littered with deadpan asides: ‘This is a song about love from a different perspective … and it’ll pretty much be like that from now on.’) Two songs from the slightly shy but vocally astounding Maria Nash are followed by a bluegrass set from the Peebles-raised, now Glasgow-based cousins, The Dirty Beggars, and funk-rock headliners Man’s Ruin (unfortunately missed by this reviewer).

Despite the high standard set by all acts on the night, the Beggars' set is a particular highlight, by turns plaintive and footstomping as they switch between nostalgic ballads and up-tempo hoedowns. Pitch-perfect three-part harmonies, overlapping string melodies and the odd rip-roaring harmonica solo – it’s as southern fried as Peebles is ever gonna get.

Adam Holmes & The Embers

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Adam Holmes.

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