John C Reilly & Friends - St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow, Tue 12 Feb 2013 (4 stars)

Actor takes country band on the road as part of Wreck-It Ralph publicity tour

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John C Reilly & Friends - St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow, Tue 12 Feb 2013

John C Reilly & Friends

’We got the Death Star to work for us,’ laughs John C Reilly, actor, singer, raconteur and star of Disney offering Wreck-It Ralph, explaining the novel approach to around-the-world publicity junkets he managed to talk the megacorpration into.

Instead of the usual paid-for assistant and/or stylist, he reasoned, ‘what if I just brought the band?’ Not the full eight-piece with which he exercises his love of country and roots music (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story wasn’t a million miles from real life), but as a skilled and authentic guitar and voice trio consisting of the Stetson-wearing Reilly, vocalist Becky Stark and singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau, all clustered around an old-style vintage mic and performing classic country standards with spirit and soul.

The trio take turns to sing, sometimes leaving the stage for a song or two, and their gently amusing chatter belies three skilful talents. Reilly is possibly the least capable of the three, but his voice is still a raw and pleasing Merle Haggard twang, and his stage-working ability is supreme (amusing comments in favour of Scottish Independence won big cheers). In turn, the chirpily eccentric Stark has a fallen angel’s voice on highlights such as Dolly Parton’s ‘My Blue Tears’ and Phil Ochs’ ‘There but for Fortune’, and the shy Brosseau sounds positively otherworldy on a cover of Lonnie Johnson’s ‘St Louis Blues’.

John C Reilly and Friends - Blues Stay Away From Me - 5/28/12 - Sasquatch Festival - The Gorge

John C Reilly & Friends and Fionn Regan

A roots revue of country, bluegrass and old time Americana from the Hollywood actor (Magnolia, Wreck-It Ralph, Stepbrothers etc), who is signed to Jack White's Third Man record label, and friends including Becky Stark and Tom Brosseau. With supreme songwriting support from Fionn Regan.

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