Potential Strangers (3 stars)

Potential Strangers

Concrete Campfire@the Observatory, Glasgow, Sat 5 Jan

FOLK

Less a band than an ‘entity’, as they put it, Potential Strangers is essentially a fluid, five musicians-strong vehicle for the tunes of Harris-born singer-songwriter Dòl Eoin, an affable young chap who’s found the – not altogether unlikely – common ground between American rebel folk and Gaelic traditional flourish.

Echoes of Dylan are ever present in Eoin’s loose acoustic strumming and blasts of shrill harmonica. Filled out by a combination of cello, fiddle, bass guitar, percussion and vocal harmonies, not to mention his own striking Hebridean lilt, the likes of earthy working man’s ballad ‘Dirty Hands’, and ‘John Walker’s Grave’ – a surprisingly jaunty riff on the subject of hereditary alcoholism – take on an entirely additional quality, somewhere along the lines of a gutsier Seth Lakeman, or a Celtic Mark Olson.

Admittedly, ‘Daytime TV Blues’ – Potential Strangers’ whimsical paean to low-grade afternoon channel filler – is a little wide of the mark, despite rightly questioning the purpose of Carol Smillie. All else Eoin and his band – sorry, ‘entity’ – have to offer, though, would suggest that they shouldn’t remain, um, strangers, much longer.

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