The Wynntown Marshals (4 stars)

The Wynntown Marshals

Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 9 Feb


‘If Carlsberg made Americana . . .’, runs the jokey tagline on this Edinburgh quintet’s MySpace, although the rest of the slogan would still be somewhere near true if it appeared next to footage of this lot.

The Marshals (and everybody knows Wynntown’s nowhere, it’s just a creation which allows the Wynton Marsalis pun) stand capably alongside most bands of a recent vintage, although their Caledonian heritage is somewhat buried beneath the West Coast country-rock veneer. There’s no shame in that, though.

This band’s previous incarnation (The Sundowns) went criminally under-rated despite an equally proficient sound, although being around four decades earlier might have granted them the success they really deserve. The Marshals sound is fuller, warmer and less self-conscious.

Amidst a bed of gorgeous 12-string and melancholic pedal steel guitar, singer Keith Benzie’s storytelling is as crisp as his accented, Rick Danko-like vocal on ‘I Should’ve Guessed’ and ‘11.15’, and a couple of swoonsome duets with his sister Leigh are truly special indeed.

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