With their well-honed stage show, harmony vocals and road-tested collection of traditional folk songs and instrumentals, the Tannahill Weavers turned Wade Street Church into an intimate folk club.
With founder members Roy Gullance on guitars and vocals, Phil Smillie on flute, vocals and bodhran, and newer members Colin Meliville on bagpipes and John Martin on bass vocals and fiddle, their melodic music – steeped both in tradition, and with an open ear for newer musical strains – has meant that the band have gained and maintained a loyal following since their first album was released in 1976.
A number of songs and instrumentals were featured, along with humour about Scotland and the life of a touring musician, while a lot of songs – with audience participation – meant that it was a more involving experience than might have been the case.
The Final Trawl was a fine song about the dangerous life that fishermen face, while Are You Sleeping Maggie? was a well-received love song.
The transportation ballad Jamie Rayburn’s Farewell to Glasgow was a showcase for the group’s well thought out vocal harmony arrangements, while The Geese in the Bog/ Jig of Slurs allowed the band to show off their instrumental dexterity.
Annislecht was an upbeat instrumental and Gloomy Winter is Now Away saw the band add their music to the poetry of Robert Tannahill, from whom they took their name.
An encore of Auld Lang Syne with a radically re-worked tune, revealing the melancholia and warmth of Robbie Burn’s words, may not have been in keeping with the time of year, but it was a fitting note on which to end this concert from one of Scotland’s foremost traditional groups.