Dick Gaughan at Milngavie Folk Club, 22nd March, 2014, review by Pauline Keightley
The folk club was busy for Gaughan’s return gig with both younger and older fans in the audience.
Dick Gaughan is a Scottish traditional folk singer, guitarist and songwriter. He sings of Scottish heroes and of stories of our lost past. He has been playing the circuits both at home and abroad for many years and he is one of the most down-to-earth and likeable artists, without pretensions of any kind.
He sang songs by Brian McNeill, Robert Burns, Ewan McColl and Gaughan – What You Do With What you’ve Got, Yew Tree, Outlaws and Dreamers, No God and Few Heroes, Whatever Happened to We Shall Overcome, and the outstanding Burns’ song Westlin Winds.
He aims to learn from the generations that have gone before him: ‘If you’re lucky you can add a wee bit’. And he doesn’t go for autobiographical songs: ‘ there’s more interesting topics than me.’ He takes traditional folk stories and songs from the library archives and puts new melodies to them. He draws from both the Irish and Scottish folk traditions.
Gaughan’s songs can seem hard hitting but are also full of thoughtful optimistic themes. He is plain spoken and holds firmly held beliefs on the rights of everyman and his views are reflected in his songs.
He is also a stand out guitarist and plays with a unique style with dramatic timing with influences of the guitarist Davy Graham. Very few artists have the ability to transport and transcend the moment but Dick does so with forceful guitar playing, songs with strong messages and his deeply expressive, growling voice.
I first heard Gaughan play in the 70s in Edinburgh when I was dating a folk guitarist who raved about how incredible and very distinctive his playing was. Many years later, in 2007, I heard Dick play at Milngavie Folk Club – an intimate gig where his chat between songs was worth going for alone.
One of the great troubadours of life’s journeys – you come away from his gigs questioning but ultimately renewed in the faith of our shared humanity.
He sang, ‘Keep your eyes on the road ahead, Keep looking at the light…. ‘ At this gig I thought – music is not about how good an artist might feel about their music but rather how much joy they can give to their audience.
Gaughan was well supported by guitarists Robin Miller, and Mike Simons.
Photos and Review by Pauline Keightley –
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