City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Rossco Galloway, The Jazz Bar, Review

By Roddy McNeil - Posted on 07 April 2012

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Show Details
The Jazz Bar
Rosco Galloway and the Chans
Rosco Galloway and the Chans
Running time: 

About a month ago I was handed a white label promo cd of the debut album by Rossco Galloway and the Chans just for a listen. “I think this will turn you on” the guy said. What turned me on last year was frequency-shredding Dubstep. So how could I imagine that a folk singer and a jazz band playing fast and loose with a paintbox of Jazz Blues Rock Country and Cocktail Lounge would be my favourite sound of 2012!


Well I’ve been listening every day since and that cd hasn’t been handed back yet. Nor will it be. It’s mine now.

Fired up by the album I went along to The Jazz Bar to see Rossco play his regular acoustic set.

Rossco Galloway has been around the Edinburgh music scene for a few years quietly building a set of songs that bring a distinctive new voice to Scottish songwriting.

Many of his lyrics are soaked in weather and nature imagery – ‘waterfalls pouring down’, ‘storm fronts breaking’, ‘western elements well you put on a show/ Ben Mhor disappeared a long time ago’ and ‘when I come back a fish will you put me in the sea/ the river is too cold for me’.

The charming and beautiful A Fishwives Tale tells how an old sea snail is dragged up in the nets and ends up ‘packed in a crate with a stingray/ eyeing her up deadly’.

Rossco is no wistful folkie. ‘Jemima and James’ is a dark tale of the bad old days ‘she was a youngster at the time of the deed’ .A child is born and given up for adoption against her will. She vows revenge on the man with ‘a pick-axe handle sturdy and true’ and ‘buried his body six inches under the ground/ no trace was found’. She finds her baby ‘and the smile in her eyes said hello to her son and a thousand goodbyes to her old life’. ‘Oh my baby she found you somehow/ oh my baby safe now’.  

Rossco  has a strong voice, gentle or powerful when required and effortlessly melodic. On the CD  The Chans (Scots for ‘tunes’) must come from the talent pool around The Jazz Bar. They play too well not to be. Dynamic and groovy they mirror the elementalism of the songs from breathy flute and slide guitar warm winds to the  maelstrom of  Iona Blues – ‘monolithic standing stones/ strike the evil from my bones’. There’s jazz bass and rock guitar reggae in Blow Your Cares Away and exuberant sax in the heart-soaring Set Free. I’m convinced I’ve found a hidden gem and now that you’ve read this far you’re subconsciously committed to coming along to hear what my fuss is all about.

I'd lend you my copy of the album but I know I won't get it back. You would do the same as me.

Event: Teatime Acoustic Time,  Fridays, 6-8.30pm, FREE