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Music review

Nels Andrews

Nels Andrews

Admiral Bar, Glasgow

Rob Adams

The apparent ease with which Americans up sticks and relocate, often thousands of miles away, to another part of that vast country, was an unspoken but central theme in Nels Andrews's latest visit to Glasgow.

Andrews spent some of his formative years in small town New Mexico, where a neighbour was Eliza Gilkyson, who follows him into Glasgow tonight, before moving to Brooklyn, New York, where he established himself as a folksinger-guitarist - and he now lives in California, where he's taken to the beach boy life.

Crossing the Atlantic temporarily to play here isn't without its problems, though, and a jet-lagged Andrews and his guitarist, Jonathan Goldberger, took a song or two to settle into a partnership that finds Goldberger embellishing Andrews's songs with variously big, near-grungey chords and delicately spun melodic lines.

Andrews has an attractive voice that's lighter than might be expected from his rugged appearance, and it's not just his penchant for a "li la li" chorus, reminiscent of The Boxer, that brings Paul Simon to mind. His timbre has a Simon-like quality at times too.

His songs are stories and often the stories behind them linger longer than the songs themselves, suggesting further chapters might be lurking in the background. The couple he met while working as a chauffeur and inspired Small Victories certainly sounded like people with histories.

Andrews isn't without history himself and the waltzing Barroom Bards packed character into easy-on-the-ear versifying and his self-deprecating tale about meeting his wife while he was a shelf-stacking wannabe-troubadour lent candour to his description of her as the brownstone to his rambling plant in the heartfelt Wisteria.

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