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Sam Baker/Eliza Gilkyson, CCA, Glasgow

THE "sold out" signs confirmed an open secret: Glasgow loves the Austin, Texas school of singer-songwriters and these concerts, two further instalments in a very successful Glasgow Americana festival 2012, presented two of the city's favourites.

Their "afternoon with" and "evening with" billings respectively were entirely appropriate because Sam Baker and Eliza Gilkyson both offer more than a few songs and a swift cheerio; they tend to drop in like house guests.

Baker is a brilliant raconteur, able to take the whole room off down some side-track on his scatty train of thought and often belittling his own songwriting process. "See, I told you nothing happens in that one," he'll say, neatly forgetting that he's just condensed a whole day, or much more, into three or four minutes. He introduced new songs, a new feature – Sam Baker as boho jazz rapper – and a new, for Scotland, accomplice in pianist-guitarist-accordionist Chip Dolan whose playing complemented Baker's brilliantly concise poetry with apposite gospel-blues colours and rhapsodic codas.

Dolan also showed up later to accompany Eliza Gilkyson as she, like Baker, finished her concert with requests, referring to her aged file-keeper who somehow rescues old lyrics just in time. She still sang beautifully, despite these apparent memory challenges, and rocked more than ably on guitar, creating a terrific spontaneous ensemble with Dolan's accordion as she impaled American leaders both new and recent on the sharp spike of her poetic scorn and countered any threateningly dark clouds with finely drawn melodic optimism.


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