Mo Kenney & Snowgoose
Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
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WHEN Canadian singer-guitarist ended her set with her impassioned version of David Bowie’s Five Years she was not only paying tribute to a lost hero, she was providing a portal to the era that produced that song’s parent album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Snowgoose may not play any Ziggy or even Bowie material but the Glasgow-based band’s music would have sat very comfortably in the early to mid 1970s when outfits such as Curved Air and Renaissance toured the college circuit and beyond. Their singer, Anna Sheard, has something of both of these bands’ frontwomen, Sonja Kristina and Annie Haslam respectively, and maybe a little of Pentangle’s Jacqui McShee, in her sultry, moody vocal tone and their songs and arrangements, without getting into whole-side-of-an-album expansiveness, draw on prog rock features such as compound time and musical dramaturgy while at the same time having an airily melodic catchiness.
Occasional use of pedal steel guitar brought an added, imaginative voice to a keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars and bass guitar (sometimes supplanted by double bass) line-up that was swung along nicely by drummer Francis Macdonald’s lightly applied directional touch.
Kenney’s opening set balanced her tendency towards sad going on miserable songwriting with a between-song personality that is almost the polar opposite. Stuff happens might be this four times Nova Scotia Music Awards winner’s family motto but she couches the downside of life, including school friends going off the rails – and indeed the radar – and relationships that work better by phone than in person, in often very attractive, even bright chord progressions to appealing effect.