Ed Miller – From Texas to Nitten.

A native of Edinburgh, Ed Miller first journeyed to the USA away back in 1968 for “a year or two” to do graduate studies at the University of Texas. Now, over 50 years later, he is still based in Austin and travels throughout North America entertaining and educating audiences with his wonderful songs and droll sense of humour. Tonight we were privileged to have him grace the stage at Nitten Folk Club.

Unfortunately, due to a scheduling error, he had to compete with the Newtongrange Silver Band, who were performing in the bar next door. Like the genuine trooper he is, he accepted it with good grace and sang on manfully through the trumpets, trombones and tubas.

Ed kicked the evening off with The Texas Rivers Song’, a tribute to the place that has been his ‘home’ for around 50 years. From old traditional ballads and timeless songs to contemporary songs of urban change, emigration, nationalism and humour, a performance by Ed Miller gives a real taste of Scotland and shows his continuing love and knowledge of his homeland.  He’s a master storyteller and each song was introduced with an anecdote every bit as interesting and entertaining as the song itself. A delightful acapella rendition of Kenny Thompson’s ‘Lad from Edinburgh Toon’ raised many a wry chuckle, and Jack Foley’s ‘A Bottle o’ the Best’ was a wonderful ‘clap along’  tune that had the appreciative Nitten audience doing just that.

As usual, there were just too many great songs to list them all. Traditional ballads like ‘Broom of the Cowden Knowes’ or ‘ The Shearin’s No for You’ gave the crowd an opportunity to sing along with gusto – as did Ewan MacColl’s ‘Manchester Rambler (this evening repositioned as ‘Edinburgh Rambler’ – Ed has never been to the Pennines). Beautiful performances of Davy Steele’s ‘Last Trip Home’ and Adan McNaughtan’s poignant ‘Blood on the Grass’ were only two of the evening’s highlights.  After finishing with Scott Murray’s ‘The Last Waltz’, a warm tribute to Ed’s home town of Edinburgh, an encore was inevitable. As a homage to the coal mining heritage of Newtongrange Ed performed Brian McNeil’s ‘The Prince o’ Darkness’ and it was all over too soon. It had been nearly 7 years since Ed last visited us. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 7 years to welcome this true legend of the Folk scene back to Nitten Folk Club.

The excellent floor spots were provided by our sound man, Ronnie Miller, Tom and Jane Fairnie Paul Ashcroft, a truncated version of Ragged Glory (sans Charlie) and a new member, Jan. Many thanks must go to Jim Weatherston for handling the raffle and to Gillian for doing all the running about, distributing the prizes to the lucky winners. Thanks also to Tom and Jane Fairnie for handling the door and selling the raffle tickets.

There will be no guest evenings in July and August however the ever popular Singaround Sessions will still be taking place every Thursday and everyone is welcome to come along to sing a song, recite a poem, tell a story or just sit and listen and enjoy the warm welcoming atmosphere of Nitten Folk Club.


The Committee.