John Alexander

Roots & Blues

Roots and Blues songwriter and guitarist John Alexander

Blues Matters

@The Acoustic Music Centre, Edinburgh 24/08/2012
The Edinburgh Fringe is not renowned for its music shows, but beyond the daunting number of comedians, there are some high quality music events. While an excursion to an unknown comic may give you the blues, there were no such concerns about the standard of performance at the Acoustic Music Centre in St Brides Church with a lineup of intimate, but well attended shows including Dick Gaughan, Preston Reed and Mike Whellans. It was John Alexander that I had come to see, with a show subtitled "Dustbowl Blues with a Glasgow Kick". A solo performer and song teller, I was struck from the opening 'Saints & Sinners" by both his soulful but gritty vocals, and the honesty of his delivery. The bluesy 'Still Got a Long Way Home' was upbeat, while a topical 'It's Dangerous' featured some particularly intricate acoustic guitar playing. The performance allowed the audience to hold onto every word Alexander uttered, and this came over strongly on the atmospheric 'Going Gone'. A diverse set saw Alexander switch from 'Apologies To Woody', with its country blues flavour, to the Celtic influence of 'Bridge Of Kings'. The boundaries between these genres are vague. This was a point made by Alexander before 'Gallows Pole', a song of Scottish/Irish decent, which became a regular theme in American folklore. With a rich imagery within his lyrics to songs such as ‘This Side Or The Other’ and a likeable dry wit, Alexander is an engaging and talented performer well worthy of your exploration. Duncan Beattie