It’s not easy being a support act.  You have thirty minutes to make an impression.  On a good night, ninety five percent of the people in the room won’t know who you are, will have never heard any of your songs and have probably only turned up early to secure a decent seat for the main act.  Tonight, making an impression was something that Fraser Anderson only needed to worry about for around three minutes.  From that point in, spines were tingled and hearts were touched.

Loss, and the things that come from loss.  Sorrow, pain,and grief.  Dignity, fealty and catharsis. These are the threads that stitch Anderson’s songs together.  Fraser doesn’t really do happy songs.  A couple of times during his set he checks if we are okay; not beaten  down by his downbeat material.  He need have no concerns on that score. At the end of each song, the audience’s applause is heartfelt. During the songs, if the proverbial pin were to be dropped it would ring out  clear to hear.

Fraser opens with Feel from his latest album Under The Cover Of Lightness.  Without the double bass and electric guitar accompaniment of the record, the responsibility of carrying the song lies solely, and rests soulfully, with  Anderson’s voice and acoustic guitar.  Both Fraser’s vocals and guitar playing are more than up to the task.

Anderson recounts how in a moment of alcohol-fuelled bravery he emailed a song to the great English bassist Danny Thompson (I nearly wrote the great British bassist but that sounds like a show even Channel 4 would balk at commissioning).  Thompson is probably best known for his work with John Martyn, one of the finest singer/songwriters this country has ever produced.  Thomson liked the song, Rag & Bones, so much he agreed to play on its recording.  Hearing it tonight, I’m sure that Martyn would have loved it too.

After the beautiful The Wind And The Rain has held us all spellbound, Fraser lightens the mood a little by recalling that while on an Italian tour he thought it would be fitting to sing the final words of the song in Italian.  Unfortunately, his somewhat basic grasp of the language rendered the line “and the wind, and the rain” as “and the wind, and the little motorcycle”.

Songs from earlier albums, Little Glass Box and Coming Up For Air keep comfortable company with Beautiful Eyes and With You All from the new release and, all too soon, Anderson’s time is up.  A thirty minute support slot.  Nine songs played in a room big enough for fifty people.  Fraser Anderson deserves so much more and, sometime soon,  I’m sure he will get it.  Until then, he’s out there touching hearts and tingling spines.  One room at a time.

John Scott

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