Folk stalwarts Yard of Ale are in residence at the Guildford Arms for the duration of the 18th Caledonian Folk and Blues Festival and they play with the confidence and verve of old hands.
Yard of Ale are currently enjoying their fortieth year of playing as a band. Consequently they rattle through their shows with familiarity. They’re comfortable with playing old classics as well as new-found track, incorporating a range of Americana, bluegrass and Irish folk songs into their performance alongside Scottish and English folk songs. They’re an intelligent act, pairing the Jacobite tune ‘Killiecrankie’ with the Robbie Burns song ‘Ye Jacobites By Name’ and clearly relishing the experience.
Yard of Ale introduced the second act of the evening between their two sets: ragtime legend Eddie Walker took the stage, though every night a different guest will play. Walker played old hits such as ‘Speed of the Sound of Loneliness’ next to his own tracks, winning the crowd over easily.
Whilst well below the radar of most Fringe-goers, a visit to the Guildford Arms – a gorgeous pub in the heart of the New Town, complete with its Victorian fittings – makes for an excellent setting for a folk festival. For fans of folk music, Yard of Ale are a lot of fun; rowdy, red-faced and masters of their craft. For the uninitiated, it makes for an compelling experience, especially for those tiring of the central Fringe circuit.
Originally published here, on Broadway Baby.