Concert features Scots traditional

February 07, 2007 12:00 am

Triplicate staff

Scottish singer and songwriter Jim Malcolm will perform Saturday at the Pistol River Friendship Hall.

Malcolm is probably better known in the United States as the lead singer for "Old Blind Dogs," but he had established himself as a fine songwriter and interpreter of traditional Scottish music long before he joined the band, said Linda Elfman, president of the Pistol River Concert Association, which is sponsoring the concert.

With his fourth solo recording, "Live in Glenfarg," under his belt and having been chosen Songwriter of the Year at the recent Scots TraditionalMusic Awards, Malcolm has further strengthened his standing as one of the leading figures in the Scottish folk scene.

Malcolm possesses one of those magnificently pure, warm folk voices that one never tires of hearing. Elfman aid.He is an impressive guitarist; nimble, expressive and clean, and plays a sweetly melodic harmonica as well.

He is one of the best interpreters of Robert Burns material around today and his performances are always an intriguing blend of old and new.

Introduced early to the traditional music of Scotland by his mother, Malcolm was brought up in Perthshire and Angus, Scotland.Early in his career, he was recognized for his insightful song writing and acclaimed by critics as "The New Male Voice of Scotland."

A master of the well chosen word and melodic inventiveness, Jim stretches his smooth, creamy voice around a stunning variety of traditional and original songs casting a jazz-inflected spell over time-worn ballads as if they were being heard for the first time, somehow fresh and new.And always there, meandering gently in the background is Jim's deceptively skillful guitar work continually spellbinding yet somehow never overwhelming the vocal interpretations that are the heart and soul of his performances.

Often called "the coolest man in folk," his overall style may be very laid back and jazzy but he can also deftly turn his hand to more traditional material, crafting a delightful mix of love, tragedy and comedy. And just when you think that he has stretched about as far as he can, he lapses into original instrumental pieces such as "New Parliament Rag," a Scott Joplinesque piece dedicated to the entrenched and "slightly slippery" politicians of the Scottish parliament.

If you yearn for pastoral balladry, and an intoxicating display of lyrical and instrumental craftsmanship, this is the show for you, Elfman said.

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If You Go

•What: Jim Malcolm, Scottish traditional music concert

•When: 8 p.m., Saturday

•Where: Pistol River Friendship Hall

•Tickets: $15, available at Mory's and Words and Pictures in Brookings and at Gold Beach Books in Gold Beach; may also be reserved online at www.pistolriver.com or by calling 541-247-2848.