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This Christmas lark has really thrown me. It’s taken me over a week to drag myself out of my Christmas stupor and find the enthusiasm to begin writing proper posts again. It’s quite strange – all year I dreamed of being able to ditch my work responsibilities and just have time to write properly and now that I’m on holidays I find that all I’m capable of doing is reading other blogs through glassy eyes and buying t-shirts from Threadless. (I wouldn’t follow that link if I were you – that damned site is bloody addictive).

Something has clicked this morning though, and I’ve awoken ready and raring to go. Over the Christmas break I did manage to listen to a lot of music at least, and I found myself listening repeatedly to The Moth Trap by Nightjar, a folk/country outfit from Edinburgh. I had already heard the gorgeous ‘Lady Of The Calico’ over at Song, By Toad and so I was expecting the rest of the EP to be filled with similar hushed murmurings over acoustic guitar.

Although I would’ve been more than happy if the rest of the gear had been of a similar quiet-ish vein, I was stoked when I heard the opening track ‘The Hanging Tree’. It was the strings that did it. It’s always the strings. It never ceases to amaze me how, in the right hands, a violin can play a reeling, rollicking tune and still manage to churn up a feeling of longing and wonder in me, all at the same time. The banjo is also a prominent feature, giving it a bluegrass feel that I don’t usually go for as a rule, but find myself enjoying immensely.

The vocals are wonderful as well, strong and full of depth, delivering lyrics that warn us about small towns and how they dispense their own brand of justice.

in small towns, they have different laws
from that you’d find in the city
so no matter what if you break the rules
expect no help nor pity
expect no sherrif nor no judge
to stop the people if they see
and carry you off to pay the cost
in the shade of the hanging tree

The rest of the EP is a similar mix of quiet acoustic songs and twangy banjo driven tracks and there’s something quite endearing about hearing Americana-type tunes delivered in that lovely Scottish accent. Hopefully we’ll see a full length from these guys sometime in the near future.

You can stream other Nightjar tracks at their myspace and can purchase The Moth Trap over at Song By Toad Records.

The Hanging Tree – Nightjar

Lady Of The Calico – Nightjar

Oh yeah, a nightjar is an owl. And here I was thinking it was a fancy name for a chamber pot.

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