Norman Lamont & Heaven Sent AMC

There are always a small number of artistes in Scotland who, while writing with wit and insight about the “real” world around them – albeit with a highly original viewpoint – seem to simultaneously inhabit some heightened reality. We have, sadly, lost Ivor Cutler and Michael Marra in recent years but we do still have Norman Lamont, and judging by his most recent album “All the Time in Heaven” he’s as inspired as he’s ever been.

If you were to take Leonard Cohen and John Cale, issue them with Scottish citizenship, a sense of humour and a feeling for the absurd, and let Luis Bunuel film the resultant concert, well, it might turn out something like this.

With his latest band Heaven Sent, who provided excellent and sympathetic arrangements for Lamont’s far–ranging material, he charmed and delighted the Acoustic Music Centre audience. While some of us may have had mice invade our property before, I suspect that the first line from the opening song “Polecats came in my house last night, they rearranged my books” put him in a minority of one. From this surreal start, Lamont took us through a selection of songs from his most recent release, with “Not About to Fly” “Fingerpuppet” the Cohen-esqe “The Monk from the Mountain of Sorrow” and his interpretation of Yeats’ “Song of Wandering Aengus”- the best of the many versions I’ve heard in recent months – being a few of the highlights. Mention should be made, too of what is probably his best known number “The Ballad of Bob Dylan” which has lost none of its power to amaze and amuse over the years.

A man who deserves much wider recognition than the cult status he currently has, he’s worthy of your time and money. Go see him for yourselves.

Jim Welsh