American roots band The Wiyos are looking forward to playing at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles a week today – knowing that small venues can be as much fun as big ones.
The quartet made a huge impact following their BBC TV debut with Californian blues musician Seasick Steve, filmed at The Barbican’s big Folk America extravaganza.
In 2009, they went out – by personal invitation – on a 27-date run of US baseball stadiums with Bob Dylan, and last year they wowed a capacity crowd at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow and were then invited back over the Atlantic “as the icing on the cake” for Shetland Folk Festival.
Reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic have commented about the live performances and the latest CD, Broken Land Bell. After playing tracks on his BBC Radio 2 programme, Bob Harris told listeners: “This is great music.”
The Los Angeles Times said they were “a pure joy”, while Americana UK said: “Like Dylan, they display a knack for hammering archaic musical traditions into new directions.
“The result sounds like a synthesis with a genuine future, something of a rare accomplishment.”
The New Yorker magazine, well known for being hard to please, told its readers: “This group brings exuberance and intensity to these vintage styles, and its performances are layered with vaudevillian stage antics.” And Seasick Steve himself warns everyone who has not seen the band perform live: “You’re in for a surprise.”
The Wiyos’ Peebles appearance is part of an extensive UK tour with gigs in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
“It’s great to get a chance to appear in front of a big crowd,” said the band’s Teddy Weber, “but some of the best experiences are when you are in a smaller room with people seated just a few feet in front of you. Luckily, we have a nice mix. We know all about the enthusiastic audiences in Peebles, particularly as our good friends and stablemates, The Wilders, reminded us about the warmth of the welcome that is really something to savour.”
Tickets for the gig, which kicks off at 7.30pm, are priced at £13 (£11 concession) and can be booked by phoning 01721 725777.