Sunday night finds me at another rare venue for me, New Milton’s The Rydal Arms. I found out via one of my fingers-in-many-pies that Scott McKeon & Robbie McIntosh are playing together for a couple of hours, and boy is it an intimate setting, in the “Acoustic Lounge” as dubbed by Darren Hodson, compere for this night.

As I walk in Robbie is leading Sam Cook’s Wonderful World on a resonator, Scott following on, on 6-string. At one point Scott seems to fluff, and quips “that’s why Robbie is a better rhythm guitarist than me”, gaining a patter of applause 🙂

Robbie & Scott @ The Rydal

They next kick off into a rolling blues jam which just lasts and lasts….eventually finishing to applause & cheers. These mainly instrumental set pieces are the mainstay of their performance – a few sparse lyrics, then mesmerising acoustic rhythm & blues. Just a look passes between them, and the parts switch, one laying a rhythmic base for the other to build lead melodies on. Robbie uses his slide on many of the songs, however each use is occasional, sparse and totally understated.

After a short break they are back up with more of the same good tunes. What I’ve not mentioned is the effortless way in which string bends and trills are inserted into otherwise solid 8 bar staples; containing fingerboard runs from the neck to the body and reversing – the effortless-ness being accompanied by smiles and grimaces in almost equal measure, giving away the amount of concentration required

For the encore finale we hear the fully acoustic 12 string from Scott with Robbie back on the resonator – he’d switched and stayed with a 6-string after that first number I walked in to – before another switch back to 6-strings and a retune for the final last song for a second encore.

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