Concert review: Sharon Shannon at Mount Stuart

Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor in concert at Mount Stuart's Marble Hall.
Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor in concert at Mount Stuart's Marble Hall.

Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon played a memorable set in front of a packed Bute audience at Mount Stuart on Saturday night - one of only three Scottish dates on her UK tour.

Shannon, born and raised in County Clare, has been recording since 1989, and drew on a richly-varied back catalogue to provide a memorable evening’s entertainment for the audience of more than 150 paying punters.

The talents both of Shannon and her accompanist on piano and guitar, Alan Connor, were a joy to behold, whether playing traditional Irish reels, jigs and waltzes (with a couple of Scottish ones thrown in for good measure) or more contemporary tunes such as Donal Lunny’s The Cavan Potholes or Shannon’s own Top Dog Gaffo, written about one of her seven pet dogs and used recently in a campaign to encourage Irish TV viewers to consider adopting a pet from a rescue centre rather than buying one of their own.

The finale of Galway Girl, written by Steve Earle and oriiginally performed by both Earle and Shannon on her 2000 album Transcendental Blues, brought the audience to its feet - although the high point of the evening was provided not by Shannon but by Connor, who chose a rocking blues number for his solo slot and who left the audience open-mouthed at his keyboard-playing abilities.

So enthusiastic was the audience’s response to the gig as a whole that Shannon expressed the hope that she’d be able to make a return visit soon - a prospect likely to leave just about everyone who saw her first Mount Stuart show full of both hope and expectation.