Music Review: Charles Esten - Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭✭

Charles Esten

"I'm not Deacon Claybourne." Charles Esten announces early in his set with a cheeky smile as he swigs from a mug that definitely doesn't contain tea.

He's right. While the TV show Nashville brought the character of Claybourne and, by default, Esten into the musical limelight, there are few artists with the talent and versatility that Esten has to sell out a venue and command it on their own seemingly effortlessly. This is his first solo tour of the UK and it's easy to see why it sold out in minutes.

Esten's set is packed with his own work, some of the best loved hits from the show, beautiful sections where he is joined by fantastic UK country band The Adelaides plus covers reworked into his own style. Of particular note was an astounding cover of Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road played simply on piano and harmonica that brought an awed silence into the Old Fruitmarket.

Mixing the set list ensured that no matter what brought the audience through the door, Esten, Deacon, Nashville or a pure love of country music, everyone left elated. It also served as a reminder of the incredible quality of songwriting that Nashville demanded as the audience energetically sang along with every number.

Closing the night with The Adelaides joining him for a magical rendition of Nashveille's anthemic A Life That's Good, rightly described as a benediction by Esten, no doubt left both the audience and those on stage feeling like their spirits had been lifted as its emotional chorus soared into the freezing Glasgow night. The first UK tour of many we hope.