Heather Woods Broderick @ The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, 29 Feb

Heather Woods Broderick – regular collaborator with the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and her brother Peter Broderick – arrives in Glasgow with sublime songs of her own to share

Live Review by Fraser MacIntyre | 04 Mar 2020
  • Heather Woods Broderick

Heather Woods Broderick arrives in Glasgow tonight in support of her third solo record Invitation, written in a small cabin in Oregon. While she travels frequently now – touring with the likes of Lisa Hannigan, Damien Jurado and Denmark’s Efterklang – Woods Broderick has strong ties to Portland. She performed in several bands during a long and fruitful period of time spent in the state, including Loch Lomond who have worked with both dearly departed Edinburgh label Song, by Toad and Glasgow’s own Chemikal Underground Records over the last decade.

Though Woods Broderick herself is far from a stranger to our shores – having performed at Leith Theatre, St Luke’s and the now sadly defunct Art School in recent years as an integral member of Sharon Van Etten’s live band – this is her first visit to The Hug & Pint, a venue her brother and frequent collaborator Peter Broderick has performed in several times of late as part of Celtic Connections. Woods Broderick’s sizeable and attentive crowd are delighted to be informed he has sung its praises at recent family dinners, as she pays tribute to the staff's hospitality.

New songs rewardingly form the bulk of the multi-instrumentalist’s hour long set. Short, stark and sublime instrumental A Daydream leaves us spellbound and ready to be swept away by White Tail, one of Invitation’s most joyous and serene moments. On I Try, Woods Broderick sounds simultaneously defeated and resilient: a potent, heartbreaking blend. A Stilling Wind is one of several examples of her distinct ability to conjure up songs and soundscapes that feel as though they were not planned but cultivated: as if they were gardens she has tended to devotedly. Time spent enveloped by them is a renewing, healing and invigorating experience as a result.

Hummingbird Skylight, her most recent single, is another highlight. Written by her partner and his band Tallest Poppy, the ‘she’ addressed in the song “became Mother Nature and her struggles during the Australian fires” in Woods Broderick’s powerful, hypnotic rework.

Woods Broderick and her two companions offer a masterful performance – unsurprising, considering she was born to two musicians, and has spent her life surrounded by and working amongst them. Invitation itself is a rewarding and thoughtful voyage. A reminder of the beauty and potential around and within us.