In the shadows of the castle with rain falling hard on the hum-drummiest of humdrum Scottish cities I make my way into the dark, narrow, confines of one of the myriad tiny live music venues that make up the Cowgate.
I could have stayed at home, tucked up all nice and cosy with a Netflix box set, a bag of Haribo and bottle of pop.
On a night like this, a night that we heathens from North of the border cal “dreich”, it takes something special to drag you away from the burning warmth of the home fires and venture out into the after hours hinterland of an Edinburgh Thursday.
Such a special something is, Nigel Thomas.
What do you mean who?
I don’t blame you.
He’s not a household name.
I have a funny feeling he may not want to be one.
Thomas is a man who wants to find room in your heart…not in the charts.
The mood is set with the very first song; “The Sad Thing”.
Alone on the stage and in front of someone else’s audience Thomas bares his soul and, by the songs end, breaks our hearts. This is the soundtrack to those moments that only the fortunate few have never endured. There are songs about love like “5476 Miles” that tells the tale of a long distance relationship where the advice of Pablo Neruda seems to be true; absence is to love what wind is to fire…it extinguishes the small but enkindles the great, or something. There are songs of yearning and romance like “Daze” and “Well Well”.
Long distance love.
Hope and despair.
But these are not the sad songs; they are passionate and honest songs that are delivered with a certain little charm, a twinkle in the eye and a fire in the heart. Songs from the latest of nights on the most maudlin of streets for sure but thanks to his passion and talent Thomas never allows them to become bleak.
There is a light that shines throughout each minute he is on stage.