A real sense of community is resonating around the area thanks to an increasingly popular night of unplugged music at a local pub.
The lounge of The Railway Inn, Glasgow Road, Dennyloanhead has a friendly atmosphere and nice acoustics, especially on a Thursday night when the premises play host to its weekly Strummers session.
Top Strummer Malcolm Cowie, who organises the night, said: “People pile out of cars, guitar in hand, before settling down together to tune up and catch up on all the news that’s happened since last week.”
Now in its second year, the Strummers sessions have grown to become a viable alternative to karaoke and one of the inn’s most popular nights.
Malcolm said: “Regulars tell us how much they look forward to these get-togethers. People come from all over to take part, some with guitars, some to sing or to add a bit of percussion, some just to enjoy a good sing-a-long.
“There’s a wide range of ages, with 50 years separating the oldest and the youngest players, but all are welcome, all you need is an acoustic guitar and a few basic chords.”
Malcolm came up with the initial idea for the sessions and provides musical direction on the night.
He said: “It’s not a jam session or an open mic. Here you just sit in and strum along. It’s for people who enjoy singing and playing together and maybe adding a few songs to their repertoire.
“I’ve learned a few nice tunes myself.”
At a typical session at the Railway the music ranges from Kings of Leon to Killiecrankie, with a few original compositions thrown in.
The early part of the evening is spent working on new or unfamiliar tunes, with Malcolm demonstrating a new riff or chord or giving out the chords to a new tune which has been suggested by one of the Strummers.
Malcolm said: “As the night goes on the old favourites come out and the playing and singing become more spontaneous. There’s a bit of variety to the nights. We adapt the programme accordingly for Christmas and, more recently, Burns Night.”
The Railway Inn’s Strummer sessions are open to anyone who wants to join the fun.
People interested in attending can get more information by calling the Inn on (01324) 812545 or Malcolm on 07749756525.