James Yorkston, Kris Drever, and Dan Wilson of Withered Hand came on stage at the Dissection Room in Summerhall without much fanfare. After a short period of applause, the musicians immediately started playing on their three guitars while James Yorkston sang the tune. This first song set up an important expectation for the audience: this gig was not about any one of them. All three were on stage the entire time, alternating playing each other’s songs. Using this strategy, Yorkston, Drever, and Wilson created an intimate and engaging show that felt like you were listening in on a jam session between three old friends. The most effective of the songs they played were those sung and performed by all three, replicating a traditional experience of folk music. It felt as if they were playing folk music the way it was meant to be played: informally, communally, and with a good sense of humor. Some of the sincerest and most genuine moments in the show were when they joked to each other about their kids and broke into laughter mid-song.

The only downfall of their casual performance was that is was occasionally unpracticed to a fault. On one hand, if the show felt too polished, it would not have suited the acoustic music all three of the musicians play. However, they spent a few of the songs laughing throughout about mistakes being made on the guitar or on the mandolin. Although this did take away somewhat from the performance, the overall effect of watching the three talented and experienced musicians jam with each other for a couple of hours was one of familiarity, openness, and warmth.