Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 32

Breabach - The Big Spree

Breabach - The Big Spree

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 32.

We’re starting off this programme with Breabach. I’ve loved this band ever since I heard their (very attractive) demo. In fact I think the tune we play on the podcast – Chloe’s passion was on it. Also each member of the band has entered the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award starting with Patsy Reid in the inaugural Award in 2000 up to Ewan Robertson winning in 2008. Band members Patsy and Calum MacCrimmon both came back this year to help judge the Finals. I enjoy the way they play as an ensemble all listening to each other while still leaving room to breathe for each of their solo talents. Look out for them in Scotland and England throughout March.

Another inaugural Young Trad Awardee (and winner) was Gillian Frame and she features with Findlay Napier (another finalist) in the Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers. Their CD Out All Night has just come out in the last months and has enjoyed critical success. I noticed the other day they are doing some touring around Scotland in April with the Peatbog Faeries. Definitely worth checking out.

Our next track is from guitar maestro Tony McManus. Tony is one of the hardest working musicians I know. He seems to go non stop! This new record of his is an unusual album because the recording of each track features a different guitar, from the collection of North Carolina’s Dream Guitars founder Paul Heumiller and each hand-picked by Tony and Paul. Amazingly on the last track he manages to play them all – I love to see that! I spent some time with Tony on the German Folk Festival tour a few years back and I invented the Wooden CD prize for the person who sold the least CDs on the tour. Unfortunately I went on to win it – typical…

I mentioned Ruairidh Macmillan in the last blog who won this years BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award. Well he is playing and touring with the Paul McKenna Band, a young singer who people are talking about favouritely. I don’t know much about this band but their record sounds great!

I’ve known about the Gaelic Psalm singing for a while but when I was thinking what track to play next I came apon the Salm and Soul CD. I listened to the first track and when I checked out the second I was surprised to hear a gospel number! The CD was recorded at Celtic Connections and the concert arose from the theory that the call-and-response structures of African-American gospel music derived in large part from traditional Gaelic psalm singing, brought over by Scottish immigrants to the American South. Whatever you think both tracks sound great.

We finish up with Box Club, a troup of 4 accordionists. Watch out for them on tour in Scotland this March.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 24

Listen to Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 24

The Curer - Deoch n DorusI’ve enjoyed putting together the Foot Stompin’ October podcast. I’ve started the show with Wolfstone, a folk rock band who have been around for a few years now. I first met them properly when my band Keep it up toured Canadian festivals at the same time as them. I used to think we were mental until I met them. They rocked the festival circuit and had everybody up dancing. This new album Terra Firma is great.

The next band Malinky is full of young musicians but they are definitely one of the older bands on the scene. Since their Danny Award winning performance and excellent debut album Last Leaves they have gone through a few lineups but consistently deliver very stong albums and performances. The new album Flowers & Iron sounds like it’s going to do well.

Our next record is from Deoch ‘n’ Dorus. I don’t know too much about this band although the accordion player Stuart Cameron was in the very first BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award in 2000. They’re all great players and I love the sound they make.

I’ve known our next artist Ishbel McCaskill for years but I had never heard this track before tonight. An Teid Thu Leam A Mhairi (Will You Go With Me Mary?) is a really beautiful song. The performance and vocal harmonies make it for me.

As i say in the broadcast I chose the next piece of music because of the tune – The Dawning of the Day. Of course St Laurence O’Tool are an amazing band with lots of championships to their name but in this case they happen to be playing a tune that my little boy Charlie is learning on the whistle. We’re having a great time with him and my wife and I are enjoying our evenings listening to him practice and playing along with him.

I finish up this broadcast with a track from my youth. Anthem for Common Man came out in the eighties and received a bit of a slagging for its use of a drum machine but I loved it at the time and still do. The band are still going strong touring the world but I still hark back to this album and also Home is Where the Van Is. I love the intro to ‘The Four Minute Warning’, I’ve played all the tunes in the set at some point.

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Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast 21 – song feature

Play Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast 21
We’ve made the decision to make our Scottish music podcast a fortnightly affair however the question was should it be different from the usual podcast at the start of every month. Well the answer we came up with was yes and what we’re going to do is feature a different kind of Scottish music in our mid-month broadcast. I’m sure you will have guessed from the title that this month we will feature on Scottish song – that is Scots, Gaelic and English, all very popular in today’s Scotland.

The show starts off with Only One Way from Karine Polwart’s Faultlines CD. This CD was massive when it came out and won Karine many fans and awards especially at the Radio 2 Folk Awards. It has many great songs on it including ‘The Sun’s Comin’ Over The Hill’ which won an award by its self at the aforementioned awards. This album got Karine onto the Radio 2 playlists which gave her career a massive boost and gained lots of exposure.

The next CD is by Daimh from their latest release Crossing Point. This is their third release and the first with Calum Alex MacMillan as the lead vocalist. He adds and extra facet to this great instrumental band and being a well known singer in his own right probably a few more fans. The song I chose is Mo Nighean Chruinn Donn. All the musicians in the band are great and the fiddle Gabe McVarish is particularly excellent. I loved his playing on their previous CD The Pirates of Puirt and his self penned tune ‘Supernose’ (great title).

The next CD is from Julie Fowlis, currently the Gaelic singer of the moment. She really has a great voice and her latest CD Cuilidh has done really well. I was amazed and very pleased when Julie won the Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2008 as I reckoned a Gaelic singer wouldn’t have a chance in hell of being voted top in a UK poll full of English speakers. It shows how well she is doing and the progress of her career. The song I’ve chosen is Mo Ghruagach Dhonn.

We’ve added a new feature to the mid month podcast and that is an interview with a leading Scottish musician. For this broadcast we chose Mairi Campbell, half of singing duo The Cast whose version of Auld Lang Syne was featured in this years Sex and the City movie. I say featured but it was practically a cast member coming it with 3 minutes of solo playing time. Brilliant! You can hear Mairi talk about it in the podcast and their new album Greengold. I’ve chosen their self-penned song ‘Smile Or Cry’.

I’ve finished up the podcast with a track from Kris Drever’s debut CD Black Water. I love this album and its songs and its performances and its production. It’s a real class effort. It has won lots of awards as well. I’ve known Kris for a while and always enjoyed his humour and musicianship. I remember him telling me that when he arrived in Edinburgh from Orkney he managed to catch Ronni Size (one of the forefathers of drum ‘n’ bass, a particular favourite of mine) playing a gig in Le Belle Angell. This was right at the start of drum ‘n’ bass and an amazing find of a gig. His music is very open minded which I’m sure influenced his band Lau (with Aidan O’Rourke and Martin Green).

Anyway that’s it for just now. Keep up with all the Foot Stompin’ news and CDs with our fortnightly newsletter.