I’ve wanted to record a solo album for a few years now. I started speaking to some friends and other musicians who had undertaken recording projects of their own. Everybody I spoke to was very supportive giving information about how they had recorded and from that I had a better idea of the options I had to go about recording my own project. I wanted to record the album as live as possible to maintain a real life feel about the music with plenty of energy and push and pull within the tunes.
I was very fortunate to secure some Creative Scotland funding towards the end of 2012 to help towards the costs of creating the album. From very the very early stages, I knew what instruments and musicians I wanted to guest on the album and had to organize the recording week in conjunction with everybody’s availability which wasn’t an easy task. Like myself, many of the musicians guesting on the album are members of touring folk bands and one also lives in NewYork City so there wasn’t much of a window for everybody to get together beforehand for rehearsals. Nevertheless tunes were exchanged by emails and we all found a free week in April (2013) and descended on Chem19 recording studios in Blantyre, just south of Glasgow. The guest musicians on the album are all fantastic players and good pals who I’ve been lucky to have played gigs and sessions with over the years. The mix of instrumentation was chosen to try and be as complimentary to the music as possible with all acoustic instruments used on the recordings.
The musicians featuring on the album are:
- James Duncan Mackenzie – Highland Bagpipe, Wooden Flutes, Whistles
- Matheu Watson – Guitar – www.matheuwatson.com
- Sean Grey – Guitar – www.paulmckennaband.com
- Alasdair White – Fiddle – www.battlefieldband.co.uk
- Hamish Napier – Piano, Harmonium – www.hamishnapier.com
- Robert Nairn – Three row button key Accordion – www.robertnairn.com
- James Lindsay – Double Bass – www.breabach.com
The CD itself.
Design and photography by Somhairle MacDonald.
Matheu is originally from Strathpeffer and plays a pile of different instruments although just guitar on this album. I first played with Matheu in 2006 when we were class mates at Benbecula college studying traditional music. We also travelled to Brittany in the summer of 2011 to play at Festival de Cornouaille in Quimper which was a fantastic experience. We met loads of great Breton musicians and even learned a few Breton tunes!
Sean is from Ayrshire and is a member of the Paul McKenna band. He actually plays flute with Paul’s band but plays guitar on my album. Sean and myself first gigged together at Celtic Connections in 2011 where we performed at a televised concert alongside Paddy Kennan and Fred Morrison.
Alasdair is from Tong in the Isle of Lewis which is just a couple of miles away from where I was brought up in Back. He’s a member of the Battlefield band. I’ve played with Alasdair a few times over the years at various tune sessions and at a couple of concerts and projects as part of the Hebridean celtic festival.
Hamish is from Grantown and was actually one of my teachers at the RSAMD. I first played with Hamish in Boston, USA as part of a group called Atlantic Seaway. The group was a collaboration made up of Traditional music students and teachers from the RSAMD, Strathclyde University and Berklee College of Music in Boston. We played a mixture of Scottish and bluegrass music and gave performances at the New Hampshire Highland Games which is one of the several largest Highland games in the USA.
Robert Nairn is from Ardnamurachan and was one of my class mates on the traditional music course at the RSAMD. He leads a fine highland dance band who play in village halls all around Scotland. I’ve been lucky to have been a part of his band on several occasions and also played a few tunes with him on his own debut album a few years ago.
James Lindsay from Inverurie is one of my fellow band members in Breabach. I first played with James at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival as part of a group called ‘Ceol Mor’ which was made up of around 30 young musicians from Scotland, Canada and the USA. At that time the musical director was Harris Playfair and it was a fantastic week of music and craic with pieces especially commissioned for the group by some of Scotlands top composers.
Jamie Savage engineered the record and it was a great pleasure working with him. We worked some long hours but got the whole album recorded in seven days (six consecutive days, a day off and then the final day) I was keen to record the album like this to make it almost like a photograph in the sense that it has captured a moment in time. The way that we played that week is exactly what you hear on the album. Everything is recorded pretty much as live and I think that you can really hear this live edge about the music.