Category Archives: Music

Texas launch new album with video


You may be struggling a little to get tickets to the two outdoor shows in Kelvingrove Park this July as they are already sold out, but they are playing other dates in different places.

Texas return with a new video to accompany their anthemic single ‘Tell That Girl’. Written and produced by Texas founders Johnny McElhone and Sharleen Spiteri with Karen Overton joining them in the studio following their successful collaboration on 2013’s The Conversation, Tell That Girl is a soaring modern pop song and the second single from the forthcoming album ‘Jump On Board’, out on 21 April 2017.

Filmed in a few hours at The Poetry Club in Glasgow (owned and programmed by Turner Prize nominated artist Jim Lambie) the band is joined by Game Of Thrones star Rory McCann (The Hound) on drums, along with Sharleen revisiting her former adopted home city, Paris.

One of the album highlights and a certified pop hit, the track powers along with punky guitars and more than a passing nod to classic British New- Wave.

Other shows later in the year :

Mon 11th CARDIFF, St Davids Hall
Tues 12th CAMBRIDGE, Corn Exchange
Weds 13th OXFORD, New Theatre
Fri 15th IPSWICH, Regent
Sat 16th SHEFFIELD, City Hall
Sun 17th LONDON, Royal Albert Hall
Tues 19th LEICESTER, De Montfort Hall
Weds 20th GRIMSBY, Auditorium
Thurs 21st YORK, Barbican
Sat 23rd EDINBURGH, Usher Hall
Sun 24th DUNDEE, Caird Hall
Mon 25th INVERNESS, Leisure Centre
Weds 27th NEWCASTLE, City Hall
Thurs 28th MANCHESTER, Bridgewater Hall
Fri 29th LIVERPOOL, Philharmonic Hall

Sun 1st BIRMINGHAM, Symphony Hall
Mon 2nd NOTTINGHAM, Royal Concert Hall
Tues 3rd SOUTHEND, Cliffs Pavilion
Thurs 5th LLANDUDNO, Venue Cymru Theatre
Fri 6th BRISTOL, Colston hall
Sat 7th PLYMOUTH, Pavilions


Distant Voices – EP written by prisoners and musicians

Castle Huntly-25

Distant Voices, a project which has developed songwriting in Scottish prisons in an innovative exploration of punishment and reintegration, will be launched officially on Monday, November 9.

The studio EP “Distant Voices: Silent Seconds” will be launched at the CCA in Glasgow on Monday, November 9, at a gig featuring Louis Abbott, Emma Pollock, Donna Maciocia, Andrew Howie and a number of other musicians, showcasing a full set of songs written collaboratively with prisoners. Until then you can listen to it here. 

Songwriters Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow), Emma Pollock (The Delgados), Rachel Sermanni, Andrew Howie, Donna Maciocia and Jo Mango have worked with prisoners, former prisoners, criminal justice social workers, criminologists and a prison officer to write songs, in workshops called The Vox Sessions. The sessions have thus far produced over 100 songs. The gig is the main event in the Distant Voices festival at Glasgow’s CCA running from November 5-9. They have been recorded at the Chem19 studio, under the musical direction of Louis Abbott.

Distant Voices is a partnership between Vox Liminis, a charity established two years ago, and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), with funding from the Scottish Prison Service, the University of Glasgow and the Economic and Social Research Council.

The EP is already attracting national radio play ahead of release, with radio presenter and Deacon Blue frontman Ricky Ross commenting: “Listen to these songs not because it’s such a worthwhile project, though it is, but because you’ll love them. ‘Breathe Life’ will become one of these songs I’ll treasure for a long, long time.”

One of the prisoners involved in the workshops said: “Everybody’s kinda been through the same in here, either losing family or missing people and letting people know that you love them and all that kind of stuff. And for a guy it’s hard to express that, so that’s how it’s good to do it through music.”

A prison officer involved in the project added: “I think something like this shows you that when we actually all put it down together and write about our experiences, my experiences personally and emotionally are no different to what the guys have been writing about.”

Vox Liminis Director Alison Urie said: “Crime is at heart an emotive topic, but the way we deal with it often ignores the human aspects for everyone involved. Offending both stems from and results in emotional impact for many people – perpetrators, victims, the families of those imprisoned, and staff in prisons and community justice. Songs provide a way to share stories and thoughts that connect with each other’s humanity, and help us to see beyond the prevailing narrative of ‘goodies and baddies’.”

Fergus McNeill, Professor of Criminology & Social Work at the University of Glasgow, explained: “This project was developed in response to research showing that punishment in the criminal justice system is often poorly understood, and that ex-offenders often struggle to stop reoffending because the effects and stigma of punishment often extend far beyond the formal end of sentence. People with convictions are often locked out of employment, housing and social participation; and these are the very things they most need if they are to keep out of trouble.“

“It makes little sense for the criminal justice system to invest in rehabilitation programmes if we are not prepared as a society to allow people to move on. What we are trying to do with Distant Voices is to see if we can challenge those attitudes and maybe open doors for ex-offenders.”

But the songwriting may also play a part in helping participants to express and develop themselves, according to musician Donna Maciocia: “The people we worked with said that the experience had made them feel humanised again, part of something, and gave them a meaningful focus whilst in prison. Many would go away between sessions and return with pages of lyric ideas they’d been writing. And for me it has been one of the most fascinating, intense, beautiful, challenging, boundary pushing and rewarding projects of my career.”

Louis Abbott, lead singer of Admiral Fallow, who has delivered a number of The Vox Sessions and produced the “Distant Voices — Silent Seconds” CD said: ‘The standard of songs have been scarily good especially considering most of those involved are writing for the first time.’

The work also involves building a growing community of former prisoners, criminologists and others working in the criminal justice system that continues to meet to eat, make music and build connections. One former prisoner, now regularly writing songs, commented: “Without being too dramatic, seriously, it has been to an extent life changing for me. I’m happier than I have been for a long time and Vox has played a significant part in that.”

Justin Townes Earle launches UK tour at Òran Mór


Justin Townes Earle today releases his companion album to 2014’s acclaimed Single Mothers, an LP of brand new material entitled Absent Fathers. Featuring 10 new tracks, the album forms the second half of a once intended double album. It was previously announced that Earle would release “Call Ya Momma” as lead single from the collection. 

With a full UK tour kicking off at Glasgow’s Òran Mór on 17 January and signing off at London’s Union Chapel on the 6th of Feb, the Americana maverick will be playing tracks from both and more at the shows (full dates below).

Both albums were recorded live with his four-piece touring band with only days of rehearsal leading up to recording to keep the ideas fresh. Tracks “Picture in a Drawer’ and ‘It’s Cold in This House’ are only Justin, his guitar and his pedal steel player Paul Niehaus.  Justin Townes Earle is the the son of iconic country musicican Steve Earle.

On arguably his most raw, yet lyrically personal and refined material to date Justin addresses the issues of his troubled former years with a brutal conviction. 

Single Mothers was released on September 9, 2014 / Absent Fathers is released today via Loose Music.

17 Jan GLASGOW, Oran Mor (Celtic Connections)

18 Jan GATESHEAD, Caedmon Hall

19 Jan MANCHESTER, Band on the Wall

03 Feb LEEDS, Brudenell Social Club

04 Feb NOTTINGHAM, Glee Club

05 Feb BRISTOL, The Tunnels

06 Feb LONDON, Union Chapel

Classical review: RSNO Takeover in concert, 17 June (****)

RSNOTakeover concert

It was never going to be an ordinary concert. Tuesday’s early-evening performance from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (or, strictly speaking, a larger-than-normal band expanded with quite a few unfamiliar faces) came at the end of a two-day Takeover project, where almost all of the orchestra’s departments – from planning to production, marketing to development, and, of course, musical performance – were gleefully hijacked by 40 16 to 18 year-olds from right across Scotland. It was all in the name of education and new audience engagement, of course, and it was the first time that the RSNO had dared such a thing. And judging by the beaming faces of youngsters and RSNO staffers alike, it worked a treat.

Two hectic days of meetings, discussions and intensive decision-making culminated in the hour-long concert for friends, family and invited guests, performed by the RSNO regulars whose ranks were swelled by several young players. A decision had been made to break with classical tradition and invite the orchestra on stage section by section – an interesting approach that highlighted the sheer number of musicians, even if it ironically seemed to set up its own formality.

Isla Ratcliffe conducting

After introductions and explanations of what the various groups of students had been up to, RSNO assistant conductor Jean-Claude Picard launched into a sparkling account of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus Overture, showing off the big, rich sound of the enlarged RSNO but balancing it with a subtle nimbleness in the quieter sections.

Then came a surprise, as two novice (or almost novice) conductors took to the podium for movements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Isla Ratcliffe from Edinburgh took on the Overture and March, giving a crisp, clear beat that some professional conductors could learn from, and ably stressing the phrase shapes with her eloquent gestures. Alice Guse from Glasgow, who directed the Chinese and Arabian dances as well as the Russian trepak, took a Boulez-like chopped-hand approach, but was no less effective for that, the orchestra following every movement in her precise direction. It no doubt took guts to stand in front of 100 professional musicians and tell them what to do, but there was little sense of the orchestra simply playing the music their own way – the players hung on the two young conductors’ moves and responded with vivid, characterful performances.


Jean-Claude Picard returned to the platform for the concert’s final item, a beautifully (and appropriately) fluid account of Smetana’s much-loved river evocation ‘Vltava’ from Ma vlast, with confident contributions from student bassoonists Beth Beattie and Andrew Vettriano, as well as resonant timpani playing from Brodie McCash.

It was billed as an elaborate work-experience project, but the two-day Takeover was far more than that. By offering the students the opportunities to control all the orchestra’s activities, but then expecting them to rise to the challenge with little sense of a safety net, the RSNO showed great faith in the abilities and commitment of its young invitees. And that faith was more than repaid in a highly memorable evening of music.

Radio 1’s Big Weekend: Saturday 24th May

Glasgow has forever been hailed the home of proud Scottish behaviour. Rowdy, good fun and filled with camaraderie, it only seemed natural that Europe’s biggest free music festival set its next footsteps in Scotland’s largest city.

Tickets for Radio 1’s Big Weekend were released in March and snapped up at uncontrollable speeds, due to the popularity of the acts and the free ticketing policy the BBC has operated since the festival began. A total of 50,000 people arrived at Glasgow Green over the weekend, eager to take advantage of the arrival of massive music names on Scottish shores.

* * * * *

Radio 1’s broad spectrum of listeners invited a varied crowd to the first day of the event. In a very clever effort to get people through the gates early in the day, boy band of the moment One Direction opened the main stage.

One Direction
Whether or not you enjoy their music, the sheer number of people who had heard of One Direction and their fan base resulted in a packed main stage. The crowd was varied, from young children on their parents shoulders, to twenty/thirty-something year old men there just to experience the 1D mania. They had an undeniable stage presence; brilliantly bold urging the crowd to sing along (as if they needed any encouragement). Reeling off hit after hit, you realise that although their music may not be made to appeal to everyone, it inadvertently does. They’ve been responsible for one of the most recognisable music catalogues of the 21st century, and when performed live, it translates to an unassailable crowd pleaser. They are The Beatles of the internet generation, and with Harry Styles misted in a Jagger-esque aura, the mass hysteria you experience is entirely justified.

Hailing from New Zealand, Lorde has gone from writing music in her bedroom to performing to huge international crowds, all before turning eighteen. Her subdued set early on Saturday afternoon was nothing short of beautiful, as she took to the stage in high waist black trousers paired with a white vest. She looked and acted like she meant business. Delivering highlights from her brilliant debut ‘Pure Heroine’, she jolted and swayed her hair in perfect sync to her music. It was like watching a teenage girl dancing around her bedroom, unrestrained as though no one was watching. In turn it felt affectionate and intimate. She feels her music, and reverberates that to every corner of the audience. One of the most touching moments came as she introduced ‘Ribs’, a song she wrote when she was fifteen and realised the inevitability of growing old. She looked out on to a packed crowd, and smiled. She may only be a young woman, but her stage presence and lyricism reflects that of somebody near three times her age. Lorde was Big Weekend’s most innate and expressive performer.

His name has been attached to every one of the world’s most popular songs in the past eighteen months. As expected, all of Pharrell’s recognisable hits propped up in his perfectly slotted set on Saturday afternoon. Opening with the Daft Punk collaboration ‘Lose Yourself to Dance’, he started subdued with subtle groove provoking a swaying crowd. His vocals, whilst there, were barely audible. Perhaps this was an issue with sound (I was near the back of the crowd, and his voice has more intricate flare than booming power), but the half recognisable record was not necessarily the best choice for an opener. Saying this, he ploughed his way through his impressive repertoire of music, dropping in cuts from his latest album including Marilyn Monroe and Happy, and some of his older work. His most bizarre performance came in the form of Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl, a song Pharrell wrote and produced under his early noughties power group, The Neptunes. It got the crowd going, but Pharrell’s effort was questionable on that part. His band, choreography and backing singers were on point, but maybe a little bit more passion from the man himself would work better as a festival gig.

Calvin Harris
Both sub-headline slots on the main stage were filled by Scottish music heroes at the weekend. Whilst Paolo Nutini brought soul to the stage on Sunday night, the world’s highest paid DJ performed on Saturday, setting off pyrotechnics and smoke flares aplenty. Bombastic, non stop and relentless, Harris reeled of his catalogue without a duff note in between. It was an atmospheric, standard set for the DJ. He delivered what the crowd wanted, but was a little afraid to drop something unexpected. Nothing overly boring, nor earth shattering – just standard EDM affair.

Undoubtedly, the most astounding feat of Big Weekend came with Coldplay’s euphoric headline set. Delivering some of the most incredible stage work the city had seen, they effortlessly soared through a rather short set for the stadium band, but included all of their best work and the obligatory new ones. That’s the thing, though. The crowd was more than willing to listen to their new music – it’s as wonderful as the classics. As the lights stretch out as far as you can see, and twisting LED dandelion seeds fall from the sky, you realise that although the spectacle is there, it isn’t necessary with Coldplay’s immense catalogue and charisma. Seeing them live is a mindblowing experience, and as Chris Martin watched the 25,000 strong crowd sing the hook of ‘Viva La Vida’ back to him, it might just be the same for them too.

Munro’s open mic night

Munro’s bar, in the west end of Glasgow, has launched a new open mic night hosted by singer songwriter sensation Tommy Reilly providing a new platform to showcase local talent.

The 24-year old, who got his break after winning the Orange Unsigned Act competition on Channel 4 before rocketing to the top of the Scottish charts with ‘Gimme A Call’, will host the weekly event every Tuesday at 9:00pm.

Munro’s, located on Great Western Road, offers a great range of quality craft and cask ales as well as some of the best beers from around Scotland and the world.

The open mic night is free to enter and open to everyone, of any age and any ability, with the aim of bringing together the musical community of Glasgow.

Go on, have a go – you know you want to!

Gig review: Mr McFall’s Chamber, Viva Tango, Jam House Edinburgh (****)

Tango Group shot 1

It might have been baltic and monsoon-like outside, but inside Edinburgh’s Jam House, Mr McFall’s Chamber had created a sultry, convincingly South American atmosphere for their Viva Tango night of music and dance, their capital stop in a short Scottish tour.

It helped the authenticity that the ad hoc classical-based ensemble was joined by a few key interlopers – most of all, the wonderfully supple, ringing voice of regular collaborator Valentina Montoya Martínez, a Chilean singer-songwriter (now based in Scotland) who performed a selection of her sensuous songs in the first half.

‘Tango de la espera’ brought out real bite from the five-strong string section to accompany Martínez’s intricate vocal line, and ‘Versos’, her account of the Chilean military abducting her father when she was a young girl, had touching passion.

Mr McFall's Chamber - Maria de Buenos Aires - Thu 16 May 2013 - The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh (Photo Credit - Andy Catlin) -0078


Two other players stood out among the fine ensemble. French tango violinist Cyril Garac gave strong, characterful contributions throughout: he was in the spotlight for Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Vandarito’ with some remarkably expressive playing, swooping and sliding all over the place, and attacking his lower strings with a rich, intense vibrato.

And young French bandoneón player Lysandre Donoso, although somewhat hidden among the rich ensemble texture, delivered nimble solo work as well as cutting jabs and interjections that reinforced the group’s rhythmic bite.

The few numbers by Argentinian tango king Piazzolla stood out somewhat among Martínez’s songs, but all were conveyed with impeccable class and style. And in the second half, a dance set of classic tangos, waltzes and milongas from the 1920s to the 1950s gave Edinburgh’s finest the chance to show off their footwork – with impressive results. The pre-concert dance class that was on offer had probably helped – and there were more opportunities for movement in the milonga DJ set that followed.

Mr McFall’s Chamber’s Viva Tango concert tour continues in Glasgow tonight and Stirling tomorrow Saturday 9 November, with pre-concert dance classes and late-night DJ sets also on offer.

85a Collective goes to Edinburgh

Chernozem image

Glasgow-based group 85a is ready to make its Edinburgh debut at Summerhall next month.

The sound, art and performance collective stages elaborate happenings which are part art installation and part theatrical event, with elements of music, film and puppetry thrown into the mix. On 6th December Summerhall will play host to the premiere of Judd Brucke’s industrial-horror film ‘CHERNOZEM,’ a film which the group claims will cast “a cinematic shadow as trenchant and visceral as they come.”

The event will culminate in the ‘Renegade Maskerrade’  party – a mixture of live performances, music and DJs featuring Glasgow band Jacob Yates & The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers.

For further information about 85a check out their website:

Hard Rock Rising 2013

Hard Rock Rising is a battle of the bands competition and they are looking for the next big band . The worldwide competition is coming to Edinburgh at Hard Rock Cafe in the city’s George Street they are looking for bands/artists from all over Scotland to take part and new talent can win music equipment valued at  around £6,000 as well as shoot a music video and embark on a world  tour.

Any artist interested can register on the Edinburgh Hard Rock Cafe  Facebook page, where fans will decide who can move on to the live performance rounds. Registration ends January  21. Once the favourites have been selected they will perform at The Hard Rock Cafe in front of a panel of judges at the venue who will then decide who wins and will then be representing Scotland and be up against the winners from all the other Hard Rock Cafe’s participating throughout the world. The winners will then be narrowed down to a Top 25 and a panel of  judges will decide the overall winner.

More than 12,000 bands entered Hard Rock Rising and nearly one million votes  were cast by fans around the globe in 2012 with the Edinburgh event being won by local group The Asps.

The overall winner of the competition will play a world tour in cities including Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong,  London, Chicago and Honolulu, arranged by Hard Rock International, as well as  record an album with Hard Rock Records.

Entries must be received by 21st January 2013.


For more information or indeed to enter please follow the links below:!/hardrockcafeedinburgh?fref=ts


May The Best Band Win!

Sixth Avenue Traffic Interview

Glasgow based rock band Sixth Avenue Traffic are headlining a big gig on Christmas Eve at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in the city.

Chris Thompson (Vocals), Chris Gould (Guitars and Vocals), Kirsten Stevenson (Bass) and Jordon Lang (Drums) are finishing off a huge year for the band, from playing Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands in Edinburgh back in March to releasing their debut EP Whisper, Smile and Wave to a packed house at the Classic Grand. Playing a major gig at King Tut’s 2012 rounds off a busy and successful year for this great band.

Here Barry Dickson interviewed them about the past year, Christmas Eve and what 2013 will bring for the band and their ever growing fan base.

Sixth Avenue Traffic Interview by Basher1969 on Mixcloud

To find out more about the band go to: