Iain Thomson announces new album with Marc Duff

Iain Thomson and Marc Duff

Iain Thomson along with long-time friend and musician Marc Duff will release a new album entitled No Borders.

No Borders includes eleven new self-penned songs and features multi-instrumentalist Marc Duff, who also produced the album, along with guest musicians Gordon Maclean (bass), John Somerville (accordion), John Saiche (bass) and Hannah Fisher (fiddle, backing vocals).

The album is a collection of songs that are both personal and topical but still very much rooted by experiences of life in rural Argyll. Iain is now in the process of emigrating to Sweden and starting a new life and a new language, a process that will surely inspire new songs for the future and perhaps another CD.

Title track ‘No Borders’ is about what drives folk to jump on a boat run by money driven people with no regard for human life. They have no idea what awaits them at the other side of the ocean but they feel it must be better and safer than what they are leaving behind. The dilemma that faces refugees today is also very similar to the plight of the people during the Highland clearances when they boarded the ships with few possessions to emigrate.

Other notable songs on the album include ‘The Glendale Martyrs’; much of the aforementioned Highland clearances took place without much resistance from the crofters. However, in Skye the crofters refused to pay rents and the people fought on many occasions with sticks and stones when the factors tried to administer force and arrest. The main leader of the rebellious crofters was John Macpherson of Glendale. The publicity created by this led to great support for the crofter’s cause and eventually led to the crofting act that gave crofters security of tenure.

‘Winter Winds Blow’ is inspired by Iain’s main income as a fencing contractor – a job that has taken him to some amazing places. This song tries to encapsulate the beautiful surrounding landscape and wildlife, the thoughts that go through the head when working a lot on your own and just the sheer physicality of the job in sometimes harsh conditions.

Iain was brought up in Dumfries and started learning the piano at age seven. By the age of 15 he moved on from the discipline of classical piano to take up the guitar and singing. He moved to the Isle of Mull in 1986 to run a large hill farm and became known as the “Singing Shepherd” after producing two successful tapes of self-penned songs. In 1996 he left Mull spending seven restless years driving trucks and playing in bars. Due to changing circumstances and an almost magnetic draw he returned to Mull and his rural roots and started a fencing and sheep shearing business. 2010 would see him release the album Field Of Dreams to critical acclaim, an album of twelve self-penned songs and tunes.

Marc Duff is known primarily for co-founding the notable Celtic band Capercaillie with whom he has toured extensively and made many successful recordings.

His time spent at the Guildhall School of Music has given him an eclectic taste in music and a distinct style of playing which has kept him in demand as a session musician and a teacher.

Since leaving Capercaillie in 1995 to pursue his own career, he has worked with many prominent artists, playing low D whistle, Bodhran, bouzouki and wind synthesizer and now with the uilleann pipes bringing a whole new dimension.

Marc has performed and recorded with an eclectic array of artists from many different musical genres including Def Shepherd, Fish, Iain Morrison, Dick Gaughan, Billy Bragg, Wolfstone and as a soloist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performing music for the BBC series A History of Scotland.

Notably Marc was nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2008 Scottish Trad Music Awards. As well as being a very accomplished musician Marc has proved to be a very talented producer.

Artists’ website: www.iainthomsonband.co.uk

‘The Winter Winds Blow’ – live: