Rab Noakes announces new album

Welcome to Anniversaryville released on Friday 13th July 2018

Rab Noakes
Photograph by Brian Aris

In February of 2017 Rab Noakes performed a well-attended, highly-acclaimed concert, with his ‘70/50 in 2017’ band of musicians at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, as part of that year’s Celtic Connections festival. That concert, its songs and its players form the backbone of this record. The songs are mostly by Rab and span nearly 50 years of songwriting from ‘Together Forever’ [1969] to ‘It All Joins Up (In The End)’ [2017]. They form a sequence which contains interpretations of songs from a diverse range of sources from Scots traditional to Scots Gaelic to Al Jolson to Doris Troy to Pee Wee King to Marijohn Wilkins.

The band members are a rich mixture of people, some of whom Rab has worked with before and some he hadn’t. Some of them had played together before and some hadn’t. They are Stuart Brown – drums; Christine Hanson – cello; Jill Jackson – guitar, singing; Kathleen MacInness – singing; Una McGlone – double-bass; Lisbee Stainton – 8-string guitar, banjo, singing; Innes Watson – fiddle, guitar, singing. A broad range of songs was chosen, and rehearsed, for the concert. It was an easy decision to reach to arrange to visit the recording studio on the weekend immediately following it. Over those three days, the backbone of this record was laid. Some of the songs were performed live in the studio.

Some were laid as backing tracks. New tunes, awaiting lyrics, were laid and Welcome To Anniversaryville  was well underway. In no hurry, so not using up a large amount of days, John Cavanagh, Stephy Pordage and I were in John’s upstairs room, in Muirend, with musicians coming to complete this work. Sometimes they were alone, at other times there were two, even three, of them at a time. Guest musicians appeared such as Davie Craig – fiddle, singing; Alex Gascoine – violin; Sue McKenzie – baritone plus soprano sax and Emily Tse – bass trombone. In time the seventeen tracks were worked on to a satisfactory conclusion.

Rab says, “It’s all too easy for artists to believe their latest is their best work. It’s seldom true and, in any case, it takes time for that to be proved. In this case though, for me, it may well be true. The quality of the contributions from all involved, the attitude and sound achieved alongside the subject matters of the songs and their provenance does seem to add up to something. I always strive to make a record only I can make. I leave it to you to put that to the test”.

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Artist’s website: http://rabnoakes.com/

‘Jackson Greyhound’ – live with Jill Jackson:

Amy Duncan announces her sixth solo album

Amy Duncan

Antidote is the adventurous 6th album by singer/songwriter Amy Duncan. There are elements of pop folk, with harp and sparse acoustic guitar in an open tuning. Saxophone, drums, bass and odd time signatures in places add a slight jazz feel, with warm synths, layered vocals and field recordings from the city adding an overall contemporary sound.

The songs are diverse, from the dark and strange ‘The Severed Head’, to the hopeful and positive ‘Steady The Bow’. Amy’s signature pure, honest vocals connect through the songs in what is a truly special record.

“I recorded most of the album at home with no one else around, and felt a freedom of expression which reminded me of how I worked with my first two albums Pilgrimage (2006) and Story Of A Girl (2007). I had the time and the privacy to work and develop ideas until they felt right to me. It was great to know that Calum Malcolm would be mixing and mastering it, and bringing all the sounds to life, so I was free to create whatever I wanted. I had a lot of fun walking around Edinburgh making field recordings of sounds from all over the city. You can hear these sounds weaving in and out of the songs.

There is a vibrancy and sense of hope in Antidote. I was searching for a cure, a way of being, that could move beyond the depressive cycle. The songs are linked together by the theme of overcoming adversity in health and life. Knowing the past cannot be changed, it is ultimately about moving forward, with the intention to choose to live life in a positive way. “

Antidote is available to pre-order through Pledge Music where there is also the opportunity to find some original artwork, lucky bags, greetings cards and other merchandise not available elsewhere.

Amy’s previous releases include the albums Cycles Of Life (2013 Linn Records) and Undercurrents (2016) both of which were produced by Calum Malcolm and funded by Creative Scotland.

Antidote features Sue Mckenzie (saxophone), Fiona Rutherford (harp), Lawrie Macmillan (bass), Amy Duncan (keyboards / guitars / double bass) and Liam Bradley (drums).

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Artist’s website: amyduncan.co.uk