16 September 2019Ancient and modern music follows path to St Andrews

A Wanderer's Way comes to Byre Theatre, St Andrews on Thursday, September 19.

A musical pilgrimage from Scotland to Spain, A Wanderer’s Way brings together four of the UK’s best medieval musicians to present music and song from both ancient manuscripts and more modern sources.

Although all four are schooled in early music, each has experience across a wide repertoire and range of work.

Vocalists Clemmie Franks, Victoria Couper and Michael Solomon Williams between them have sung with flamenco groups, major orchestras, Blur’s Damon Albarn and jazz vocal master Bobby McFerrin and their accompanist, Icelandic-born multi-instrumentalist Arngeir Hauksson arrived at medieval music via punk rock, classical guitar and jazz.

Arngeir also sang in a college choir in Reykjavik, which led him to classical, renaissance and baroque music, before moving to London to finish his post-graduate studies in guitar and lute.

Much of this experience will filter into a concert exploring nature and spirituality as the quartet journeys from the British Isles to the Iberian Peninsula.

14 September 2019Budapest Cafe Orchestra take Eastern European metres for miles in Scotland

The Budapest Café Orchestra are touring in Scotand again this coming week.

As long-time BCO watchers know, truth can be stranger than fiction when it comes to this troupe. While the Eastern European credentials of some of these emusicians, who specialise in head-spinning Balkan music and fleet fingered gypsy jazz, may or may not be the result of some gentle leg pulling, their bass player, Kelly Cantlon can genuinely claim to have followed the man who laid down the bass line for Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy into 1960s soul sensations Jimmy James & the Vagabonds.

Kelly became a Vagabond in 1970, the year Phil Chen (Rod the Mod’s bassist) left, and some say that it was ideal preparation, in name alone, for working with the BCO. Alongside jazz violin virtuoso Chris Garrick, Adrian Zolotuhin on guitar, balalaika and saz and Eddie Hession, one of very few accordionists who have accompanied both Pavarotti and Chris Rea, Kelly guarantees fun and musicality wherever BCO go.


Tour dates:

Sun Sep 15: Swallow Theatre, Newton Stewart

Mon Sep 16: Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh 

Tue Sep 17: Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

Wed Sep 18: New Deer Public Hall

Thu Sep 19: Birnam Arts Centre

Fri Sep 20: Byre Theatre, St Andrews

Sat Sep 21: Johnshaven Village Hall


Budapest Cafe Orchestra


13 September 2019Tulsa-born troubadour Talley brings authentic Americana on rare UK visit

Encouraged by Pete Seeger, mentored by legendary talent-spotter John Hammond, and given his first recording contract by Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, folk-blues singer-songwriter James Talley arrives for this rare visit to the UK with weighty recommendations.


James Talley


Talley was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and moved with his family to Richland, Washington and then Albuquerque, New Mexico before finding a job as a caseworker at the Tennessee Department of Human Services in Nashville. While studying Fine Art in Albuquerque he had started writing songs, drawing on the culture of the Southwest. Too true to life for Nashville tastes at the time, his songs still found favour with Johnny Cash and B.B. King guested on Talley’s third album, Blackjack Choir.


Moby has since recorded Talley's She’s The One as Evening Rain and there’ll be plenty more slices of authentic Americana on these tour dates:


Fri 13th - St Mary's Inn, Morpeth

Sat 14th-  The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen

Sun 15th - Radio Rooms, Tweedmouth, Berwick upon Tweed.

Mon 16th - String Theory, Tower Mill, Hawick

Tue 17th - The Royal Oak, Edinburgh

Wed 18th - The Taybank Hotel, Dunkeld.


20 August 2019SAY shortlisted pianist, Fergus McCreadie kicks off new Linlithgow concert season

Award-winning young jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie opens a new season of Red Door concerts at St Peter’s Church in Linlithgow on Thursday, September 19.

McCreadie, whose debut, Turas, won the Best Album title at the Scottish Jazz Awards this year and has just been shortlisted in the Scottish Album of the Year Award, will be playing in a duo with David Bowden, the bassist from his internationally acclaimed trio.

The pianist has also been shortlisted in the Best Newcomer and Best Album categories of the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, which are now the UK’s most prestigious jazz honours. He previously won Best Instrumentalist at the Scottish Jazz Awards in 2018 and his trio, which features drummer Stephen Henderson alongside McCreadie and Bowden, won the much-coveted Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize in 2016.

Following McCreadie, the Red Door programme welcomes Romanian singer-songwriter Lizabett Russo, English folk singer-guitarist Chris Wood, adventurous fiddle and harp duo, Catriona McKay & Chris Stout, and father and daughter Martin and Eliza Carthy to the beautifully refurbished St Peter’s.


Fergus McCreadie (photo by Morgan Shaw)

19 August 2019Saxophonist Tommy Smith continues Edinburgh venue's 40th anniversary celebrations

Saxophonist Tommy Smith plays the third of four concerts he is giving during the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh’s fortieth anniversary celebrations this year when the group he formed in dedication to his greatest influence, John Coltrane, plays the venue on Thursday October 17.

Smith, who was appointed OBE for services to jazz and education in this year’s New Year Honours List, has had a long association with the Queen’s Hall, having celebrated his twenty-first birthday there in 1988 with a concert that featured him alongside top American duo Chick Corea & Gary Burton.

The Tommy Smith Quartet: Embodying the Light was formed in 2017 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Coltrane's death and Smith's own fiftieth birthday. He gives a solo saxophone concert to complete the series on December 19.

"The Queen's Hall has been a regular venue for me throughout my career," says Smith. "I can remember aspiring to play there as a young musician and it's been a great pleasure to work there with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra as well as my own bands."


Tommy Smith (photo by Derek Clark)

10 August 2019Top Scottish jazz musicians set for new Leith concert series

Popular Edinburgh promotions Jazz at St James return on Saturday 21st September with guitarist Kevin Mackenzie’s trio opening the autumn series.

Mackenzie, who has worked extensively in both jazz and folk music, recently released his enthusiastically received The Ballad of Future Joe album and his group, which features Mario Caribe on bass and Doug Hough on drums, will be playing music from this recording at St James.

Exciting young pianist Fergus McCreadie’s trio follows on Saturday 26th October. McCreadie and his rhythm team, bassist David Bowden and drummer Stephen Henderson, have been serial award-winners in recent years.

Among their collective successes have been the coveted Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize in 2016 and the Best Album title at the Scottish Jazz Awards 2019, while McCreadie won Best Instrumentalist at the Scottish Jazz Awards 2018 and Bowden won the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year in 2017. Bowden and Henderson also won the Peter Whittingham Jazz Prize with the band Square One and Henderson was chosen as a Jazzwise One to Watch in 2018.

The last concert in the Jazz at St James autumn series, on Saturday 16th November, sees the New Focus Duo – pianist Euan Stevenson and saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski – present their Classical Connection examination of the common ground between jazz and classical music. At the recent Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival this won them a five-star review from Keith Bruce of The Herald.

Jazz at St James concerts take place at St James Scottish Episcopal Church in John’s Place, Leith. Tickets cost £12 (£8 for under 16s) and are available from 08749 509407 or



Kevin Mackenzie


05 July 2019Jazz, folk and theatre lined up for Eyemouth

Eyemouth Hippodrome has lined up an international programme comprising jazz and roots music and theatre for the second half of 2019. The Berwickshire venue presents French jazz guitarist Alex Grenier’s trio on Thursday July 11 and Scottish harper Karen Marshalsay in a Sunday afternoon concert on August 25.

English singer-songwriter Kirsty McGee, saxophonist Matt Carmichael’s quartet, pianists Alan Benzie and Fergus McCreadie’s trios, guitarist John Goldie, folk singers Jenny Sturgeon, Andy Irvine and Jim Moray, jazz singer Louis Dodds and theatre company Two Destination Language are all scheduled to play in the former seaman’s mission on Eyemouth’s harbourside.

Fergus McCreadie Trio due in Eyemouth in December (photo by Morgan Shaw)



24 June 2019Fife country house hosts music and theatre events

Hill of Tarvit Mansion House near Cupar in Fife has announced a series of music and theatre events running from July to September.

The National Trust property, formerly home to the Sharp family, stages a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing by the acclaimed Three Inch Fools touring company on Sunday, July 14, with music by rising star composer Stephen Hyde.

Leading Scottish harper, Karen Marshalsay plays music from her new album, The Road to Kennacraig, on Friday, August 23, playing all three Scottish harps – gut-strung, wire-strung and the sitar-like baroque bray harp.

Guitarist Kieran McCrossan and flautist Lynn Fraser follow with Spanish, Argentinean and French music on Saturday, September 20.

“We’re really pleased to be bringing music to the house,” says Geraldine Graf, hospitality and events manager. “It’s especially interesting to have the bray harp as it probably won’t have been played in the grand hall as it stands today but it may well have featured in the tower that stood on this site back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”


Karen Marshalsay (photo by Kate O'Sullivan)


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