You Should Have Been There…

From The Southern Reporter, December 01, 2011

There are some nights that remain fresh in your memory for years to come and last Friday at St Boswells village hall will be one of them for me, writes Alan Kinghorn.

It wasn’t because the hall was cold enough to freeze a brass monkey or that there was only a small but select group of music lovers huddled together for warmth round candles and glowing heaters. No, the reason the night will remain with me is because of the sheer class of musical entertainment.

Not only were we treated to some great local talent, including a superb symphony on viola and a surprise late acoustic slot from Gala’s Craig Jeffrey, but the official support slot was led by Berwick’s own musical troubadour, Iain Petrie. His songs of love and loss filled the hall with magic and mystery, and then there was an added treat when he invited two friends to join him on backing vocals.

Anna Emmins (lead singer with eclectic soul band Electric Penelope) was joined by her Mammatones bandmate Lizzie Bell and the sound they all created was nothing short of heavenly. Mouths were dropping open all over the hall as their blend of ‘Andrews Sisters’ harmonies took Iain’s songs to new heights. All all this before the main act hit the stage.

Boo Hewerdine is a singer / songwriter of immense talent. If you have never heard of him, you will have heard his songs made famous by Eddi Reader – think of all her hits and Boo probably wrote them. He also wrote for KD lang and other luminaries in this country and the US.

From the off Boo did away with the mics and PA, and came down from the stage into the audience, where we all gathered around as if it was a living room (all be it a cold one). In that intimate setting he took us through his greatest hits alongside some new songs, with us joining in, and it was a magic that continued well into the evening, till all too soon it was over and we left satisfied.

If you were there then I am sure you will remember that evening with a large grin on your face. If you weren’t then you missed something very special and you had better get your tickets early for the next St Boswells Live event because it is sure to be worth every penny.

(And by the next one, we’ll have heating!)


Music Clips from St Boswells Live!

All big venues and festivals make digital recordings of performances, just for the record and in case they can be used some time in the future. St Boswells Live! also makes digital recordings because we love to hear the music again.

Below are a few tracks taken from the desk so you can hear the wonderful things we have listened to over the past few months.

Kathy Stewart and the Frequent Flyers @ St Boswells Live!

Bill Muir and Seoras Ashby @ St Boswells Live!

Archie Fisher @ St Boswells Live!

Angus Gunn @ St Boswells Live!

Mairearad and Anna @ St Boswells Live!

Craig Bevan @ St Boswells Live!

NOTE: All relevant rights are retained by the performers and their publishers – this is purely for non-commercial purposes.

November 25, 2011 Show Information: Boo Hewerdine

Doors open at 7.30pm with the music starting at 8pm.

Tickets are available from St Boswells Post Office, and reservations can be made by calling Keith on 01835 822692. Tickets are priced at £10, with under-12s at £5 and under-5s free.

St Boswells NEW YEAR HOOLEY TICKETS are available at the door; this is the first place you will be able to buy them before they go on general sale.

Boo Hewerdine at St Boswells Live!

Taking centre stage at St Boswells Live! on Friday November 25th is none other than the brilliant singer and songwriter Boo Hewerdine.

Boo Hewerdine is widely regarded as a song writing legend, an artist with a musical C.V of international collaborations and hit songs that stretch over two decades and many genres.

His quiet outward personality is the perfect front for a man who can deliver tender heart-wrenching beautiful lyrics and as well as foot tapping upbeat arrangements.

Boo has written extensively for Eddi Reader, and produced Eddi’s album “Eddi Reader Sings the Songs of Robbie Burns”. He has also written for Natalie Imbruglia, Mel C, k d lang and Alex Parks amongst others.

Also playing on the night will be Berwickshire-based Iain Petrie, who played an open-mic set at St Boswells Live! earlier in the year and so surprised us that we booked him on the spot. Iain is very excited to be supporting Boo.

Doors open at 7.30pm with the music starting at 8pm.

Tickets are available from St Boswells Post Office, and reservations can be made by calling Keith on 01835 822692. Tickets are priced at £10, with under-12s at £5 and under-5s free.

Anna Massie and Mairearad Green at St Boswells Live!

We are delighted to welcome the superb folk duo of Anna Massie and Mairearad Green to St Boswells Live! on Friday 28th October. They will be supported by the exceptional singer and guitarist Craig Bevan.

Multi-instrumentalists, Anna Massie and Mairearad Green are a captivating duo. Providing a highly energetic performance with a warm and friendly stage appearance, this duo will engage any audience. Individually, they can be seen performing with a number of well-known artists such as The Poozies, Blazin Fiddles, Karen Matheson, Box Club, Eddi Reader and Karine Polwart, and together in Scotland’s one and only Celtic Big Band, The Unusual Suspects!

Both growing up in the Highlands with similar musical backgrounds, (most notably, mandolin playing Dads!) Anna and Mairearad share an innate understanding of Scottish culture and music. Having played together for 9 years, they have an intuitive approach to each other’s musical ideas and interpretations.

Anna was the winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2003 Award and since has a further array of nominations such as the “Horizon” award at the 2005 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and “Best Instrumentalist” at the 2005 and 2008 Scots Trad Music Awards. A talented multi-instrumentalist, she excels in playing the fiddle, mandolin and tenor banjo. Though perhaps most impressive is her guitar playing – equally at home either accompanying in her unique rhythmic style or flat-picking tunes, Anna’s dexterity shines through.

Originally from the Wester Ross village of Achiltibuie, Mairearad on accordion and pipes is one of Scotland’s finest musical exports. Known for her deft and lyrical accordion style and her innovative compositions, Mairearad is in great demand as a performer. Mairearad wrote the music for the short film “Sea of Glass” and many of her compositions are rapidly becoming popular session tunes. Among the favourites are “Maggie West’s Waltz” and “Dram Behind the Curtain.” Her piece “Passing Places” was hailed as “The third, final, and undoubtedly best of this year’s New Voices series” at Celtic Connections 2009.

Craig Bevan is a hugely talented singer-guitarist from Leeds who writes his own songs, but is better known for his brilliant cover versions of contemporary songs which he manages to make his own to such an extent that that version becomes the one that sticks in your head. St Boswells Live! spotted his talent and invited him up immediately; we are very excited to hear what he can bring to the live stage.

Doors open at 7.30pm and the music starts at 8pm with an open mic session (please contact us if you would like to play).

Tickets are £10 full price, £5 for under 12s and free for under 5s. Available from St Boswells Post Office or by calling Keith on 01835 822692.

September 30, 2011 Show Information

Tickets for St Boswells Live! “Americana Night” on 30th September, 2011, are available from St Boswells Post Office, priced £8 for adults, £4 for under 12s. Under 5s are admitted free. Reservations can be made by calling 01835 822692.

Doors open at 7.30pm (note new time) with the show beginning at 8pm.

A downloadable and shareable version of the poster is available by clicking on this link.

Kathy Stewart & The Frequent Flyers Headline Americana Night

St Boswells Live! is going to have a bit of fun this month as, on Friday 30th September, we will be holding an Americana Night – celebrating the huge range of music styles that have hailed from across the water over the last 100 years (Leadbelly anyone?)

Headlining the evening, for which we have a new opening time of 7.30pm, will be the wonderful Kathy Stewart and The Frequent Flyers (above). New York singer-songwriter Kathy Stewart has been delighting audiences on this side of the Atlantic with her thought-provoking and exciting style of Country-based music for many years.

Kathy’s song writing draws on many influences of American popular culture and other spectrums, resulting in her own distinctive sound. She has been sought after for her composing and arranging abilities and is well known for her harmony work on recordings by established artists such as Andy M. Stewart, Silly Wizard, Dick Gaughan, Davy Steele, The John Wright Band, and British Country artists, John Hinshelwood and John Miller.

The Frequent Flyers combines the talents of Kathy Stewart on vocals and guitar, Ken Kennedy on double bass, harmonica and vocals, and lead guitarist, Big Al Rae. Both Ken and Big Al currently play in the Peebles-based “Red Clay Dirt Band”.

Bill Muir and Seoras Ashby, who will be providing support, and no doubt mixing things up with the other artistes, need little introduction in the Borders. Both are stalwarts of the blues scene, and can be seen regularly taking the roof off at clubs around the area. Bill Muir played blues harp in the 60s with John Lee Hooker, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Jo-Ann Kelly amongst others. He was a co-founder of the Blue Hyenas and Driving Sideways. Bill remains one of the UK’s leading harpies. Seoras Ashby is a fine guitarist whose influences include Jimmy Vaughan and Frank Usher. We guarantee this duo will leave you wanting more!

Making up a packed bill for the evening will be Dull Fudds lead singer, Katie Forbes who is a consummate performer in her own right when not performing with the popular Borders band. Of Katie, one reviewer wrote: “The song writing perception, and distinctively amazing vocal deliveries of Katie Forbes, are as skilful as they are wittingly off-hand. What seems whimsical is actually forward thinking acts of catchy musical nous.” We are pretty excited to see what she will do with our all-American theme.

Tickets are £8 in advance or on the door, with under 12s £4 and under 5s free.

Archie Fisher to Headline in August

We have great pleasure in announcing that our headline act for August 26th, 2011, will be the wonderful Borders songwriter Archie Fisher. Master guitarist, singer and songwriter Archie Fisher is among Scotland’s foremost troubadours. Known widely for his 27 year stint as the host of BBC Radio Scotland’s award-winning “Travelling Folk” show, Archie has now returned to touring and the recording studio.

In recognition of his contributions to Scottish folk music, he was inducted into the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame and in 2006 and was awarded an MBE, for services to traditional music in 2007. The most recent recognition of his art came from the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in 2008 when he was granted the Tradition Bearers Award.

Archie was born in Glasgow into a large singing family, which yielded three professional singers, Archie and his sisters Ray and Cilla Fisher. Constant music combined with his father’s appreciation of many musical styles (opera, vaudeville, traditional ballads) proved to be a heavy influence on Archie’s musical development, while his mother, a native Gaelic speaker from the Outer Hebrides, was a strong influence on the lyrical quality of his singing and songwriting. Archie first became interested in folk music through the Skiffle era of the late 1950’s under the influences of performers such as Lonnie Donegan and Johnny Duncan. Later, the recording of the Weavers at Carnegie Hall also had a profound effect on his approach to music and his political outlook. He was based in Edinburgh during the 60s and 70s in the contemporary company of musicians such as Robin Williamson, Clive Palmer and Mike Heron who later formed the original Incredible String Band and was an early guitar colleague of Bert Jansch. Archie’s first self-titled album was recorded in 1968 with the now sadly departed pairing of fiddle and mandolin player John McKinnon and the renowned whistle and piccolo player John Doonan.

During the mid 1970’s he formed a long-term partnership with Dundee musician Allan Barty, which was later grafted on to the revived pairing of Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy. As well as performing as a backing musician and arranger for the Makem and Clancy duo, he also produced a series of albums with them. Meanwhile, Archie got involved in record production with the dynamic Scottish band Silly Wizard. During the 1980’s he turned his attention to freelance radio work and originated several series of documentary programs with his local station Radio Tweed. He then returned to the recording studio during what he describes as one of his most creative songwriting periods. It was around this time that he began a partnership with Canadian songwriter Garnet Rogers. They toured throughout North America together, and Garnet produced several of his albums including his highly acclaimed album Sunsets I’ve Galloped Into, which was released on Red House Records in 1996. Following the success of that release, Archie toured throughout North America, playing with John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. His current Windward Away release on Red House has already achieved widespread acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

Archie will be supported by the young, and prodigiously talented local singer, Angus Gunn. Angus already has a sizeable following in and around Galashiels where he performs regularly at other local clubs such as String Jam and Moondogs. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Tickets are available from St Boswells Post Office priced just £10. Under 12s are £5 and under 5s get in free. Tickets are likely to go quickly so if you would like to reserve in advance and can’t get to the post office then you can call 01835 822692.

Progress Report for August

As you can read on the About page, St Boswells Live! is a non-profit club that exists for two reasons. First, it is about bringing music to a community, and getting that community involved in the act of putting on and attending shows; this engenders an important sense of belonging that many communities (or, sadly, ex-communities) are increasingly lacking, with little to bring people together. Village halls and community centres play such an important part in this, and we are very lucky to have such a wonderful example to use.

Second, and closely related, St Boswells Live! has the side-effect of making a little bit of money for the hall we use, not just the monthly rental we pay (a peppercorn rent, really) but any profits made from the evenings are put back into the hall to help with its operation – paying bills, keeping it well-maintained and so on. We are also pleased to be hosting the annual Hooley – which has traditionally been just a disco-cum-party in the hall, but which will now also include a live band to take St Boswells into the new year.

So far St Boswells Live! is in the black, although it will take a few more successful evenings to ensure its long-term success, but things are looking good. The July evening, headlined by Jesse Rae (another stalwart of the St Boswells community, being a major part of the local community radio station, Brick FM and having also taken extensive video archive footage of St Boswells’ life) and supported by Caileen Hogg was reasonably successful, financially, and hugely memorable for everyone that attended. Prior to this, the June show with Carly Blain and Antic Hay put a nice bit of money in the hall coffers, and the audience came from all over to enjoy what our village has to offer.

Following the almost full opening night with Kieran Halpin, the “Open Mic” evening was a bit of a disappointment, but only in terms of audience size. We booked three of the acts to come back as support acts for future shows, so it’s always worth coming up on stage and having a go; you never know. This month we are hosting the wonderful Archie Fisher and expect a full house, so maybe we’ll also be able to afford some more lighting to give us more flexibility. Any donations or grants towards equipment, such as monitors and microphones are always welcome. Please contact us via if you can help.

Here’s to a great future of live music in St Boswells.