Over the years I have seen and heard a lot of folk musicians and bands, French, English, Irish and of course Scottish. Some have left me looking at my watch wondering how much longer they can drag out their show while others have left me spell bound with a brilliant blend of musicianship and stage presence.
When I saw Auld Hat - New Heids were due to play at The Fullarton I contacted Ian Bruce to seek permission to photograph the band. I first met Ian several years ago when he was recording Robert Shields’s first album at his studio just outside Castle Douglas, later on that year I also had the opportunity to photograph Ian during a solo performance at The Lochside Theatre, the venue has since been renamed The Fullarton.
Auld Hat - New Heids consists of four experienced Scottish folk musicians, brothers, Fraser and Ian Bruce, fiddle player, Pete Clark and accordionist Gregor Lowery. The show is billed as four musicians who have teamed up to present Scottish songs seldom now heard, but once the basis of the folk revival in the 1960’s and 70’s. The performers also hope to create a feel good factor and audience participation.
The lights dimmed in the auditorium and the performers made their way onto the stage and after a quick introduction of the members of the band in was time to get on with the first song, Doon in the Wee Room (Underneath the Stair). The band were hoping for a feel good factor and audience participation this was immediately achieved with the audience happily singing along in the chorus.
The evening was not just about singing Scottish folk songs it was about memories of folk clubs in the 60s and 70s with each song being introduced by Fraser who used a slideshow with photographs as he talked about the composers and performers he knew who had made each of the songs famous.
The evening was entertaining and informative and although some die hard folk experts may have already known all of the facts being delivered during the song introductions I am sure many including myself left The Fullarton with a bit more knowledge about the origins of some of the best known and loved Scottish folk songs.
The success of any live concert will always be judged by the audience and on this occasion it was obvious the high standard of musicianship displayed by these experienced musicians and the fabulous harmony work was appreciated by all those present. It’s always good to see performers interact with an audience who then become an important part of this successful show. I spoke to several members of the audience later on that evening, all of them had thoroughly enjoyed their night out at The Fullarton in the company of Fraser, Ian, Pete and Gregor.
This was an entertaining, humorous and informative evening in the company of Auld Hats - New Heids, a show you should try and see.