Growing Stronger with the Stamping Ground
PLUS - History (Courtesy the Artist's site, 2005).
The phenomenon of Runrig should have been no surprise, really. In hindsight, their statement of intent, to take Gaelic music out to the masses, was there right from the very beginning when they played their very first gig - in the capacious Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, no less, home to indoor athletics, major exhibitions and a legendary Kinks album.
Back then, in 1973, Runrig was a trio comprising brothers Rory and Calum MacDonald, on guitar and drums respectively, and accordionist Blair Douglas. Playing music was something to do in their spare time and it would stay that way for the next five years.
In 1978, however, the band moved on a to higher plain altogether with the release of their first album, Play Gaelic, for Glasgow-based Lismor Records. By this time Blair Douglas had long since departed to make sweet music of his own, including the brilliantly eclectic A Summer in Skye. His replacement, Robert MacDonald, no relation to Rory and Calum, joined around the same time as another arrival, singer and guitarist Donnie Munro.
The response to Play Gaelic, and to their increasingly busy live performance schedule, convinced the band that they were on to something. Calum and Donnie gave up teaching, Rory abandoned a career as a graphic designer, and guitarist Malcolm Jones, who had joined along the way, left university. They formed their own label, Ridge Records, and in 1979 they released Highland Connection to a receptive public.
"We'd always had the idea that Gaelic could cross over and be accepted in a different environment, not just at home in the Highlands and Islands," says Calum. "And although the songs reflected the Gaelic tradition, particularly on the third album, Recovery, a concept album which dealt with the social history of the Scottish Gael, we weren't a folk band."
Indeed, the sound was much bigger, more powerful and wider ranging than folk music and it became more so with the arrival of drummer Iain Bayne, then keyboardist Richard Cherns, an Englishman who remained with the band until 1986, when he left and was replaced by the former Big Country member Peter Wishart. Sadly, at this time, Robert MacDonald, who had fought a long battle with cancer, died.
At this point the band was poised for a further move up the ladder. A brief, abortive flirtation with a London-based record company saw them releasing their fourth album, Heartland, under their own Ridge imprint. But as they continued to build their audience through constant and increasingly farther flung touring, associating with a major label became inevitable for them to reach their full potential.
1987 was a signal year for several reasons: they toured Canada for the first time; they made their first appearance behind the Iron Curtain; and in August, they supported U2 at a mammoth outdoor gig at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. They also released The Cutter and The Clan, which was instantly re-released when they joined Chrysalis Records the following year.
Momentum was really building now. Once in a Lifetime, released in 1988, caught the excitement of their live performance on record for the first time. The follow-up, Searchlight, went straight into the UK charts at number 11 in 1989, and 1990 was barely thirty minutes old when Runrig started to cause a fuss - their live Hogmanay performance from George Square attracted unprecedented television viewing figures and fans jammed the BBC switchboard with calls.
Five sold-out nights at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall followed later in the year, confirming the band's pulling power, and their City of Lights video charted at number 7 in November.
1991 saw their eighth album, The Big Wheel, enter the UK charts at number 4 and their single Hearthammer take them into the UK Top Forty for the first time. Their history, Going Home, as told by journalist Tom Morton, also hit the shops running and their Highlands and Islands tour caused mayhem. The biggest excitement, however, came when 45,000 people flocked to Loch Lomond to see the band perform under the skies.
Success was becoming almost routine now. Their Amazing Things album won the British Environment and Media Album of the Year award in 1993. An Uhbal As Airde, originally an advertisement for Carlsberg lager became, in 1995, the first Gaelic song to reach the UK Top 40 and on one spectacular day that year they supported the mighty Rolling Stones in Schuttorf, in Germany, and immediately flew to Jubeh where they, in turn, were supported by Mike and the Mechanics.
Through all this, though, Runrig has always kept a strong, personal link with its fans and when the end of an era came in 1996 with the departure of Donnie Munro, they decided to mark the occasion with a 'best of the story so far' collection, Long Distance, for which their fans chose the track list.
"Donnie had been becoming increasingly interested in politics," says Calum, "and towards the end of the Mara tour, he said he was leaving. We didn't want to make a statement about it for quite a time because there might have been a change of plan and after time to reflect, we might all have wanted to call it a day. But we decided to continue because we felt that we still had something to give."
As Donnie went off to stand in the 1997 General Election - running unsuccessfully against the Liberal Democratic Party's leader-in-waiting and coincidentally a big Runrig fan, Charles Kennedy, the search began for his replacement.
This was no easy task - nor was it quickly resolved, but presently a front man was found in the big voiced form of Nova Scotian singer-songwriter Bruce Guthro whose appearance on In Search of Angels in 1999 and subsequent live da tes saw him welcomed into the Runrig fold with open arms.
The Stamping Ground, released in May 2001, consolidates the relationship and sees Runrig moving forward with the involvement on the song Running to the Light of S„o Paolo-based Scot, producer Paul Mounsey, who recorded his own individual interpretation of the band's song Alba on the first of his splendid Scottish-Brazilian-techno crossover albums, Nahoo.
For Calum, The Stamping Ground, stands alongside Runrig's best albums. "When we were putting it together, I often thought that parts of it touched on the Recovery album from twenty years before. As soon as we heard Bruce, we new instantly there was something special there and bringing him in has really been a new start for us."
"Of course, a lot of the reason for carrying on had to do with our audience and how loyal they were to us," he adds. "Although it's changed here and there over the years, inevitably, as some drop off and others come in, we've always had a terrific fan-base. There's still some of the hard-core support that has been with us all along. Some of them now bring their grandchildren."
c. Liz More, May 2001
The original Run-Rig Dance Band, performed for the first time as a three piece in 1973 at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. The line up consisted of Rory on guitar, Calum on drums and Blair Douglas on accordion.
Donnie joined the band the following year to add vocal support. Later Blair left, and they were then joined by accordionist and old school friend Robert Macdonald, who sadly lost his life in 1986, after a long battle against cancer.
Up until 1978 the band had been a part time/student occupation, and it was in that format that the debut album, Play Gaelic was recorded for the Scottish based Lismor Recordings. After that tentative step they felt that they should and could set up their own independent record company to allow them the freedom, both financially and creatively to record the more ambitious second album.
It was a time of great risk and challenge, but indeed that has been the story of Runrig's whole existence. Ridge Records was successfully formed and the band took on full time professional status. Malcolm was cajoled into giving up a brilliant university career, Rory, a graphic designer, designed his last masterpiece for the ad. agencies, and Donnie and Calum, being teachers couldn't run out of the school gates fast enough. In 1979 they went into the studio and recorded The Highland Connection.
The band sound was now filling out, and there was a need to extend the musical parameters. The rhythm section was bolstered up by the addition of Fifer, Iain Bayne, taking up duties on the drum stool, with Calum moving on to percussion. This was to be the line up that recorded the classic Recovery Album in 1981.
Recovery was very much a concept album, dealing with the social history of the Scottish Gael, and tapped into the evolving fightback for the Gaelic language and culture that the band was so much a part of. It is from that environment, musically, physically, emotionally and spiritually, that the core of Runrig's substance originated.
After Recovery, the band felt the need to spread its wings away from the Gaelic heartlands to reach the elusive wider audience that seemed to be taking an interest in the music. Although by no means a traditional folk band, the songs reflected the tradition, and it was gratifying to find that foreign audiences now seemed to be lending a passionate ear. Musically, it appeared that Gaelic could cross over and become accepted in a totally different environment.
Once more there was the need to extend the musical parameters, this time by stepping up to a six piece, employing the services of Englishman, Richard Cherns, on keyboards. There was the dilemma of whether to stick with Ridge Records or go out in search of major recording contracts. The latter was embarked upon, but the time was not right, and the record company in question was wrong for the band. A brief but abortive association with a small London outfit followed, when the pitfalls of commercial dictate on artistic creativity were experienced fully. The final result was that the band was back on Ridge, but only after a long protracted contractual delay, after which, in 1985, the fourth album, Heartland, was finally recorded.
Richard left in 1986 to work in theatre and his place was duly taken by another Fifer, in the shape of, ex-Big Country, social worker, Peter Wishart. And so to the classic Runrig line up, which was to endure for the next decade. 1987 was very much the breakthrough year. Highlights included a highly successful trip to Canada, a first trip behind the Iron Curtain to play a festival in East Berlin, a live concert broadcast on ITV, a support to the newly crowned champions of rock and roll, U2, at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, and the release of The Cutter and the Clan.
The album was a huge success for the Ridge label, taking Runrig from cottage industry to national prominence, and at this point it became obvious that the band had outgrown the label. The time was now right to sign to one of an increasing number of major Record Companies beginning to show an interest in the band. Chrysalis Records with its ethos of independence and roster of musical integrity, became natural bedfellows. In the summer of 1987 Runrig signed a major international recording contract, and it was to be the start of a whole new approach to the life and work of the band.
The Cutter and the Clan was immediately re-released on Chrysalis, quickly followed by the long awaited live album Once in a Lifetime. 1989 saw the release of Searchlight, which went straight into the National Charts at 11, followed by a seven country 50-date tour of the UK and Europe, culminating at the Glasgow Barrowlands with a concert recorded by STV for a future video.
The new decade opened with a bang. Barely 30 minutes into the wee small hours the band took the stage in Glasgow's George Square, headlining the BBC's Hogmanay show. A one-hour documentary was made for STV from the Barrowlands concert and aired in May. The response was overwhelming. The STV switchboard was jammed for hours, and the programme attracted unprecedented viewing figures for the station.
1990 also saw the release of the EP Capture the Heart, which entered the National Singles Chart at 49. The opening of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow presented an opportunity to play multiple nights. The result was five sold out concerts. The long awaited video, City of Lights was released in November, entering the National Charts at Number 7. The year was completed with the Alba tour. Quite a busy year one would think; but much more was to come.
There are busy years and there are hectic years and then there was 1991. To list all the events could not convey the complete shift in gear experienced by all those connected with the band, but to give some idea. The eighth and most successful album, The Big Wheel, went straight into the National Charts at Number 4. The open air concert at Balloch Country Park, Loch Lomond, followed, with 50,000 people gathered on the famous site, for what was to prove to be an incredible occasion and the undoubted highlight of Runrig's career. The Highlands and Islands tour brought them back to home ground with a huge circus tent in tow. The single Hearthammer broke into the National Top 40 for the first time, entering at Number 25. Two outdoor concerts on the Edinburgh Castle esplanade attracted huge media interest, the Big Wheel tour went international. Another single, Flower of the West was released, and Tom Morton's book Going Home finished off the year on a high. It immediately became a Scottish best seller.
1992 saw Runrig working hard in the studios again, as well as making a number of major festival appearances throughout Europe. Fans saw the band open twice for Genesis. Once at Hockenheim, Germany, and again at Roundhay Park, Leeds. Fans across the ocean in Canada were given the chance to see them play in Toronto and Montreal, and on that tour they set foot in the USA for the first time, to film in New York with STV for the forthcoming documentary Air an Oir.
On August 24th a new video, Wheel in Motion, was released, featuring live footage from the memorable Loch Lomond concert, the Highlands and Islands tour, Edinburgh Castle and various European dates throughout 1991. Wheel in Motion went right to number one in both the regular, and music video charts, and stayed there for eight weeks. At the same time they continued working on Air an Oir with Graeme Strong from Scottish Television. That film was aired on New Year's day, thus kicking off 1993 in the right direction.
November 1992 saw Runrig back in Castle Sound Studios, Pencaitland, to record the next album, which was completed by the end of January1993. The single Wonderful was released first, followed by the album Amazing Things. The album was to achieve the highest ever chart position, entering the Gallup Chart at Number 2 missing out on the top slot by only one Gallup point. Wonderful and the second single Greatest Flame were both performed on Top of the Pops due to their chart success. The rest of 1993 was to be taken up with promoting the album, and a return to live performance. The Amazing Things tour was to be the most extensive ever, and by the time of the final show at the Barrowlands on December 22nd, the band had performed 99 concerts.
Theatres in Germany and England were toured twice, and other notable performances included the Irish, London and Scottish Fleadhs. Finland became a new territory, when they played at the Turku Festival in August. Back home the Big Top was taken out again and a short Castle and Canvas tour was undertaken, culminating in an enjoyable return to Edinburgh Castle Esplanade in September. A high point during the year of Amazing Things was when the album won the award for being the British Environment and Media album of the year.
After drawing breath and taking a bit of a rest, 1994 was set aside as a year of writing and planning for the next recording. A live album was pencilled in for the end of the year, and the next studio album planned for 1995. In order to record the live album the band started looking for imaginative outdoor venues to play throughout the summer, and so Tarlair in North East Scotland, Koln in Germany and two nights at Stirling Castle were duly performed and recorded successfully. The final night of the Amazing Things tour in Barrowlands, Glasgow, was also recorded for inclusion on the live album.
After a brief visit to Canada, Transmitting Live was released in November 1994, and followed by a December, Scottish tour, culminating in a live Hogmanay TV transmission from Princess Street Gardens, Edinburgh.
The New Year of 1995 saw Runrig on the recording trail again, and after a period of writing and rehearsal, headed off to the seclusion of Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire for one month in April to start the recording process. The Mara sessions continued throughout late spring and summer in the more familiar surroundings of Castle Sound Studios near Edinburgh.
One very pleasant interlude to the recording process was the release of the single An Ubhal As Airde. Having been used as the music for a Carlsberg TV advert, it became a focus of much public interest and demand, the final result being the band's highest ever chart single position of Number 18, and another appearance on Top of the Pops. The most satisfying aspect of the song's success was the fact that it was the first Scottish Gaelic song ever to make it into the Top 20.
In June an escape from the studio was undertaken to play a series of festivals and concerts in Europe. In particular, the first big outdoor concert to 20,000 people in Germany, at Loreley on the banks of the Rhine. Before the European shows the band played support to Rod Stewart at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen, and towards the end of August, a surprise call to open for the Rolling Stones in Schuttorf, Germany, was welcomed. That day was particularly significant in that it entailed playing twice, when later on that same evening they played their own concert in Jubek, supported by Mike and the Mechanics; so some adroit planning and a fast jet was required.
The new album Mara was released in the autumn, followed by another massive promotional tour of Europe and the UK. The first single Things That Are charted in the Top 40, and they were back in their now regular slot on Top of the Pops. The Mara tour was the most ambitious to date as far as production values were concerned, and for many of the fans, these shows were the most enjoyable ever.
After Mara was toured and brought back to harbour, everyone felt that the band was very much at a cross-roads, and it was time to think about the future in all their personal and collective aspirations. Donnie was getting more involved in the political process and enjoying it, seeing a future in politics as a logical stepping stone away from Runrig. Although everyone knew this, nobody was quite prepared for his announcement towards the end of the Mara tour when he informed everyone of his momentous decision to quit the band at the next practical point in time.
The band then entered the most uncertain and disruptive period in its whole history. They did not want to make any public statement for quite some time in case there might be a change of plan, and also so that everyone could have time to reflect and come to terms with the whole scenario. Somehow they had all thought that the final Runrig line-up would have been the one that had been around since 1986, and that when they did eventually decide to call it a day, it would be a decision that they would all collectively make at the same point in time. The only definite decision that the rest of the band could make at this time was whether to continue or not, and the feeling was very much that of continuation, and to embrace the changes no matter how significant.
In the meantime the practicalities and the ongoing work of the band had to continue. No matter what lay ahead, they were coming to the end of one era for the band, and along with the record company it was decided that the time was right for a Best of Runrig collection.
It would have proved impossible for the band to choose the final track listing, so they thought that it would be a great idea for the fans to do the choosing, through the fanclub, and this they did in their thousands. It became a fascinating exercise in market research, for an album that was very much for the fans, and was now chosen by the fans.
Long Distance was released on 7th October, charting at Number 13, and a long and enjoyable tour was undertaken throughout the autumn of '96 and the spring of '97, stopping off once more to perform at what was now established as Europe's biggest street party in Princess Street Gardens, Edinburgh. The first single from the album was a cover of Rod Stewart's Rhythm of My Heart, which was recorded towards the end of the Mara sessions for possible inclusion in the film Loch Ness.
The final Long Distance show was in Bielefeld on the 12th of March, and from there everyone all came home to pursue individual projects, and to reflect on the realities that lay ahead. Donnie was off on the General Election Campaign trail, having accepted the nomination to stand for the Labour Party in his home constituency, where he came past the post in second place to the sitting member, Charles Kennedy; who incidentally is a big Runrig fan.
Malcolm was taking a rest from Runrig music to throw himself into various projects of his own, while Rory and Calum were enjoying the relative luxury of working on new material without the pressure of impending deadlines and specific objectives.
All at camp Runrig were waiting until the General Election was out of the way before finally making a public announcement about Donnie's future, and the band also felt that the first people to be informed ought to be the fans, through the fan club magazine. Unfortunately, with all the press interest that Donnie was accumulating during the Election campaign, the media was awash with speculation and rumour, and eventually, Castle Aberdeen had no option but to let down the drawbridge for the ensuing media siege, and go public.
Then it was time for practicalities again. Donnie's departure would have to be marked in some way, and all were aware that they had been promising a long awaited outdoor Scottish summer show. Stirling was deemed to be the ideal venue, along with a short series of concerts in Denmark for the European fans, and a couple of nights at the central location of Manchester for the English support. Eventually, the Stirling show stretched to three nights, and a German concert was added with a revisit to Tanzbrunnen, Koln, where part of the live Transmitting album was recorded.
The final shows with Donnie were emotionally draining for everyone involved, but they were a most fitting way to celebrate the end of one era of the band's existence, and for Donnie to say his personal farewells.
The second last night was filmed for a late autumn video release and although it has proved very popular with all that came to these shows, it could never totally capture the emotion and spirit of the occasion. The final show on the Saturday night was undoubtedly the most moving and significant concert that the band had ever staged.
The winter of 1997 arrived with the band down to a 5-piece and starting the onerous task of auditioning for the vacant position, feeling the withdrawal symptoms of not being involved in the annual Christmas tour, but none the less encouraged and challenged for the next stage of the journey.
Sighthill, Edinburgh '87-'97
1998 was the year that marked the band's 25th anniversary, and to celebrate the occasion they started work on a project that many fans had been asking about for quite some time. A collection of all their Gaelic tracks on CD. The recordings were collated, digitally re-mastered, and eventually released as The Gaelic Collection on the Ridge Records label in May.
The early part of 1998 was taken up with more auditioning, and although there was the continuing frustration of no positive outcome, the band knew that they were prepared to wait in order to get the right result. By now work had started on the next studio album, and by early summer the album was well under way, and sounding very exciting. After such a difficult and stressful time for everybody involved, things were slowly getting back to normal again, and the music was embracing the changes in a very positive way.
The long search for a new singer was finally drawing to a close, and by mid July the band were finally able to go public with the announcement that Bruce Guthro from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, was to be the next person into the Runrig fold. Bruce had come to everyone's attention towards the end of the auditioning process and after hearing his voice at the initial audition, they knew instantly that they had something special on their hands. The new Runrig era had well and truly begun. He came back across the Atlantic shortly after to record six of the songs on the album, and although the album would not be released until March 1999, the fans were desperate to hear the new line-up in the live situation. The first show was confirmed as being the Tonder Music Festival in Denmark at the end of August, with a short Runrig, The Next Stage tour pencilled in for the autumn and winter. Unbelievably it now looked likely, that after much uncertainty, the band could make it into the millennium, recharged, refreshed and with as much enthusiasm for their musical mission as ever before.
Bruce's first show was a bit of a nervous affair all round, but a resounding success nevertheless, and his popularity and total acceptance was confirmed during the short Next Stage series of concerts. Bruce was completely bowled over by the warmth and support he received from the Runrig fans.
The album, In Search of Angels was released at the beginning of March 1999 and it was pleasing to see Runrig back on its own Ridge Records label in the UK, and able to command a Number 26 slot in the national charts. The single, The Message, was released one week before the album, and although it received a lot of airplay, it was relegated from the singles chart, because the rejuvenated Ridge label had not realised that industry rules had changed with regard to the single format. Too many B- sides had been included.
The album tour kicked off with two nights at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall before heading round the usual circuit. The second single Maymorning was released to coincide with the elections to the new Scottish devolved parliament on May 6th and was picked up by Scottish Television as the music to front their coverage of the event during the weeks leading up to the election. The album tour continued throughout the summer with a series of outdoor shows and festivals in Denmark and Germany.
By now the oncoming millennium and its associated hype, was all that seemed to be on everyone's mind. The band seemed natural candidates for the role of Hogmanay entertainers, having been over the course and distance many times. Many offers were considered but it was deemed appropriate these particularly significant bells should be taken in with a Highland audience, in Inverness, the Highland capital.
January saw the band perform for the first time at Glasgow's now prestigious folk festival, Celtic Connections. The show was a resounding success, and it was recorded for release as a CD, Live at Celtic Connections. This, along with a video release, Live in Bonn, gave many fans that had not yet been able to see Bruce in concert with the band, the chance to hear the live sound of the new set up. By now Bruce's identity within Runrig was firmly established, and the previous era was further put to rest in December, with the publication of Flower of The West, The Runrig Songbook, a complete and comprehensive collection of all of Calum and Rory's songs, that have appeared on Runrig albums over the previous 25 years.
The road was now clear for the next recording, album number 16, studio album number 9. Because Bruce had come on board half way through the recording of the Angels album, it was now good to start on a project that could have his input from the outset. The Stamping Ground was to go back to the roots, touch on the tradition again, re-affirm what the band has always been about and yet try and go to places musically that were contemporary and could sit easily on 21st century radio anywhere.
The process was started with an ethnic drum session at CaVa, in Glasgow, followed by a fortnight's lock out in Lundgaard Studios in Denmark, then back again to the mother studio in Scotland for the next few months. Constantly breaking the mould yet remaining true to the Runrig ethos, it involved input from Brazil in the shape of Celtic fusionist, Paul Mounsey, and production work in Denmark from new Runrig sound engineer, Kristian Gislason. The album was released in the spring of 2001, to unprecedented acclaim from the fans; so many of the opinion that this was the best Runrig album ever.
It was at this point in time that the band took another twist of personnel, and again it was as a result of a venture into the world of politics. Keyboard player, Peter Wishart stood as the Scottish National Party candidate for North Tayside at the General Election. He was successful, and that left the band once more booking out venues for the auditioning process. Thankfully, the quest did not prove quite so traumatic this time around. A young and gifted musician called Brian Hurren was suggested and soon unearthed on completion of his graduation from Perth Music College.
The Stamping Ground tour kicked off with two nights in a marquee on The Isle of Skye, and ran for six weeks. In Germany, the band performed on the legendary live TV show Geld Oder Lieben attracting what without doubt, was the band's biggest ever audience, of five million viewers. As a result of that performance, the German tour became a sell out, and the album acquired another first, reaching number 20 in the German National charts. Back in the UK the singles, Book of Golden Stories and Wall of China, achieved more national radio play that any previous recordings. Throughout the summer the Stamping Ground tour continued at various festivals and resumed in December with the Whisky and Gluhwein Christmas tour of Germany, where a live concert was filmed in Koln as part of the Rockplast TV series, for live transmition on both TV and internet.
With the new band set-up gaining confidence in the live situation, it was clear that a new era for Runrig had evolved. With thoughts very much towards 2003 and the bandís 30th anniversary it was decided to quickly get into the studio and produce a recording that would celebrate the event. Picking up on the strands that were successful on Stamping Ground the band booked into sound engineer Kristian Gislasonís studio in Arhus, Denmark, early in 2002 to begin the process. This was to be a milestone album and one that was very much about moving on, but at the same time recognising the 30 year anniversary. With this remit they again incorporated the influence of Brazil based musician, Paul Mounsey. After the success of Running to the Light, on Stamping Ground, Paul came back on board to put his own unique stamp on the arrangement and production. As part of the project he re-arranged two songs from the bandís 1981 classic album Recovery.
Proterra was recorded in 12 different studio locations around the world throughout 2002 and the spring of 2003. One poignant diversion from the recording process occurred in February 2003 when the band were presented with a Runrig CD that had been recovered intact from a field in Texas, as part of the wreckage of the Columbia Space Mission. The tragedy of the previous year touched many in the Runrig camp as the astronaut Dr. Laurel Clark had been a longtime Runrig fan, and had contributed to the Wire newsletter prior to the space mission. She had used the song Running to the Light as the wake up call for the astronauts from mission control in Houston. It was Laurelís husband John that presented the band with the framed CD. It was a remarkable and a moving story, and one that took everyone beyond the music for a while.
As the anniversary year of 2003 got going, all efforts were focused on the two events that were to be pivotal to the celebrations. The release of Proterra and the 30 year anniversary concert on the esplanade of Stirling Castle, both to occur towards the end of August. Throughout the summer on the festival circuit, the band played a set that reflected the anniversary year and included many of the older songs. But for the band, the fans and all concerned it was a case of all roads leading to Stirling. It was to be a huge occasion with so much personal significance for everyone involved with the band.
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