Annie grew up in the Highlands. Music played a large part in her formative years, and she began learning to play the bagpipes at the tender age of ten. Music Festivals and close harmonies with her four siblings gave her a solid grounding in singing and her wasted youth was spent marching up and down Fort William High Street with the Lochaber Junior Pipe band.
During her four years at Glasgow School of Art, she joined her first band, The Gunsmoke Trio and Pedro, achieving fame as buskers of great volume, outside M&S in Argyle Street. The Mighty Peelly Wally Ceilidh Band was her second group, which took up residency in the Vicky Bar. Then came the invitation to join a new band subsequently named Iron Horse.
Iron Horse became one of the acclaimed “new wave” folk bands of the nineties. The group was in huge demand, constantly touring and recording. They visited all corners of the world, headlining at major festivals including Vancouver Music Festival, Celtic Connections, and the Interceltique festival in Lorient. Annie’s voice became a feature of the band, as well as her ability to entertain audiences with her stories and infectious humour.
Musical projects with Iron Horse included the award-winning Voice of the Land (‘95) commissioned by the BBC, Stri (‘97) a collaborative fusion piece with the RSNO and tours with British Council projects in Central Asia. In 2002 Iron Horse collaborated with Sogdiana, the national orchestra of Uzbekistan, touring parts of the country, and producing a CD of the project.
Annie started to expand her musical horizons guesting on other albums with backing vocals or instrumentation. In 1998 she found herself surrounded by thirteen world music divas in the fantastic Female Factory show. Based in Amsterdam, this show toured Russia, Spain and Holland with a ten-piece band.
Other projects included Scottish Women 2001/2002, commissioned by Celtic Connections. Annie is also a member of the Scottish big band The Unusual Suspects, who were formed in Celtic connections 2003. This 22- piece band will be touring nationally again, in the autumn of 2005.
After Iron Horse retired in 2001, Annie’s acting ambitions came to fruition, and she performed in the award winning Accidental Death of an Accordionist (theatrecollective@highland), subsequently appearing in The Celtic Story (Wildcat 2001), The Wedding (theatrecollective@highland 2002), Homers (Traverse theatre 2002), the hugely popular Mum’s the Word (R.C. Kelly productions 2003), Miniatures (theatrecollective@highland 2004), her first one-woman show Poker Alice (Play, pie and a pint series, 2004) and Story Nation, four plays in four days! (Dumfries and Galloway Arts 2005).
In February 2004, Annie released her solo debut album Take me out drinking tonight to an overwhelming response, including a 5 star review in the Sunday Herald. The album, a sparkling collection of contemporary and traditional material, shows Annie at her mature and confident best, living up to her reputation as a superb singer and exponent of the whistle.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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