Scottish Writers and Musicians Pair Up: Presence of Bagpipes Uncertain
Idlewild closed their 2002 album, The Remote Part with a track that included a poem recited by poet Edwin Morgan, who wrote it for the song.
Idlewild singer Roddy Woomble has expanded upon that idea with his Ballads of the Book album and concert.
The concept for the album is intriguing: a variety of Scottish writers, from novelists to poets, wrote song lyrics for musicians to interpret. Woomble secured funding from the Scottish Arts Council, and attracted a stellar line-up on both the literary and musical side. (If the album sells well, maybe we'll see not only more Scottish albums, but a copycat album or two from other countries. Psst, Irish Arts Council, look what some clever Scots are doing.)
Among the tracks on Ballads: a song called "A Calvinist Narrowly Avoids Pleasure" by James Yorkston and Bill Duncan, a new song by Idlewild and Edwin Morgan, and a song by Norman Blake (of Teenage Fanclub) and John Burnside. Both Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat, formerly of Arab Strap, also contributed tracks; Middleton's with Alan Bissett, and Moffat (with "The Best Ofs") had lyrics by Ian Rankin.
A Ballads of the Book concert has been, well, booked for January 30th at 8 PM during the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. The show will include performances from the album as well as other works. Tickets cost £12.50.
There are other opportunities to catch many of the Ballads performers during the Festival in some nifty-sounding shows, such as a Karine Polwart and Seth Lakeman concert.
The Festival also includes a series of "come&try" workshops offering different sorts of musical instruction. If you've always wanted to learn how to play the mandolin, clarsach, or accordion, and you're anywhere near Glasgow, why not?
Ballads of the Book Track Listing:
1. Mike Heron (formerly of The Incredible String Band) & John Burnside - "Song For Irena"
2. De Rosa & Michel Faber - "Steam Comes Off Our House"
3. James Yorkston & Bill Duncan - "A Calvinist Narrowly Avoids Pleasure"
4. Foxface & Rody Gorman - "Dreamcatcher"
5. Lord Cut-Glass & Alasdair Gray - "A Sentimental Song"
6. Aidan Moffat And The Best Ofs & Ian Rankin - "The Sixth Stone"
7. Norman Blake & John Burnside - "Girl"
8. Karine Polwart & Edwin Morgan - "The Good Years"
9. Sons and Daughters & A L Kennedy - "The War On Love Song"
10. Alasdair Roberts & Robin Robertson - "The Leaving"
11. Strike The Colours & Rody Gorman - "Message In A Bottle"
12. Aereogramme & Hal Duncan - "If You Love Me You'd Destroy Me"
13. Malcolm Middleton & Alan Bissett - "The Rebel On His Own Tonight"
14. Trashcan Sinatras & Ali Smith - "Half An Apple"
15. Vashti Bunyan & Rodge Glass - "The Fire"
16. King Creosote & Laura Hird - "Where And When"
17. Emma Pollock (formerly of The Delgados) & Louise Welsh - "Jesus On The Cross"
18. Idlewild & Edwin Morgan - "The Weight Of Years"
The Incredible String Band - Koeeaddi There (available on The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter)
James Yorkston and The Athletes - Shipwreckers (available on Just Beyond the River)
Sons and Daughters - Start to End (available on Love the Cup)
Teenage Fanclub - Don't Look Back (available on Grand Prix)
Idlewild (feat. Edwin Morgan) - In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction (available on The Remote Part)
MP3s of De Rosa's "Mend", The Delgados' "Blackwell", and Arab Strap's "Where We've Left Our Love" at Chemikal Underground Records