Scott Murray

Biography

Scott MurrayI'm a lowland Scot, brought up in Dunbar and Edinburgh. Music has always been an important part of my life – school choir, church choir (I'm sure the harmonies I hear and sing still come from that background). In the mid sixties when studying at Edinburgh College of Art I sang with a group, the Seventh Sons, at the Gamp, the Place, the International Club – we liked R&B, blues, jazzy stuff.

My musical life changed in the late 80s on the way to do some hillwalking in the Mamores, listening to Jimmie Macgregor on the radio. I heard Jim Reid singing Shy Geordie, then Rod Paterson singing My Nanie O. It was the first time I'd heard such music, and the first time I ever thought 'that music is to do with me, I'm connected to it.' Picked up my first folky cassettes in Perth the next day. I can still remember where I was when I first heard Sheena Wellington sing 'My Ain Countrie.'

At about the same time I met Anne, and she and I started our performing journey by doing floor spots at Kirkcaldy Folk Club. We were soon joined by Fiona Forbes, and the three of us went to folk clubs to do a spot in the hope of getting a gig. We'd phone and ask if we could do a four song mini set. That went pretty well and we got great encouragement from the likes of Danny Kyle (we did our first ever gig for Danny in the Attic Club, Paisley), Nora Devine, Hamish Bayne and Iain MacKintosh.  What confidence that gave us. Our seventh gig was at Edinburgh Folk Club, thanks to Frank & Jean Bechhofer, and Ian Green was there. He offered us the chance to record on the Greentrax label, and our first album was recorded with Ian McCalman in 1993 – Sangsters Begin (CDTRAX065). It got great reviews, and made it into the Scotsman's 'Cream of the Crop' that year. In the late 90's we added John Blackwood to the group, the only change in more than 20 years. We brought out a second album, Sharp & Sweet (CDTRAX207) in 2000. Sangsters have sung at clubs and festivals from Girvan to Hoy, from Melrose to Stornoway. We've sung in Germany and at the Celtic Colours festival in Cape Breton. We have never blown our own trumpet, but we're happy to let folk see what others have said of us:
“stunning close harmony...the tingle factor in spades” 
Folk Roots
“cream of the crop...stunningly good...a big warm sound that sucks you into the song”
The Scotsman
“…incredible…an emotion-filled performance that raised the hair on my head and led to a well-deserved standing ovation”.
Cape Breton Post

I've always written songs (40 years ago I would make up tunes for poems by Louis MacNeice, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson) and I would play them to myself on the guitar I paid 10 shillings for when I was still at college. I got much more confidence about songwriting through a New Makars Trust project in Fife. I worked with older folk in Ladywalk House in Anstruther and from their reminiscences came two songs, 'Guiding Light, Evening Star' and 'A Dyker's Compliments' both of which are on the aforementioned 'Sharp & Sweet.' Both get played on the radio occasionally (cheers Robbie!), and folk club audiences join in with and even request them, a source of great pleasure to me.

I have worked for the last 15 years on and off as a music tutor, mostly for the Scots Music Group in Edinburgh, with community singing groups as well as smaller classes. I think one of my main strengths as a tutor is giving folk confidence, and I'm very proud that some folk I've worked with have gone on to be respected performers themselves.

In 2010 – 2011 I worked on a Scots Music Group Creative Scotland Inspire Project, one of the highlights of my working life so far. I was lucky enough to land up working with the Bethany Trust/YMCA men's drop in in Leith. Gica Loening and I worked with a group of homeless/vulnerable men, and telling the stories of the men through songwriting became an important part of our work. Two songs on Evenin's Fa' come from the project - 'I Thought I Had No Voice' and 'We'll Follow the Music.' The men are an ongoing source of inspiration. We sang a little set of our songs at a Radical Voices gig in Leith, and Roy Bailey asked me to send him 'I Thought I Had No Voice' – I have an email from him saying he's learning the song, will perform it, and may even record it, with my permission, should he make another CD. Permission granted.

'It's about more than the music.'
Bobby McLean

Evenin's Fa - available now
©2012 Scott Murray website by mayfin.