New Orkney band with harmony-laden tunes
Live music fans looking for some post-festive cheer this weekend will be able to check out the mellow tones of Orkney band Ragstone, who are playing two gigs in Lerwick in consecutive nights.
Supporting their debut album One of These Days, the four-piece – Dave Morrison (vocals, guitar), Amy Graham (bass), Russell Scott (drums, harmonies) and Andy Brown (keyboards) – will play their first Shetland show at Baroc tonight, followed by a private ticket-only performance in the boat hall of the Museum tomorrow evening.
Purveyors of grown-up pop music, Ragstone first got together in 2003 and provided support for Scottish indie darlings The Delgados on their tour of north Scotland four years ago. They launched One of These Days in their native isle two months ago and the brace of appearances here will be their first live action of 2009.
Their mid-tempo, harmony-laden tunes have been likened in the Orkney media, variously, to Deacon Blue, The Beautiful South, David Gray, Paulo Nutini, Cat Stevens and even U2, though the band themselves find it difficult to pinpoint any particular influences.
Amy and Dave both write songs for the band, meaning there is no uniform style – there are a couple of tracks on One of These Days with a strong country flavour, along with straightforward pop songs and a couple of rockier numbers. “We’ve got slightly different styles coming from both of us,” said Amy. “Some poppy, slightly rock, country-ish, a wee bit of blues; there’s a little bit of everything in there.”
Amy said the group would be throwing in a few crowd-pleasing covers along with their own material for their pub outing tonight, while the Museum performance – for which food is being laid on – will be “more of a concert performance” focusing on songs from One of These Days. They tend to perform songs by popular chart rock acts including The Killers, Kings of Leon and Snow Patrol, as well as older favourites including Mustang Sally.
“It’s quite funny being from Orkney – and I’m sure it’s the same up there – playing in pubs, there’s certain songs that people just want to hear on a night out. We’d rather play our own stuff all the time, but you’ve got to play to the audience,” she said. “We’re quite looking forward to coming up, it’s good to get off the island and play. [The museum] was [organiser] Karen MacKelvie’s idea, it’s something different, supposed to be quite nice acoustics in there – it should be a nice night out for everybody.”
They will be supported at tomorrow’s gig by Fair Isle-based singer-songwriter Malachy Tallack, who will soon unleash his third album From The Thorn.
- You can find more information and some sound clips of the band on their website, www.ragstonemusic.co.uk, where you can also buy One of These Days priced £12 including postage and packaging.