A NEW music project, honouring one of Edinburgh’s finest musical establishments and featuring some of the country’s best folk musicians, was launched last weekend.
It has Shetland influences as local fiddle player Vicky Gray, along with her band Aberfeldy, recorded a track for their new album, Royal Oak: Best of Folk, alongside such artists as Radio 2 Folk Award winner Kris Drever.
The album is a showcase of music from the capital’s famous Royal Oak Bar and will be launched by Rebus novelist Ian Rankin, who features the pub in many of his books. It also features a Shetland tune, Donnie Henderson’s Reel, composed by Debbie Scott on one of the tracks.
Vicky, originally from Aith, says she loved the idea when the band was asked to perform. “It’s a brilliantly ambitious project and something we really wanted to be involved in from the start.” She feels that it is particularly apt that there is a Shetland influence in the album as it is one of the most popular live music venues for Shetlanders in Edinburgh.
“It’s a slightly rough round the edges, salt of the earth pub and due to its late opening hours, it’s a convenient haunt for musicians after a gig,” she says. “It reminds me of the Shetland Folk Festival because of that and probably why Shetlanders love the place. You never know who will be there. The other night we had someone playing a sitar, while last month a classical music group had been playing at the Festival Theatre and came in for a tune.”
It’s also where her band, Aberfeldy, have perfected songs from previous albums and so it has a special place for them, specifically. Vicky joined the band last year on fiddle, keyboards and backing vocals. The Edinburgh based act, who have received critical acclaim for their brand of folk-pop tunes and even had a track used on a diet coke commercial in America, have plans to play in Shetland after they release their third album next year.
Vicky is also busy in process of recording a solo album, which she collaborated with fellow Shetland musicians on. An experience she enjoyed. “I recorded the first part of it in June with Neil Georgeson and Ryan Couper, which was great fun and very inspiring as they are both great musicians.”
Royal Oak: Best of Folk is out now.