Rack & Ruin celebrate 25 years on the music scene

Yell “party band” Rack & Ruin will celebrate their 25th birthday this weekend with a sold-out concert at the Tingwall Hall.

Originally formed by four school friends in 1994 Rack & Ruin has grown in size and reputation over the past quarter of a century to become one of the isles best-loved live bands.

Founding members Barry Nisbet, David Spence, Kevin Tulloch and Martin Henderson have since been joined by Michael Nisbet, Brian Spence, Leslie Tulloch and Jack Jamieson.

Much of the group’s early material was traditional and prominently featured the ‘Cullivoe’ style of fiddle playing, which a distinctive tuning of the fiddle and a lively bowing technique.

All four original members had started out playing the fiddle at school, but the band soon diversified and expanded. While the traditional tunes remain a fixture of the band’s set-lists covers of acts such as Johnny Cash, Steve Earle and the Old Crow Medicine Show are now what Rack & Ruin are most well-known for.

On Saturday the band will share a bill with David Sandison and the Tennessee Wannabes, another act with an affinity for country, folk and Americana.

Martin Henderson said: “Rack & Ruin is a bigger and better band than we were in 1994. We’ve changed a lot over the past 25 years, but I think that the important things have stayed the same.

“We’re all still passionate music players, and the band is still made up of the family, friends and neighbours that grew up playing together at sessions in the Cullivoe Hall.”


Add Your Comment
  • Andy Miller

    • November 7th, 2019 14:18

    Dear Rack and Ruin,

    Wishing you all a Happy 25th Birthday! Keep up the great work on the Shetland live-music front – especially with regards to your support of various fund-raising events over the years. To all the other R&R fans out there – remember the wise words of Heny Rollins: “Live music is the cure for what ails ya”.


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