“Be yourself, and others will find you”
“Be yourself, and others will find you”
Glasgow-based singer Horse may not be occupying the charts but she commands respect and has gravitas. September 2015 saw her celebrating the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough album The Same Sky, which upon its release, gained critical acclaim, with standout songs such as The Speed Of The Beat Of My Heart, Breathe Me and Careful. The latter of which was covered by Will Young at VFestival in 2009.
Rightly recognised as someone with a vast musical knowledge, married with life experience, she’s now a wise Scottish stateswoman, who gets called upon to host radio shows, comment on the music industry, she gives master classes to help up-and-coming artists and is an ambassador for The Clutha Trust. She also continues to bring much emotion to many people who find solace in the words of her cathartic songs.
Reaching people is important to Horse and it’s also apparent she still loves to perform. She has a faithful following who want to hear her. And when you sound this good – who can blame them? Horse still boasts one of the most remarkable voices in Scottish music.
I saw her recently at her annual Wintersong in December at The Union in East Kilbride, a small intimate venue, decked out with fairy lights. She ran through her songbook and sounded impeccable, even though she struggled with a heavy cold, an affliction which often causes Horse distress due to her asthma. When she sings it’s a very physical act as she puts everything into her voice, so the strain this puts on her can be quite considerable.
She’s a great storyteller who loves to chat, and the night was peppered with funny and sad stories, as well as dedications to the audience and great songs. Careful never fails to move the crowd and renditions of God’s Home Movie and Sweet Thing also stand out, as well as the cover of Dusty Springfield’s I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten.
The video below shows Horse singing this cover version at a previous Wintersong gig in Edinburgh.
This year Horse has already got dates in her diary. You can find her hosting the Gaia Women’s Supper at the Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre in Glasgow on Friday January 29th. It’s a take on the traditional Burns’ Supper, but for women, and it’s all for a good cause, with money being raised for the Stonewall Scotland charity. Included in the price is a three course supper and entertainment. It looks set to be a great night. You can buy individual tickets priced at £49 or buy a table of 10 places for £490.
Horse also appears in an exclusive cover feature and interview in this month’s Gaia magazine out now – January 2016.
In March she’s touring the UK with a series of dates which will include Newcastle, Liverpool and Ladock in Cornwall.
And April will see Horse with a full band at Glasgow’s Fruitmarket on the 16th of the month.
You know something is good when you keep going back. I’ve seen the show Janis Joplin: Full Tilt, three times. Every time it’s been amazing, due to the stellar performance by Angie Darcy in the lead role. I can’t imagine anyone else depicting the singer’s triumphs and ultimately tragic end.
Janis’s story is told through a mixture of song and theatre bringing her character to life. We hear how she struggled to fit in in her native Texas where she was born in 1943. How she went to California to make music, where she partied hard, how she returned home but found the lure of music and the pull of California too strong and she returned in 1966. Peppered throughout the show are her famous hits including Piece of My Heart, which hit the number one spot, as well as the yearning Mercedes Benz and Kris Kristofferson’s gorgeous country ballad Me And Bobby Gee (a new and welcome addition for this updated version of the show).
Her larger than life character commands the stage where she is backed by an excellent supportive band. But for all the brash confidence, displays of flamboyance, and obvious talent, underneath is a vulnerable woman who harbours a need for love and acceptance.
We see her life sadly unravelling leading to her death, alone in a hotel room in 1970. She was 27.
The play is based on the singer’s own transcripts and as the lights go down, Angie Darcy remains silent, allowing a crackly recording of Janis’s voice to speak to us through the darkness.
The play was originally formed for Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint series, written by Peter Arnott and directed by Cora Bissett in association with Regular Music and supported by the National Theatre of Scotland. It has since gone on tour to win many deserved awards and critical acclaim.
In a disappointing summer, a surprisingly almost balmy evening greeted the Magners Summer Nights sessions. It was a perfect landscape for this sepia-tinged nostalgic evening. There was a viewing of the film From Scotland With Love with a musical backdrop performed live by King Creosote. The film is a cinematic patchwork quilt of old black and white film showing Scotland and its people throughout the decades. We see people at work and play. We are reminded of many of our now defunct industries, the lifeblood of which ran through the country’s veins. It was a time where work was hard, physical graft, but as people worked hard, they played hard too. Often they were saving all their time and money for those precious days away on Scotland’s packed coastlines. And it’s where we see the beauty pageants, the men and women dressed up smartly in their best clothes, queuing for ice creams, building sandcastles, swimming and frolicking on sandy shores.
The team behind the film includes director Virginia Heath, producer Grant Keir, editor Colin Monie, while Fife’s King Creosote (Kenny Anderson) composed a gorgeous soundtrack which gives a voice to the footage.
There’s songs like Pauper’s Dough which accompanies scenes of manual labour, protests and riots, and the words “You’ve got to rise above the gutter you are inside”.
One Night Only is a rollicking romp through people at play and although it’s all light-hearted fun, as with most King Creosote lyrics, there is a dark edge, and an air of added mystery as we search for the character in the line “Wayne is appearing for one night only”. And he could be anyone lurking in the shadows, standing observing from afar or mingling among the crowds.
Director Virginia Heath was commissioned to create this documentary film to coincide with the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. It’s an excellent piece of work backed by a sensitive soundtrack. Both are available to buy and come highly recommended.
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