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East Coaster

Fred Morrison Trio, Edinburgh Folk Club, Wednesday 4th Nov

A special treat for all piping fans in town...

"Bagpipes and bluegrass might seem unlikely musical bedfellows, but for the brilliant Scottish piper Fred Morrison, one of Celtic music’s most profoundly skilled and audaciously inventive exponents, they form a wholly natural alliance. His latest album project, Outlands, featuring such top Americana luminaries as producer Gary Paczosa (Dolly Parton, Dixie Chicks, Nickel Creek), banjo/guitar ace Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station) and Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien, sets out to explore the inherent connections Morrison perceives between their traditions and his.

“I’ve always heard a really strong affinity between my own South Uist background and the Irish travelling pipers’ style played by people like Paddy Keenan,” he says, “and when I started playing the Irish pipes myself, I also found this deep-down rhythmic connection with bluegrass music – to me it’s as if they’re all one and the same.”

Although Morrison was born and raised near Glasgow, it’s the celebrated Gaelic piping tradition of his father’s native South Uist, in the outer Hebrides, that forms the bedrock of his intensely expressive, uniquely adventurous style. His outstanding technical prowess saw him winning many top competition prizes while still at school, meanwhile being inspired by pioneering acts like the Bothy Band and the Tannahill Weavers. Although his first-love instrument remains the great Highland bagpipes, over the years his mastery has expanded to encompass whistles, Scottish smallpipes, or reelpipes – Morrison being a pivotal populariser of this once-rare variety – and Irish uilleann pipes. He was also one of the first Scottish artists to forge dynamic links with his Celtic cousins in Brittany and north-west Spain, adding further to his repertoire of influences and tunes, and has long been renowned as an outstanding tune composer. "

"Morrison’s formidably virtuosic playing on bellows-blown Border pipes – with some dexterous interludes on uillean pipes – comes as close to jazz as you’ll hear in piping.” Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman

“ . . .playing on lowland and uilleann pipes that at times could have soundtracked the air guitar championships. Except, Morrison makes what these poor souls mime to sound tame by comparison . . . Morrison is as sensitive an accompanist as he is magnetic when leading . . . Go and be gobsmacked." Rob Adams, The Glasgow Herald

“But it was Morrison who delivered the ‘coup de grace’ with a performance that was almost shocking in its mesmerizing subtlety and brilliance.” Alastair Clark, The Scotsman

Venue: Pleasance Cabaret Bar - 8:00pm
Admission: £8.00 (£7.00 concession)

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