CD1 - 19 tracks: Festival Lights * Portnahaven * All Over This Town * Fires of Edinburgh * Applecross Bay * Slow French Waltz * American Accent * The Bonny Maid of Fife * Middle-Aged Men * Envy The Wind * It’s a Lie * The Seige * On This Island * Mephistopheles on Minto Street * Cold Night in This Old Town * Borderland * Sorrowlessfield * Running Home * Here’s To You.
CD2 - 18 tracks: Corryvreckan Calling * East Lothian Sky * Far Down The Line * Nowhere Else To Go * The Beatles Played Kirkcaldy / Happy To Dance With You * Crooked Smile * Song of The Plough * The Heron * Ainster Harbour * Everybody Lies * The Heart * Loves The Rising Sun * The Field Behind Our House * White Horses * Norman’s Dram * The Daybreak Carol * Long Road * Take My Time.
“The late Nick Keir toured the UK and Europe extensively with the band Finn mac Cuill before joining The McCalmans in 1982, when Hamish Bayne retired from touring. He remained with them for 30 years until the trio retired in 2004. During that time The McCalmans recorded 16 albums and most included one or more of Nick’s self-penned songs. Nick also managed to pursue a solo career, when The McCalmans were ‘off the road’, and recorded four solo albums. Some of his songs have a strong Edinburgh connection. This vast storehouse of material made it easy for Ian Green to compile a double CD of 37 remarkable tracks of Nick Keir, singer-songwriter. There are tracks from both The McCalmans’ repertoire and from Nick’s solo albums, and included in the collection is Festival Lights, now a folk standard and printed on the inside wall of an Edinburgh pub.”
(Managing Director Ian Green’s Pick Of The Month album, September 2021)
Nick Keir was born in Edinburgh. He formed the group Finn McCuill while at Stirling University, then toured with poet Norman McCaig and worked with the 7:84 Theatre Company. In 1982 he joined The McCalmans and remained with the group for the next 30 years, touring all over the world as one of the best known and most successful Scottish traditional acts.
Many of his own songs entered the repertoire of The McCalmans but at the same time, Nick made many solo appearances, including his annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe gigs and still found time to record four solo albums.
In 2004 The McCalmans were inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame and were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. When The McCalmans retired in 2010, Nick joined Stephen Quigg and toured successfully across Europe.
He was particularly proud of having joined the Tolkien Ensemble, a group of Danish-based musicians, presenting a musical spectacular based on The Lord of The Rings, with Sir Christopher Lee as narrator. Nick was also the lead in a production of The Hobbit with the same ensemble. There was further collaboration with the Holbaek Ensemble of Denmark, playing a mix of Scots and Irish traditional music laced with the Baroque of Corelli and Vivaldi.
The thirty-seven tracks on this tribute double CD collection were selected mainly from Nick’s four solo albums: Rumours Of Snow, All Over This Town, Fishing Up The Moon and The Edge Of Night, plus tracks featuring Nick’s songs from most of The McCalmans’ albums from 1982 onwards. All songs in the collection were written by Nick, except Envy The Wind by Lucinda Williams, which Nick always included in his solo gigs.
This is a truly remarkable collection by any standard.
Nick’s obituary summed him up to a tee:
“A modest and infinitely courteous man, his songs and music could capture the spirit of Edinburgh through the eyes of an unashamed romantic. That so many came to his funeral to bid him farewell and then sing together with laughter and tears bore testament to the passing of a gentle, kind soul, a true poet and devoted lover of Edinburgh.”
“Celebrating the heartwarming and impressive musical legacy of a much-missed Scottish figure…”
(Rock ‘n’ Reel)
Double CD for the price of a single CD.
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