1 . Make and Break time for The Gyres

The Gyres would like it to be known that they don’t hate Oasis. Definitely, no maybe about it, not.

You see, despite having just released their first single (the fairly groovy ‘Break’) and suffering from severe ‘who they?’ syndrome in most parts of the country, these Lanarkshire lads have already been swept up into pop’s giddy rumour mill, with the word being out that they’re a little too big for their Doc Martens and that any day now they’ll be calling Manchester and

saying ‘0i, Gallagher Brothers! Outside now!’

It’s an impression they’re keen to dispel, firstly by stressing their genuine admiration for the rather more famous band and also by downplaying the amazing publicity they’ve been getting recently. ‘The gameplan for this interview was to come across as being down to earth,’ confesses singer Andy McLinden. ‘We usually come over as totally big- headed, but we’re not, we’re just normal!’

Andy is defensive about the attention: ‘It’s gone bananas since Christmas, but we didn’t ask for all this, they come to us, and it’s not hype created by the suits we wear or something. We’re unique, there’s not really been a Scottish band since the Mary Chain that could go for it in a big way, not just content to play to their mates.’

‘The bottom line,’ adds his guitarist and brother Paul, ‘is that the only reason we get this amount of press is ’cause we’re good. We deserve it.’

So that’s the hype out of the way, what about the music? ‘We’re a rock ’n’ roll band, we accept that what we do is to a degree derivative but you’ve got to keep developing, keep pushing at the doors and eventually you come up with something that’s uniquely yours. In Yeats’s poem, (‘The Second Coming’) he talks about how history repeats itself in cycles but still comes out new hopefully that’s what we’re gonna do.’ (Andrea Mullaney)

The Gyres’ single ‘Break’ is out now.

rm:- High society

Founded in 1837, the Highland Society is the oldest society in Edinburgh University and, though it exists nowadays in a sea of HP and county vowels, continues to present to the public its Highland Annual, a celebratory evening of no little drink, and the finest music, Gaelic song and dance from the Highlands and Islands, and the shrinking Scottish Gaeltachd.

The dancing in the big ball lasts all night, and pride of place is given to Moidart’s lla Muidearataich led by Fergie MacDonald’s button-box, which in conjunction with Farquar Macllae’s fiddle, is the supreme expression of the west-coast dance band; superb tunes with a great rhythm and feel.

In the wine bar, the traditional ceilidh is steered along by Fear an Taighe John Shaw, and includes the mercurial magic of Allan MacDonald, the Glenuig Gael and musical historian, who in a straw poll of pipers world-wide, would probably be judged among the very greatest.

Also a very good piper, but here showing off his accordion skills, is Allan MacColl from the Fort William area, and from the same Lochaber region, the fiddle will be represented by the best of the younger generation, either lain MacFarlane or Allan Henderson, performing solo and for the step dancing of youthful Katy Shaw, brought up on Cape Breton Island.

Of the two singers, the best known is

is.“ lshbel MacAskilI: ‘mesmerising emotional intensity.’

lshbel MacAskill, an astonishing performer whose best songs are filled with a mesmerising emotional intensity.

lshbel perceives a real increase in interest in her native music. ‘lt’s very gratifying to know that Gaelic music is now being so well received, being discovered by a new, and younger audience. I would never have expected the numbers that turned up for my song workshops at Celtic Connections in Glasgow.’

Hoddy Campbell shares the vocal honours and, unusually, for someone from Lewis which prides itself as the fount of Gaelic purity (l), lshbel loves listening to the Barra man ‘Hoddy’s very melodic, he’s not one of those big, loud stagey singers he’s obviously from the southern isles - and has a wonderful soft traditional style.’

Highland Annual, Teviof llouse, Edinburgh, Sat 17.

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Doing it for themselves

Kenny Mathieson looks at a grassroots revolution in Nashville as the Dead Reckoning crew prepare to visit Glasgow

Right from the earliest days of recorded country music, when Ralph Peer ctrt his legendary Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers sides for RCA Victor. Nashville has been an industry town. dominated by the major record companies. lnevitably. the country charts and radio stations both still hugely influential in the US market have largely followed suit. but that has left a lot of artists feeling distinctly frustrated with the status quo.

It may be that a lot of consumers are also feeling that same frustration. and are turning to the independent sector for recourse. Alison Krauss’s award- winning feats for the Massachussets- based Rounder Records. and both the acclaim and healthy sales for Steve Earle‘s Train A (70mm on the Nashville-based Winter Harvest label, flew in the face of corporate identity last year, while Billboard’s new Americana chart has raised the profile of less commercially obvious roots music

More tellingly. a number of Nashville- based artists have moved to take their

destiny into their own hands. Artist-run labels have already scored successes for The Bellamy Brothers and John l’rine. but the formation of Dead Reckoning last year was the first time that artists have launched their own label within Nashville itself.

The company is the joint baby of sitiger-songwriters Kier'an Kane and Kevin Welch. and fellow Dead Reckoners Harry Stinson and Tammy Rogers. Both singers had stints on major labels. and decided it was not for them. Welch remembers the seismic shock caused by the fact that he dared to suggest to Warner Brothers that a hit single was not the be-all and end-all of his life. while Kane found the pressure

‘We started with no real funding at all all we have is the records and plenty of chutzpah!’

to shift musical direction equally unacceptable. For Kane. the crux of life at Dead Reckoning is precisely in having control over their music. ‘We‘vc all tried in our own way to keep control of our own material. and this seems like the best way to do it. We‘ve all of us been part of a system which hasn't always enabled trs to do what we wanted. And so it seemed that the best solution to that particular problem was to pull out of the system and operate for ourselves in a more hands-on sort of way. We started with no real funding at all -- all we have is the records and plenty of chat/,pahl' The early rcstrlts are impressive. Kane's own Dr'm/ lie/{wring (the eccentric mis-spelling is deliberate) is

38 The List 9-22 Feb 1996