WILLAva GRANT CONSPIRACY Barfly, Glasgow, Fri 5 Sep; Venue, Edinburgh. Sat 6 Sep

Anyone who is familiar with the darkly brooding presence at the heart of the Willard Grant Conspiracy might be surprised by the buoyant, articulate conversationalist who greets me down the line from a house on the edge of the Mojave desert. But this is Robert Fisher offstage. cheerfully venting what he calls a ‘rant' about the music business.

‘America has never really embraced its musical roots; it doesn't value its history in music as much as other places do,‘ he says. ‘The industry‘s spent the last 30 years developing one- hit wonders, boy bands and divas that don’t have much substance to them. And then they moan about how they’re not really selling many records. They need to make music that matters to people.‘

Fisher‘s frustration is understandable, for with a new album (Regard the End) attracting even greater critical admiration than its acclaimed predecessors, his band finds itself without a record contract in the United States. It’s hard to imagine that the singer's mighty, haunting baritone could not touch a place in well-tuned American hearts, though perhaps, as he says: ‘More people in Europe are willing to take a chance on something.‘

Undaunted, he's heading our way with a six- The End is nigh

strong sample of the 30 or so musicians who loosely comprise the Conspiracy. While a history Lambchop or Giant Sand in its collective melodica or mandolin. ‘lt's a wide variety of of personal troubles, a spooky deep voice and an approach. people, and they all bring their experiences and affinity for country gothic place Fisher on the Regard the End is distinguished by the influences,‘ Fisher adds. ‘At any given time we’ll podium of alt country gloom alongside the adventurous contributions of musicians in have between two and 14 people on stage. so I Handsome Family‘s Brett Sparks, the Willard Slovenia, Boston and London jazzy trumpet sits guess six is right down the middle.‘ Grant Conspiracy has always been more akin to alongside Celtic fiddle, piano gives way to (Ninian Dunnett) with E.E ‘-‘ v‘ PETE YORN Because You: hat; (lliiiltltrtl MACHINE GUN FELLA-"o Liquid Room, Edinburgh. Sat "Ht “""l'm' mm” '” “M‘ Cathouse, Glasgow. Wed 17 Sep 13 Sep 'llllf;|(;_ 'rrarraurrru to l><¢ lioth

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