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Big night for Big Country at Tartan Clef Awards

IT'S been nearly three decades since their debut album captured the attention of the world.

But last night Scottish rock band Big Country were recognised by a lifetime achievement award at the Tartan Clef Awards.

The group, best known for hits such as Fields Of Fire, Chance and In A Big Country, recently reformed with founding members Bruce Watson, Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki. Watson’s son Jamie has joined to complete the line-up.

The accolade at the Tartan Clef Awards was a bittersweet moment for the band, coming just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the death of their frontman Stuart Adamson, who committed suicide in December 2001.

“To be performing together again is fantastic, and something I never thought we would be doing,” admitted Butler.

“I thought after we lost Stewart we wouldn’t do this again because it wouldn’t feel right.

“But the feeling is good and we’ve never been awarded anything before so it’s different. It’s a kind of weird feeling, but it’s cool.”

The 13th annual Tartan Clef Awards, held at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, is the biggest fundraiser for charity Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland, which helps adults and children affected by disability, trauma or illness.

This year’s event was opened by Scottish R&B star Emeli Sandé, who picked up the Best Breakthrough Artist award.

“I feel really excited to be here tonight – I studied medicine in Glasgow for four years before I had the opportunity to go for music”, said Sandé. “I was very interested in psychiatry and was looking into music therapy, so this is very close to home in what I wanted to research and the work Nordoff-Robbins do is very interesting.”

Other winners on the night included Kassidy, a band which has been dubbed Glasgow’s answer to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They were presented with the Most Stylish New Artist Award by American singer-songwriter, Lana del Rey.

Emerging indie band Frightened Rabbit picked up an award for the Best Live Act, while punk/new wave band The Rezillos, who first formed in Edinburgh in 1976 and continue to play gigs with a reformed line-up, were honoured with a Legend Award.

“We’re a little bit nervous about getting all smartened up, and we’re playing two songs – they’re new ones, Scottish Wind and the Loneliness of the Screen,” said Gordon Skene of Frightened Rabbit before the band’s performance last night.

Previous winners of the awards includes big names such as Paolo Nutini, Simple Minds, Sharleen Spiteri, Travis, Franz Ferdinand, Lulu and The Fratellis.

However, the night was not just about the music stars.

There was also an inaugural special recognition award which was presented to Karen Mathieson, the head teacher of Howford School in Crookston, Glasgow.

Presenting the accolade, councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Karen regularly goes that extra mile for the charity and for the children under her care, many of whom have learning difficulties and autism disorders.

“She has devoted the past seven years to guiding the development of her young pupils and her passion for music therapy is reflected across all aspects of her school’s culture.”

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