Shepheard, Spiers & Watson

Over The High Hills


Pete Shepheard, Tom Spiers and Arthur Watson's presentation may seem a mite rustic when compared to the streamlined arrangements and high-powered dynamics of today's younger folk groups but it's no less valid a way of keeping the tradition alive. All three have enjoyed a long involvement in traditional music, with Spiers and Watson going back together to Aberdeen group The Gaugers in the early 1970s, and have learned many of these songs either directly from the source or from the song collectors who captured them for posterity. Accompanied by their own melodeons, fiddles and whistles, they relate familiar tales, often with localised twists, in voices as rich in character as the storylines and leading men and women who variously work, poach, scheme, carouse and cuddle up – not always with happy results. It's all of a piece but Spiers's The Bonnie Wee Lassie (who never said no) and the a cappella Banks o' Airdrie are particularly potent examples of their informal art.

Rob Adams