Skerryvore bring celtic rock to Horsham’s Capitol

Skerryvore. Picture by Kris Kesiak
Skerryvore. Picture by Kris Kesiak

Skerryvore are out on the road in their biggest year so far, under the ambitiously-titled Live Forever Tour.

Is that the aim?

“I doubt it,” laughs founder member Daniel Gillespie. “Not the way we party!”

Scottish Traditional Music Live Act of the Year 2016, Skerryvore play The Capitol, Horsham, on Friday, November 24 (7.30pm), on the autumn 2017 leg of their biannual journey around England and Wales – a year that has also seen two separate US tours.

The band started as a four-piece with their roots on the tiny Hebridean island of Tiree. Fraser and Alec Dalglish, who are both from Livingston in West Lothian, met Tiree brothers Daniel and Martin Gillespie while on holiday there.

They take their name from Skerryvore, the tallest lighthouse in the UK, which lies 12 miles south-west of the island of Tiree.

Over the years, the band has expanded to its current eight members, each bringing their own musical style to the Skerryvore mix. Their earlier work was West Coast Ceilidh inspired with the Celtic influences, which have remained present in all their work.

The band now offers rock, pop, jazz, cajun and country influences, but the traditional Celtic roots and instrumentation have remained.

“We are in our 12th year,” Daniel says. Originally from Tiree, the band developed in Glasgow. In around 2008-9, they took the decision to go full time.

“It wasn’t necessarily a hard decision. I was coaching football for Glasgow Rangers. I was working in the youth department, but as a band we were getting busier and busier, and we put out our self-titled album in 2010. We were very lucky that it was well received, and that’s when the international work started happening. We had our first visit to the UK, and really the whole thing has just snowballed from there. It has been great.

“This is our biggest tour ever this year in terms of distance, and we have just done the two tours in the US. We have just done our first west-coast tour.”

The States lap them up.

“I am not sure why, but I think it is possibly that combination of traditional elements mixed with the fact that we have got quite Americana-ish in some of the songs, and also there are a lot of people over there with that Celtic heritage. The music is very accessible to them, and also we are a high-energy act, which the Americans love. They are an excitable nation! The Americans are some of the rowdiest crowds you can get. They love to spend a lot of time talking to you, and that’s one of the things I think we are good at.

“We have played in 25 countries now, and you can’t just assume that it is going to be exactly the same culture wherever you go. It isn’t. You have got to adapt to each place that you go, and I think that is something that has gone well for us.

“But really it just depends on the venue. There are a lot of venues in England that are seated theatres, but then you can go to Moonbeams festival, around Yorkshire and Sheffield, and the crowds are about as rowdy as you can get. You have just got to adapt to wherever you are playing.”

Tickets cost £18. Call 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.

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