Under One Sky
Julie Fowlis, Graham Coxon, Norman Blake and Roddy Woomble star in a 12-piece celebration of contemporary folk music from Scotland and England.
"A winner - bursting with virtuoso musicianship, vibrant dynamics, killer melodies and a rhythm section so rich it should have a cholesterol warning. . . a great example of the current barrier breakdown between folk and mainstream music."
Under One Sky is an hour-long vocal and instrumental suite by the Scottish multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer John McCusker, performed by a dozen of Britain's finest musicians. Following its triumphant premieres at Celtic Connections and Cambridge Folk Festival in 2007, this unique show hits the road for a three-week UK tour this autumn. A brand-new recording of the project will be available exclusively at these gigs, prior to its release on Navigator Records in February 2009.
Originally a joint commission by the PRS Foundation, the Scottish Arts Council and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Under One Sky sets out to explore and interweave the many different traditions, genres and influences at work across today's dynamic UK folk scene. Bringing together an array of established and emerging talent from both sides of the Border, McCusker's hand-picked ensemble includes Blur co-founder Graham Coxon (English dates only),Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake (Scottish dates only), Idlewild vocalist Roddy Woomble and acclaimed Gaelic songstress Julie Fowlis.
Revered balladeer John Tams and rising star Jim Causley also feature among the singers, while McCusker himself heads a creme-de-la-creme instrumental line-up of Andy Cutting (diatonic accordion), Ian Carr (guitar), Emma Reid (fiddle), Iain MacDonald (bagpipes/whistles/flute), Ewen Vernal (bass) and Roy Dodds (percussion). Within McCusker's compositional framework, each musician has been encouraged to contribute to the music's development and arrangements, infusing them with a vibrant collaborative spirit.
"Full of colour and contrast, adroitly balancing mighty full-band numbers with quieter interludes, the music overall was unmistakably McCusker's, in both its melodic opulence and its seamless integration of disparate elements."
When I started putting Under One Sky together the idea was to do two gigs, one at Celtic Connections and the other at Cambridge Folk Festival. It was such a magical experience though, that after the second gig I knew really wanted to work with these amazing folks again," McCusker says. "Every musician strives to keep doing exciting things, musically, and to play with great people to keep them inspired. Getting to collaborate with these musicians has been the highlight of my musical career so far, and we're all totally chuffed to be taking it on tour.