Archie Fisher in Concert: Saltspring
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
An avid horseman and master guitarist, singer and songwriter Archie Fisher is Scotland’s foremost troubadour and is known throughout the country as the host of BBC Radio Scotland’s award-winning “Travelling Folk” show, which he has been presenting for over 25 years.
Recognized for his contributions to Scottish folk music, he was inducted into the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame and in 2006 was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire), a prestigious honor nominated by his peers and bestowed by Queen Elizabeth.
Archie was born in Glasgow into a large singing family, which yielded three professional singers—Archie and his sisters Ray and Cilla Fisher. Constant music combined with his father’s appreciation of many musical styles (opera, vaudeville, traditional ballads) proved to be a heavy influence on Archie’s music while his mother, a native Gaelic speaker from the Outer Hebrides, was a strong influence on the lyrical quality of his songwriting. Archie first became interested in folk music through the Skiffle era of the late 1950’s under the influences of performers such as Lonnie Donegan and Johnny Duncan. Later, the recording of the Weavers at Carnegie Hall also had a profound effect on his approach to music and his political outlook.
During the TV folk boom of the 1960’s and 70’s he appeared regularly with his younger sister Ray in magazine programs and the BBC Hootenanny series. He was based in Edinburgh at the time in the contemporary company of musicians such as Robin Williamson, Clive Palmer and Mike Heron (who together formed the original Incredible String Band) and was an early guitar colleague of Bert Jansch. Archie’s first self-titled album was recorded in 1968 with the fiddle and mandolin of John McKinnon and whistle player John Doonan. During the mid 1970’s he formed a long-term partnership with Dundee musician Allan Barty, which was later grafted on to the revived pairing of Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy. As well as performing as a backing musician and arranger for the Makem and Clancy duo, he also produced a series of albums with them. Meanwhile, Archie got involved in record production with the dynamic Scottish band Silly Wizard. During the 1980’s he turned his attention to freelance radio work and originated several series of documentary programs with his local station Radio Tweed. He then returned to the recording studio during what he describes as one of his most creative songwriting periods. It was around this time that he began a partnership with Canadian songwriter Garnet Rogers. They toured throughout North America together, and Garnet produced several of his albums including his highly acclaimed album Sunsets I’ve Galloped Into, which was released on Red House Records in 1995.
Following the success of that release, Archie toured throughout North America, playing with John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. Now, more than 10 years after the project was first started, Archie is releasing his long-awaited new CD Windward Away, a collection of introspective ballads that evoke the wild and rough beauty of the Scottish Border country. While working on this album, Archie discovered a copy of an old recording he made in the late 1970’s while working with Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy. Although several songs on this missing master had been recorded on other Archie Fisher albums, this missing master had never seen the light of day. Because he believed these recordings represented an important period in his music, he felt they were worthy of inclusion as bonus tracks to the new CD. Together Windward Away and The Missing Master represent more than 28 years of Archie’s distinguished writing and singing career.
(a co-presentation with South End Grooveyard and http://innermusica.com)
Tickets: Fever Tree, Saltspring Books, Stuff&Nonesense