At Random with Martin Laing, Thursday February 18

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Making a noise

Here’s a thing: the first time I saw the group Skerryvore live was up close and personal as some of the guys played an impromptu wee set in The Oban Times’ office.

That was back in 2017 when they did a whistlestop tour of the Oban area ahead of that year’s Oban Live festival in June, of which they were the organisers and stars.

I knew of the band before that, of course, but had not heard them play for real. It wasn’t the whole band but, four of them, I think, including one of the Gillespie brothers – Martin or Daniel – and lead singer Alec Dalglish. They were brilliant and I’ve been a huge fan since.

So I was chuffed to bits for the lads when I found out a couple of weeks ago they had broken into the mainstream by making the BBC Radio 2 playlist. Possibly the first Radio 2 airing of their new single You & I was on the lunchtime show hosted by Jeremy Vine, who said of the band and the new release: ‘Just such a fresh, real, new sound… I love it.’

Evidently, so do the station’s listeners as the song has been given a huge profile and countless playings. It is, for me anyway, a superb song, in keeping with Skerryvore’s trad background.

Daniel, one of the band’s founding members, said earlier this month that the national recognition had opened up a whole new fanbase and, amazingly, a stellar increase for their streams which rocketed by 700 per cent.

I interviewed Martin and Alec in 2018 outside Aulay’s bar in Oban after bumping into them following their knockout success at that year’s Oban Live. There’s a wee video on The Oban Times’ website if you missed it.

The guys could not have been more down to earth and accommodating. They were also marvellously modest despite blowing away the audience and fulsome in their praise for Oban High School Pipe Band who had joined them on stage.

The guys deserve all the success coming their way.

What do you think?

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