Review: Auld Hat New Heids

(The following is a review from Celtic Music Radio of Auld Hat New Heids’ recent performance at St Andrews In The Square on Sunday 29th Jan 2017).

Throughout the years that Celtic Connections have been running there have been many memorable concerts. This concert will go down as one of them! It was a truly memorable night and up there with the best concerts over the years. A show designed to rekindle the songs and atmosphere of folk clubs of yesteryear with audience participation it did exactly what it said it would.

Seasoned performers and brothers Fraser and Ian Bruce, accompanied by Gregor Lowrey (accordion) and Pete Clark (fiddle) put on the show of their lives. Starting the night with Doon In The Wee Room they immediately increased the bands vocal support by over 300 as every member of this sell out audience joined in with the singing. This continued throughout the night and is exactly what this show is all about. Every single song was a well known one and passionately delivered by Ian and Fraser. There was hardly a dry eye in the house at their renditions of the Loch Tay Boat Song and Silver Darlings.

Another inspired part of this show was the showing of slides onto a large screen paying tribute to musicians, alive and dead, who had been major influences and inspirational to many up and coming musicians. Also included in the slides were the choruses of many of the songs to assist the eager audience with the words and to encourage their singing. Much of Scotland’s’ working past was also remembered with songs such as The Jute Mill Song, The Shoals of Herring and The Wark O’ The Weavers. Of all the songs performed few had a rousing reception as great as that given to The John MacLean March.

In between the songs the wit and humour from the Bruce brothers was excellent. These guys put the fun back into music. It was hard to believe that Fraser Bruce had taken a near 30 years sabbatical from performing only returning to stage in 2014. His enthusiasm in getting this project up and running puts a lot of artists half his age to shame. The ultimate accolade I could give them is to liken them to The Corries in their heyday. The interaction with the audience, the humour and their rendition of many of the songs reminded me so much of Ronnie Brown and Roy Williamson.

This was one of those nights you did not want to finish. People left this historic venue with huge smiles on their faces raving about how good the evening was. At the start of the evening Fraser recited a poem listing the many folk clubs that used to be open over the length and breadth of the country. Sadly the majority of these clubs are no longer however Auld Hat New Heids is doing everything in their power to bring back those heady days. This show continues around the country, it would be foolhardy to miss it. For songs and laughter this is the show to go to.

Danny Matheson (