‘The Speyside Sessions’ came about when Elgin-born Hollywood star Kevin McKidd got chatting over a pint with friend Jamie Reid in a London bar two years ago.
Having planted the seed of the idea the pair gradually enlarged it through their circle of Moray-based friends – resulting in a recording session of Scottish music that McKidd hopes will raise a “significant sum” for Save the Children.
Early signs are that it might do just that, as 24 hours after the collection was released iTunes were reporting Speyside Sessions as their No.1 best seller on their ‘world album’ chart for the UK, United States, Canada, Australia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Spain.
McKidd, star of Grey’s Anatomy and more recently the Disney/Pixar animated blockbuster ‘Brave’, was helped by Moray’s MP Angus Robertson and others in gathering a group of musicians from throughout Speyside and beyond.
The result is a collection that both challenges the perceptions of traditional Scottish music and underlines the incredible depth and diversity of talent that seeps from every corner of this amazing region.
From the haunting opening of 'Now Westlin Winds' to McKidd’s heart-felt rendering of 'These are my mountains' listeners are carried into the sessions and made to feel as if they were part of this recording.
Mind you, quite what a Spanish listener will make of 'Muckin’ O’ Geordie’s Byre' I’m not at all sure, but coming through from this rendition of Robert Burns’ work is the pure joy of Scotland.
For this listener, however, the star turn is a wonderful rendition of 'Charlie is My Darlin’' – no track emphasises more the clear joy those present had in the making of Speyside Sessions.
Above all I expect that these 14 tracks will rekindle a respect for traditional Scottish music and I hope that the Speyside Sessions are not a one-off, as this listener has been left desperately waiting for an encore.
The Speyside Sessions is available for download on Amazon and iTunes – all proceeds from the recording will be donated to Save the Children.