THE north’s latest arts festival provides a chance for some homecoming shows for music duo Willie and Tabs MacAskill.
Although known as half of Inverness band The Lush Rollers, the MacAskill brothers were brought up in Forres, and Willie is looking forward to the chance to play to an audience from his old home town.
"I think it’s a really great thing to be happening in Forres," Willie said.
"We grew up in Forres and there was always a lot going on, but I always felt you either had to go to Inverness or over to Aberdeen and there were lots of areas in between that were kind of bypassed by festivals and arts events."
The brothers will be supporting Shooglenifty — who also have some Forres representation in bass player Quee MacArthur at The Loft near Kinloss just outside Forres on Saturday 27th September.
Also on the bill will with DJ Dolphin Boy, whom the MacAskill brothers remember from a two week tour around the Highlands with The Lush Rollers.
The brothers are back at The Loft the following night, Sunday 28th, as part of the Moray Music Makers concert led by Capercaillie fiddler Charlie McKerron and featuring other musicians from the area and beyond, including Marc Clement, Ross Ainslie and flute player Calum Stewart and his Breton musical partner Heiki Bourgault who are also supporting singer Eddi Reader at her headline show on Friday 26th September.
There will also be a chance to catch Willie and Tabs in a less formal setting.
"I think there’s going to be lots going on in Forres itself with busking in pubs and impromptu performances here and there, so I’m pretty sure we will be involved in that as well," Willie said.
Looking a bit further ahead, Willie and Tabs are looking forward to getting into the studio and perhaps even recording an album.
"It’s something that Tabs and I have been threatening to do for some time. We’ve never done it as a duo," Willie said.
"We’ve obviously made a few albums with The Lush Rollers as a full band, but latterly we’ve just been playing the two of us together, which is a whole different dynamic. I really like it, just the two voices and guitars. There’s something pure about it."
Being brothers also seems to help, he agreed.
"It’s never a chore coming up with new material," Willie said.
"With us being brothers, it just seems to fall into place quite nicely. I write most of the songs, but I take them to Tabs pretty much a blueprint of what they might be and we put a lot of work into arranging them and Tabs layers them with harmonies. Once he’s sprinkled his magic on them, they seem to take on a different life."
• Willie and Tabs MacAskill support Shooglenifty at The Loft, Kinloss, on Saturday 27th September.
They also take part in the Moray Music Makers concert, presented by Charlie McKerron, at The Loft on Sunday 28th September.