ROOTS and jazz music has a new home in Inverness with the launch of a series of shows at IG:LU at 19 Church Street under the umbrella title of Roots & Cheroots.
The men bringing Scottish and international talent to Roots & Cheroots are local promoter and tea chest bass player Rob Ellen and singer and guitarist Cigarbox Don, who together form the duo The Slim Panatellas.
After the IG:LU gallery hosted an exhibition of Don’s paintings as well as the recording of his album The Very Dab, they return to share their love of roots music of all kinds with a series of Wednesday and Friday evening shows.
Roots & Cheroots launches on Wednesday 16th April with US-born musicologist, storyteller and banjo-player Sara Grey.
Originally from New Hampshire, Grey has lived in North Carolina, Ohio, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wales, Scotland and England, and plays American music, as distinct from Americana, with authentic old-time ballads, cowboy songs and Primitive Methodist hymns all part of the repertoire of an acknowledged expert on the history of American music and its leading lights.
Two weeks later on Wednesday 30th April, Roots & Cheroots welcomes London-based Scottish singer-songwriter Fraser Anderson, who numbers BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris and Zoe Ball and Radio Scotland’s Iain Anderson and Tom Morton amongst his fans.
Roots & Cheroots second American visitor, New York songwriter Nels Andrews, visits IG:LU on Friday 9th May.
A winner in the prestigious New Folk Competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas — putting him in the same company as Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett and Slaid Cleaves — he was also selected as the winner of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Troubadour, and the Mountain Stage New Song competitions.
North music fans may remember his Belladrum Festival appearance as part of The Strut and Stumble Highland Tour with AJ Roach and Ian Parks on The Tartan Heart Fringe, which played as close to whisky distilleries as humanly possible.
There is more international talent in the UK/Swedish duo of John Mitchell and Sofie Jonsson on Friday 6th June.
Although the couple met at a Highland music festival in 2005, this is a rare chance to see them in the area as they are now based in Jonsson’s homeland of Sweden, from where they have built up an impressive reputation across Europe for their blend of Celtic, Nordic and American roots music.
Finally Wednesday 16th July brings the sound of jazz with the duo of singer and vocal teacher Sophie Bancroft and Canadian Tom Lyne, a music graduate of McGill University Montreal. Together they present a mixture of standards (Ellington, Jobim, Rodgers and Hammerstein) and self-penned songs.