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Dynamic Highland singer/songwriters Nicky Murray and Moteh Parrott team up for folk tour across Elgin, Whitebridge and Inverness

By Kyle Walker

Two of the region's homespun folk stars – Nicky Murray and Moteh Parrott – have teamed up for a tour of Scotland. Before their dates in Elgin, Whitebridge and Inverness, Kyle Walker spoke to Nicky about the tour and the live experience

Q Hi Nicky, thanks for answering these! How have things been going for you since we last spoke in September 2018? What have you been up to?

A Hey Kyle, Thanks for supporting us!

Things have been going pretty good in terms of music. We’ve just embarked on an eight-day tour of Scotland.

We started on Saturday night in Inverness at the first year anniversary show of Sofar Inverness (funny to think it’s been a year since the show at The Music Shop). It was incredible, we sold more than 100 tickets and we were lucky enough to be able to host it in the Inverness Cathedral.

So we’ve just been busy organizing that really and trying to arrange more gigs for our own stuff.

Q You’re about to embark on a Scotland-wide tour– how are you looking forward to getting on the road? (Excited, I would hope!)

A Very much excited, yes! As we speak we are in Edinburgh and we just finished playing a secret show in a teepee for a new venture of Craig Betts called Interlude – keep your eyes peeled. It was really sweet.

To have both those gigs to kick us off has been an honour and has just got us more excited for the rest of the shows.

Q So tell me a bit about the tour itself – how did these dates come about? How long have you known tour buddy Moteh Parrott and how are you looking forward to touring together? And who else is joining you across the dates?

A I must admit, Moteh deserves the credit for a lot of the organizing for the six shows we are playing together. We essentially just hired the venues with the aim of taking both our music to these cities.

Moteh and I met not so long ago in Inverness at my Songwriter’s Circle if I remember correctly, we had some mutual friends who really thought we should meet. Moteh is a really important artist I believe, and a nice person too, we are glad that he asked us to collaborate.

For the first two shows at Edinburgh and Glasgow we have a close friend of mine Emma Gillespie (formerly known as Emma’s Imagination) as our special guest, she’s one of my favourite artists. She will also be joining our set for some harmonies.

Then we have young Calum Mackenzie Jones opening for us in Dundee. Then we’ve got a friend of Moteh’s at the Elgin show. And finally we have Malcolm Cumming (the actor from Anna and the Apocalypse) opening for us in Whitebridge and Inverness.

Q We got a good examination of your music last time, so this time let’s talk a bit about your live performance – tell me a bit about the first time you took to the stage (as a musician or in whatever capacity that was!). What was the occasion? And how did it go?

A I can’t remember the very first time to be honest, but it would’ve been back in Glasgow around eight years ago. I had a duo with a friend of mine and we’d play pub gigs, three-hour sets a night, three times a week – my god!

We travelled all over the place with a PA packed car which was very broken and I had to hold the passenger door shut whenever we were in transit! Those were some great days. However I’m not sure I could ever do gigs like that again though.

Poster for Nicky Murray and Moteh Parrott's joint Scottish tour.
Poster for Nicky Murray and Moteh Parrott's joint Scottish tour.

Q As a folk artist and singer/songwriter, what is your ideal performance space? Where is your perfect place to play music, and why is it such a treasured area for you?

A I always take to the intimate settings, but that doesn’t have to mean small necessarily. I love Oran Mor size venues, house concerts are lovely also.

The biggest I’d like to play would maybe be the Glasgow Concert Hall or something, you know – nothing too serious.

My music calls for intimacy in many aspects, I just think my music needs an intimate setting, it’s more for listeners, expression and connection.

Q What would you say has been the best or most interesting live experience you’ve been a part of, and what made it so special?

A To be honest, last Saturday at the Sofar show in the cathedral was a real special one for me. I had the girls with me (two fiddles and cello), they are a big inspiration to me and it is very moving to play with them.

Playing my songs in that venue was quite something. It just lifts everything and they really care about the songs and the music, it’s just an honour.

Nicky and Moteh play the Drouthy Cobbler, Elgin on Thursday; the Whitebridge Hotel on Saturday night; and Mad Hatters, Inverness on Sunday night. Tickets (£10) are available from www.eventbrite.co.uk

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