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Highland musician Bruce MacGregor says latest album Road To Tyranny has been 20 years in the making

By Ian Duncan

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Road To Tyrany by Bruce MacGregor.
Road To Tyrany by Bruce MacGregor.

The album will be officially launched at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness on January 15, but is already selling well.

He says: “It’s probably taken six months. I think lockdown probably hindered it a little bit – it was going to be done because The Highlander’s Revenge – Tunes And Tales From A Blazin’ Fiddler book was out.

“Because of the success of the book a lot of people, when I was playing the tunes, were going ‘I didn’t realise it sounded like that’.

“When you put it on paper and they are reading it the melody doesn’t really come out a lot of the time, the flow of it, so it was a way of doing that. It is bringing the tunes to life.

“It has been selling really well on Bandcamp actually, it is the way to do it these days – I am not putting it through Spotify because I am sick of reading about musicians complaining about how bad Spotify is.”

Bruce has been one of the most influential traditional musicians in Scotland over the last two decades. Forming the multi-award winning Highland fiddle super group Blazin’ Fiddles in 1998, he is also the voice of Scottish folk, as long-term presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk, which he has now been presenting for over a decade.

Bruce MacGregor has released a new CD - The Road To Tyranny..
Bruce MacGregor has released a new CD - The Road To Tyranny..

Fellow Blazin’ Fiddles members were among the long list of friends who helped to record the latest release.

He says recording first started just over a year ago at Gran’s House near Biggar in South Lanarkshire. He adds: “I went in with Anna Massey and Angus Lyon, who has got a studio, and we just did three days of really rough mixes just throwing things together and then recording them to see what they sounded like. Angus and Anna are both in Blazin’ Fiddles.”

And he says the name of the CD is a nod to the current UK government and what they are doing.

He says: “It goes back to a quote from Lord Neuberger talking about the fact that the government were making it impossible for individuals to act lawfully against the government and they were basically making themselves above the law.

“Also it had a lot to do with what they were doing with taking away powers from the devolved nations as well. It was just that line, road to tyranny, I just love a phrase like that and it just sticks in my head. So that’s where it kind of came from.

“I’ve got a very good friend, he’s the top lawyer in Scotland these days and he was my old flat mate, I remember him talking about it and I thought ‘oh yes that’s the line’.”

The 14 tracks cover a range of styles, from trad jigs and reels to songs with more of a country influence.

The CD’s cover features an out of focus portrait – with the image focused on the fiddle and he laughs and says: “There’s a very good reason for that – you don’t want to go scaring people.”

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