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Skerryvore first formed on the tiny Isle of Tiree off Scotland's west coast in 2005. Back then, the band consisted of Tiree-born brothers Daniel Gillespie (accordion) and Martin Gillespie (bagpipes, whistles & accordion) who bonded with holidaymaker Fraser West (drums & vocals) and friend Alec Dalglish (lead vocals & guitar) over a shared love of music: everything from traditional to rock and jazz. It was this mix of musical styles and sounds that set the path for the band's 2015 debut album, 'West Coast Life.' The more the fledgling band experimented with fusing together this mix of musical styles, the more their signature sound evolved, aided by the arrival of Barry Caulfield (bass & vocals) and Craig Espie (fiddle) in time for their second album, 'On The Road', in 2007.
But it was with the release of self-titled third album, 'Skerryvore', that the band found themselves catapulted into the musical limelight winning a string of prestiguious awards, including SNMA Record of the Year 2011 and STMA Live Act of the Year 2011, and garnering much critical acclaim:
JOHN BALLANTYNE'S CRAZY HEART
More often than not, the road to country music stardom originates in Texas, Tennessee, or another time-honored Southern destination. John Ballantyne's story arc reads way different.
Fast becoming recognized as one of Chicago's premier country singers and songwriters, Ballantyne was born and raised in Scotland, through you'd never know it from his earthy vocal delivery and immaculate lead guitar. Both resonate with the twang and raunch of classic honky-tonk country, also known these days as Americana. A frequent presence on the Chicago club circuit, John and his band Crazy Heart (Bassist Gus Noble, and drummer Leslie Walle-Santos) will take their musical exploits to a whole new level this year, building on recent hugely successful tour of Scotland, the highlight of which was two mainstage appearnces at the prestiguious Tiree Music Festival.