Joanna Burns is back with another instalment of weekly tracks, this time adding a Scottish spin to the mix!


It’s Week 4, St. Andrews. We are one month in, and even though we’ve had a few sunny days – let me remind you, musically, we are in Scotland. Here’s five tracks to listen to, Scottish Edition.

Behave – Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit have been my favourite band for a few years now and I always find it hard to name my favourite song but ‘Behave’ is definitely one of them. Front man, Scott Hutchison, always puts his emotions into the music that creates album after album of heartfelt music with wonderful lyrics and a varied sound. Each album brings out a different aspect of their music and I am continually amazed by Hutchison’s creativity. ‘Behave’ captures Frightened Rabbit’s traditional style with slightly odd lyrics and beautifully sad sentiment.


Home – Quickbeam

Next, a hugely underrated band from Glasgow and their beautiful track ‘Home’. It comes from their only album released in 2013, which was partly funded by Creative Scotland who continue to nurture Scottish talent. ‘Home’ will send you into a sleepy trance with its smooth violin melody and captivating vocals along with the build throughout. The Scottish accents of the singers make me enjoy their music even more. I am praying that Quickbeam are in the midst of making another album because the first one remains one of my favourite albums ever.


Caledonia – Dougie MacLean

Anyone who knows me knows that this song is one of my absolute favourites. It reminds me of Scotland and I always end up listening to it when I’m away to take me back to the Highlands. The amazing Dougie MacLean wrote the song in 1977 while on a beach feeling homesick for Scotland and I love him for it. It has been covered many times by Scottish artists such as Amy McDonald and X Factor’s own Leon Jackson. I was lucky enough to see Dougie MacLean live three years ago in Perth and I will admit that when they played ‘Caledonia’ I cried… a lot.


All My Days – Alexi Murdoch

During the Edinburgh Festival, I was able to see Alexi Murdoch live for the first time and he blew my mind. He shook up his traditional acoustic style by using a loop pedal as well as a fuller band with a trombone and trumpets. Murdoch hasn’t released new music since 2011 and ‘All My Days’ comes from his incredible 2009 album Time Without Consequence. Even without new material, Murdoch still tours occasionally but I was very aware when I saw him that he is not totally comfortable being in the limelight. He really wants people to focus on his music rather than his personality or image and this was maintained throughout the show by keeping very dim lighting, with simple blue spotlights on each musician. It made the experience totally unique and his music was the sole focus of the concert.


Tongues – Paws

I realise my favourite Scottish music is all quite similar acoustic stuff so here is something a bit different. Paws were nominated for the prestigious Scottish Album of the Year Award in 2015 with Youth Culture Forever, which is the album that ‘Tongues’ comes from. Their style takes little influence from Scottish traditional music but they show the immense talent that Scotland possesses in so many different genres. For me, their music is reminiscent of the punk and rock music of the 80s and 90s and they are producing music very different to many alt-rock bands at the moment. Paws are currently working on an album produced by Mark Hoppus from blink-182 so look out for that, hopefully it lives up to the reputation made by Youth Culture Forever.



Joanna Burns