Eddi, Pauline and A Van Called Ruby

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You can never have too much of a good thing, which is exactly why the Craigie Hill Music Festival is back in Perth for a second year running!  With the same amazing line up of local live music talent, great food from Jim Fairlie and the coolest festival drinks from Katrina and Graeme of The Camper Van Company this year was always set to be another cracking event for fans of live music.
However, always one to go a step further, Pauline Marshall, the woman behind the show, is upping the festival stakes as she prepares to welcome the inimitable Eddi Reader as this year's headline act.

Eddi is no stranger to Perth audiences, having headlined the Concert Hall on several occasions and featured in the Phil Cunningham’s annual Christmas shows alongside Karen Matheson.

Always keen to get in the festival mood, Gordon caught up with Eddi to find out more about her life immersed in music.  as you'd expect, all manner of genres, ranging from country to jazz, rock to folk, have provided inspiration along the way.
“Whenever I’m called I will take to the road and bring the band. Perth is always a great place to play and I enjoy visiting.

“Whenever I’m called I will take to the road and bring the band. Perth is always a great place to play and I enjoy visiting.

It’s great to see so many local bands getting a platform. I remember the help I got when I was younger so I am always intrigued and impressed by young energy and how they re-invent music.

I love seeing that happen in front of my eyes. I have been given so many gifts and thrills and I love to see the kids going along a similar path.”

While she’s delighted to see emerging bands rubbing shoulders with veterans of the local music scene, Eddi refuses to castigate a generation weaned on a string of fast track talent shows in the “X-Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent” mould.

“There but for the grace of God go I. If I was 17 now and that was the only platform I had to express myself I would imagine it would be tempting. I have been made aware of Jessie Buckley who comes from Killarney. She got second place in the Andrew Lloyd Webber search for his new Nancy in a West End production. She has now been in Taboo and is making a new major film. So these things can be doorways to a brighter and bigger future. That can’t be dismissed even though I don’t really respect some of the judges on these shows.

But look at the amount of work these shows create, including ‘Strictly.’ They use musicians and singers performing live. So I’m liking the employment aspect.

And what did we have in our day? Hughie Green and ‘Opportunity Knocks.’ So maybe things are not so bad after all!”

The three times BRIT award winner remains in awe of the power music possesses to shape our lives and file away memories which can lie dormant for years.  The passing of country legend Glen Campbell this week took Eddi back to the days when she was clocking-up the miles trying to balance a musical career with parental responsibilities.

“When I was a young mother, a single parent and the kids were in the back of the car I used to slip ‘Glen Campbell’s Greatest Hits’ onto the car cassette player to drive from London back to Scotland,” she recalled.

“It would be 3am and I’d be trying try to get as far up the road as possible before they woke up.  I’d be singing along to ‘Honey Come Back’ and it would have me in tears every time. When I put it on in the daytime the kids would be going crazy. I would stop doing whatever I was doing and the tears would flow because it was such an affecting tune. They way he sung it was my favourite. The boys actually banned me from playing it when they were growing up because they didn’t like to see their mummy cry.

“Songs and I are old buddies. They have accompanied me throughout my life. I love music in all its forms. Music is a fast access to getting to the heart of a human being, softening and making it feel it belongs. That’s what I try to do when I am imparting a song to an audience.”

We can't wait to hear her do exactly that come August 26th - Pauline had this to say:

“We're so excited to be welcoming in Eddi and her band! We're bringing in a much bigger all-weather stage to accommodate them, with Perthshire Sound and Light on board. There's an acoustic stage indoors which will feature all your local favourites with an open mic session for our up-and-coming talent. It's going to be amazing and I know there's something to suit all musical tastes.”

CRAIGIE HILL Ruby The Camper VanThe outdoor festival kicks-off at 2pm on August 26 with acts including The Red Pine Timber Co, Rancho Rebopand the Full Moon Howlers, The Revivals, The Purple Felts, True Gents, The First Ladies of Country and The Cascades. The clubhouse features Dave Low, Tunna, Stop the Rain, Wrens, Longstay, Running wi’ Scissors, Floyd Tomlinson and The Ken Scott Trio.

Families can make a day of it, with the best of Perthshire produce available from Jim Fairlie’s “The Kitchen Farmer,” with “Ruby The Camper Van” operated by Catrina Duncan and Graeme MacFarlane offering prosecco and gin. The marquee bar is also being supported by the award-winning Strathbraan Brewery at Dunkeld. 

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