Findlay Napier (Scotland)

EFC is pleased to welcome for the first time Findlay Napier, a Scottish singer-songwriter who, although well-known and highly regarded, has never graced our stage before.

As defined in the title of his remarkable 2015 solo debut VIP: Very Interesting Persons (No.2 in the Daily Telegraphs top dozen folk albums that year), Findlay categorically commands musical VIP status. He has now turned those same supreme songwriting and storytelling gifts, allied to a magpie-minded imagination and truly magnificent vocals, to his adoptive home town, on VIPs hotly anticipated follow-up, Glasgow.

Continuing his collaboration with English songwriter, Boo Hewerdine, this new album combines freshly-penned originals with classics and rarities from Glasgows vast and colourful ballad canon, by authors as diverse as Hamish Imlach and The Blue Nile. Together, they form an extended musical love-letter to Scotlands metropolis, celebrating 20 years since Napier first arrived as a student, swapping his idyllic Highland childhood home for the 14th floor of the citys notorious (and since demolished) Red Road flats.

Napiers own songcraft today vibrantly reflects this increasingly rich stylistic melting-pot a mix hes played no small part in creating, especially the cross-fertilisation between Glasgows folk and indie communities, as both co-host of a long-running open-mic night, and promoter of the decade-old Hazy Recollections concert series. In 2016, too, Napier launched the Glasgow Songwriting Festival, a weekend of workshops and performances which completely sold out its inaugural outing, and returns in 2017. In between putting the finishing touches to Glasgow, Napier also toured in spring 2017 with acclaimed contemporary protest-song showcase Shake the Chains.

Despite these ecumenical enthusiasms, Napier himself remains happy to identify as a folk singer even if he does enjoy stretching the terms already elastic parameters. I do fit that one-guy-with-a-guitar template, he says. As well as calling himself a folk singer, he simultaneously aspires to another, likewise timeless role: I do love that old-fashioned, all-round idea of an entertainer - I think its a brilliant thing, he says. But then thats totally what the best folk singers are; theyll have you in absolute hysterics, in between punching you in the gut - people like Loudon Wainwright, John Prine, Michael Marra: thats the absolute pinnacle, as far as Im concerned.

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Opening acts tonight is Edinburgh songwriter and EFC committee member, T G McEwan.