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Artyness: Welcome musical shoots of recovery

By Liza Mulholland

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Liza Mulholland.
Liza Mulholland.

Liza Mulholland looks forward to getting into the studio – and the return of live music this weekend.

One of the indicators that things are starting to get back to some normality, and one that fills music-lovers’ hearts with joy, is the scheduling of live music and venues opening up.

Straight out of the blocks is our Ironworks Music Venue here in Inverness. Sadly, still under threat of closure to developers’ revised plans for a hotel on the site, the Ironworks programme of live concerts starts this weekend with Invergordon favourites Davy and Sam Cowan.

Readers here might recall me writing in late 2020 about their fantastic gig before the second lockdown, which, for me, remains extra special as it was the one live show I have been to in over a year.

Musician Davy Cowan, from Invergordon.
Musician Davy Cowan, from Invergordon.

Davy and son Sam are a superb duo, creating a huge sound that defies the fact there are only two of them playing. With some of the best musicianship and most beautiful songs to come out of the contemporary Highland music scene, do get along to their concert on Saturday 22nd if you can. You won’t be disappointed!

I’m also super-excited about getting back into the recording studio this weekend, another development that feels like an absolute treat. Long-time musician friends Sofie Jonsson and John Mitchell, with whom I have gigged and collaborated in the past, have asked me to play some accordion on a new song.

Swedish country-pop is new territory for me, but I love a challenge and can’t wait! This great upbeat and brilliantly danceable song, one of fiddler and vocalist Sofie’s compositions, will be such a lot of fun to do. John is also a well-known local musician, being an incredible guitarist and singer-songwriter from the Easter Ross seaboard village of Balintore.

Having both previously performed across Scotland and beyond, the couple now live back in Sofie’s native Sweden, where they have gone on to carve out hugely successful, award-winning careers as a duo, and also as a band working with other artistes.

Some years ago, my son and I were lucky enough to visit them, where we not only got to attend their gigs and stay with them in their cosy, snow-encased chalet (a Hogmanay sauna, before diving in swimsuits into deep drifts at minus 30 degrees, was a new one for us) but also learned to ski.

I miss these lovely friends, so getting the chance to play with them – even digitally – will take me a little closer to them. Steve Bull at Glachbeg Studio will be the ever-patient engineer behind this digital wizardry, bringing not only his technical know-how but also musical skills to the melting pot.

I think I now need to go and see where Sweden is on the covid traffic-light travel banding…when it’s safe to do so, a long overdue trip back to my superbly-talented pals could be in order. Please do check out their wonderful music at www.johnandsofie.com!

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