Andy Lang
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Andy Lang


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"Andy Lang and The Zealots are fronted by Andy Lang of the sadly missed and dazzling Scottish roots rock duo Little Green Monkeys.
Nowadays, he lends his considerable songwriting talents to his new band The Zealots.
Letters to Judas, their debut album, features a set of carefully understated gems that once again showcase the gritty and affecting writing that sets Lang apart.
What he produces is a sterling blend of contemporary brand of roots music where shades of country, folk and blues merge
to create a thoroughly rounded sound.
A sympathetic surrounding cast provide judicious use of musical colour to Lang's absorbing compositions.
A fine return effort."


Singer-Songwriter / Adult Contemporary /Country / Bluegrass

By: Susan Frances

Andy Lang with the Zealots are a bit like The Chieftains and The Del McCoury Band, not only musically but also in their band’s structure. There are a handful of core players supplemented by additional musicians who come in as guests. The ensemble can be as few as five or as many as seventeen performers. The main player is songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist Andy Lang. His friend, Mike Cameron performs on drums and did duties as the engineer during the recording sessions of the group’s debut album Letters To Judas which took place, according to the band’s website, in Mike’s sitting room and bedroom of his upper flat in Drylaw, a housing complex peripheral to Edinburgh.

On violin and percussion is Mhairi O’Neil; on guitar, slide guitar, and mandolin is Doug Anderson; and on bass is Al Brown. Some additional musicians include Tara Connolly on harmonica, Audrey Morrison and Jamie Hunter on piano, keyboards, and accordion, Rory Campbell on pipes and whistles, Neil Liston on peddle steel, and Annette Hanley on backup vocals.

The band’s roots are embedded in European folk, bluegrass, and country pastorals and comparative to songs by The Finns, Rory Gallagher, Shane McGowan, and Catherine Britt. Their music reflects the rugged nature and romanticism that vamps the Scottish culture with verses that relate to the brutal reality of life’s experiences.

Andy Lang with the Zealots makes traditional country/bluegrass sibilants and quill contemporary fluxes into the fabrics. The title track “Letters To Judas” has a bluegrass soul with folk etchings pressing improvised rattles, whistles and shakers. Like a jamband, the musicians come in with notes squiggling their own patterns onto the music board. When many bands look for the latest technology in instruments to create progressive sounds, Andy Lang with the Zealots rely on their parents instruments to craft lively beats and motions that tow their lyrics which take a perceptive voice, like the words for “Letters To Judas”:

“I wrote me a letter to Judas
To tell him I'm feeling this way
He answered me back on a post card
Said I've got nothing to say
Well I laughed and cried
And tore my coat
Said I'll get to him some other way
But I'll be damned
Judas my man
If there won't be some hell to pay”

The lyrical content is formed from impressions about the world around them like feeling disenchanted and lonely, and about relationship based emotions like those shown in the song “Hearts” which is a duet performed by Andy Lang and Annette Hanley. There is a soul in these songs that express honest thoughts and feelings which mean to be acknowledged out loud. Their flow looms a solace between the vocals and the instrumentation. “Tattoo” is a calming number with sparse chords and rough vocals relatable to Tom Waits as they crackle and lay bare like open wounds.

Andy Lang with the Zealots has received airplay on BBC Scotland, and in addition, Lang has recorded songs with Green Linnet, and opened for Irvine Welsch during the Leith Festival in 2005. They also performed Shane McGowan's song ‘Fairytale of New York’ with Karine Polwart at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall and it was recorded both by the BBC and Green Linnet Records (available on ‘Cold Blow These Winter Winds’ CD).

The band makes traditional country/bluegrass music imprinting their own cachet of impressions on the chords and byways. Their branch of country/bluegrass is as American sounding as it is European and may very well have relevance to all cultures embedded in a rugged way of life.

"Scottish folk music polished up for the21st century"


Andy Lang with the Zealots
Letters to Judas
Scottish folk music polished up for the 21st century

Should you wish to book Andy Lang with The Zealots, and it would be a very good idea to do so, I suggest that you make sure the stage is big enough. For the recording LETTERS TO JUDAS The Zealots numbered 17. Anyone who says that the traditions of Auld Reekie and the brash metropolis of Glasgow are at odds with each other should think again; Glasgow-born Lang has joined forces with Edinburgh's finest musicians to produce an album of folk music Scotland can be proud of. For too long the dark passions of Scotland's music have been buried under a welter of shortbread tins. The perceptions from outside may be of a rather twee Brigadoon, whose house-band consisted of Andy Stewart and Jimmy Shand, but the reality is that Scotland has a wild and bloody past and its music reflects that. And for those who are wondering just what that marvelously evocative instrument on Southern Cross is, welcome to the Border pipes. As a resident of that region I can tell you that its haunting sound conjures up perfectly the rugged romanticism of the Borders, particularly in the hands of the excellent Rory Campbell. But LETTERS TO JUDAS achieves what all folk music strives to but rarely does. It absorbs and assimilates different influences, country, bluegrass and blues are all added in various degrees to what becomes a most delightful end product.
Southern Cross for instance was inspired by a film about white supremacists, not your usual folk music source material. However the imagination of Lang invigorates and energises this most traditional of music styles. While the 'evergreen' subjrects of death, betrayal and honour are not ignored, love is the emotion most powerfully expressed. Matters of the Heart and Hearts are two of the warmest and sincere romantic ballads you're likely to hear. The richness of Lang's voice wraps around them like a comfort blanket. While folk music is sometimes charged with taking itself too seriously, LETTERS TO JUDAS skilfully avoids that trap. Do You Know is the roistering universal soundtrack of a good time. A glorious celebration of the unbreakable links between folk and country. By its nature, but more importantly by inclination, LETTERS TO JUDAS is built around tradition. But it is not submerged by the past, the music is as fresh and alive as you would expect from 18 of Scotland's finest musicians. LETTERS TO JUDAS is more about what's ahead than what's gone before. MM


- Maverick Magazine


Album LETTERS TO JUDAS released July 2004 on independent label. Have just recorded charity single GENTLE (SHADOW OF THE SUN) and are working on a second album, working title STEPS. As a soloist, I also appear on Green Linnet Records' COLD BLOW THESE WINTER WINDS album, recorded live at Edinburgh's Queens Hall in December 2003. The concert was broadcast live by BBC Radio Scotland on Christmas Day 2003 and New Years Day 2004. The album features myself performing Shane McGowan's FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK with KARINE POLWART and also my own song LULLABY.
We get regular national airplay and also a fair bit of internet play. Songs broadcast include LULLABY, FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK, TATTOO, ANOTHER LIGHT, NOT YOUR MAN, SOUTHERN CROSS, LETTER TO JUDAS, MATTERS OF THE HEART, QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, ED'S DEAD and GENTLE.



Andy Lang and The Well

The moon is asleep, she is blind…’

The Well is a 4-piece acoustic roots band, stripped down from the 17 Zealots who recorded the album ‘Letters to Judas’ in 2004. They are Mhairi O’Neil (electric violin) Mike Cameron (drums, percussion, bass, backing vocals) and Doug Anderson (acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin) and are fronted by singer/songwriter Andy Lang (acoustic guitar, vocals).

1990, Little Green Monkeys (a duo, Andy and Mhairi) won the best newcomers award at Melrose Folk Festival and went on to record the album ‘Crisis in the Treehouse’.
The Scotsman claimed they had ‘more affinity with The Sex Pistols than with Jeannie Robertson’. No word of a lie….
The Monkeys toured Europe and the UK extensively for several years, then
reformed in Edinburgh as Rodeohead, now leaning towards Americana and country rock.

In December 2003 Andy appeared live at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall as part of
the ‘Cold Blow These Winter Winds’ concert, dueting with Karine Polwart on
‘Fairytale of New York’ and also performing his own ‘Lullaby’. The concert was broadcast live by BBC Scotland on Christmas Day 2003 and also recorded and released on CD by Green Linnet Records.

July 2004 saw Letters to Judas launched with a live performance on The Arts Show (BBC Scotland) and there’s subsequently been plenty of airplay.
Maverick Magazine said: ‘Matters of the Heart’ and ‘Hearts’ are two of the warmest and most sincere romantic ballads you’re likely to hear. The richness of Lang’s voice wraps around them like a comfort blanket.

It’s not always that sweet….

"There’s blood on all these coins, there’s here in the cup, there’s blood here on the tips of all their wings…"

In May 2006, The Well released the EP ‘Gentle –Shadow of the Sun’ featuring 2 new tracks, ‘The Well’ and ‘Gentle—Shadow of the Sun’.

2006 dates included Leith Festival in June, playing shows with Dick Gaughan, Michael Mara and King Creosote and The Fence Collective.

The Wickerman Festival, July 2006.

Tour in Texas, October, including dates at Standard and Pours, Dallas, Threadgill's, Austin and Poodie's Hilltop Roadhouse, Spicewood, TX.

Forthcoming events include Leith Festival 2007 and Wickerman 2007.

“Letters to Judas, their debut album, features a set of carefully understated gems that once again showcase the gritty and affecting writing that sets Lang apart. What he produces is a blend of contemporary brand roots music where shades of country, folk and blues merge to create a thoroughly rounded sound.” ROCK’N’REEL MAGAZINE, JAN 2007

'I made a telephone call to Bernie boy
He’s got 2000 dollar teeth
He picked up in a phone booth
Out on Davis St
He talks just like a brother of mine
Full of sweet relief
And I’m stuck between where I’ve been
And a state of disbelief...'

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