The Black Diamond Express
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The Black Diamond Express

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Folk

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Aug
16
The Black Diamond Express @ The Mash House

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Aug
15
The Black Diamond Express @ The Mash House

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Aug
14
The Black Diamond Express @ The Mash House

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"Old meets new in a performance of sheer quality * * * *"

There are some moments when you sit back and marvel at a genius. Seeing The Black Diamond Express live is one of those. Not only is their music original, well-executed and musically pleasing but they also have a talent for pure entertainment.

Their opener is good and Lee Patterson lays claim to one of the most interesting voices on the music scene. The range of unusual instruments that accompany Patterson complement the power and subtlety of his voice. There is a honesty in his songs – the audience can see how much the lyrics mean to him. At times it feels as though the crux of songs need more, however this is a very minor detail in what is a convincing performance.

Then we come to The Black Diamond Express, an eight-piece of drums, keys, bass, percussion, dobro, fiddle, harmonica, guitars and vocals. The motown blues is pulled off exquisitely – from popular sing-a-long choruses to jazz-infused rhythms, with added Scottish lilts and Eastern European ornamentation. The solos are excellent - from the screaming guitar to soulful dobro, it doesn’t matter; all are executed with an energy and drive that captures the audience.

The atmosphere generated by this band is incredible – it plucks the chords of so many different music lovers. As actors they play their own roles – the dobro player is always laid back, the percussionist always ready to kick-off with high energy. This all helps create a show that is not only musically spot on, but visually addictive. Why more hasn’t been made of these guys is anyone’s guess. The Black Diamond Express provide you with their own drug, and to take it is to become drawn into their own, brilliant world.
- Festival Journal


"Old meets new in a performance of sheer quality * * * *"

There are some moments when you sit back and marvel at a genius. Seeing The Black Diamond Express live is one of those. Not only is their music original, well-executed and musically pleasing but they also have a talent for pure entertainment.

Their opener is good and Lee Patterson lays claim to one of the most interesting voices on the music scene. The range of unusual instruments that accompany Patterson complement the power and subtlety of his voice. There is a honesty in his songs – the audience can see how much the lyrics mean to him. At times it feels as though the crux of songs need more, however this is a very minor detail in what is a convincing performance.

Then we come to The Black Diamond Express, an eight-piece of drums, keys, bass, percussion, dobro, fiddle, harmonica, guitars and vocals. The motown blues is pulled off exquisitely – from popular sing-a-long choruses to jazz-infused rhythms, with added Scottish lilts and Eastern European ornamentation. The solos are excellent - from the screaming guitar to soulful dobro, it doesn’t matter; all are executed with an energy and drive that captures the audience.

The atmosphere generated by this band is incredible – it plucks the chords of so many different music lovers. As actors they play their own roles – the dobro player is always laid back, the percussionist always ready to kick-off with high energy. This all helps create a show that is not only musically spot on, but visually addictive. Why more hasn’t been made of these guys is anyone’s guess. The Black Diamond Express provide you with their own drug, and to take it is to become drawn into their own, brilliant world.
- Festival Journal


"Made in Scotland: The Black Diamond Express"

Appearing as part of the Made in Scotland talent showcase, local band The Black Diamond Express are taking over the Assembly Rooms. Made in Scotland is an Edinburgh Festival Fringe initiative that has been fostering talented Scottish performers and companies for the past five years.

The Black Diamond Express hail from Edinburgh and sculpt their image from a train said to be used by the devil to ferry hedonistic sinners to hell. The nine-piece are known for their furious live shows, featuring stunning original compositions alongside old time blues and work songs. Their latest album Brimstone for Hell has gained a positive reception, mixing compelling vocals, traditional blues and violins to create a unique contemporary musical offering. Catch them before the end of the festival on Saturday 24 August. - i-on Magazine


"Made in Scotland: The Black Diamond Express"

Appearing as part of the Made in Scotland talent showcase, local band The Black Diamond Express are taking over the Assembly Rooms. Made in Scotland is an Edinburgh Festival Fringe initiative that has been fostering talented Scottish performers and companies for the past five years.

The Black Diamond Express hail from Edinburgh and sculpt their image from a train said to be used by the devil to ferry hedonistic sinners to hell. The nine-piece are known for their furious live shows, featuring stunning original compositions alongside old time blues and work songs. Their latest album Brimstone for Hell has gained a positive reception, mixing compelling vocals, traditional blues and violins to create a unique contemporary musical offering. Catch them before the end of the festival on Saturday 24 August. - i-on Magazine


"All Aboard The Black Diamond Express"

Dave McGuire talks to one of Edinburgh’s finest, and certainly most ubiquitous, live bands about, well, playing live and stuff...

Edinburgh’s very own Black Diamond Express have built up a reputation over the past six years for the raw power and energy of their live performances. The Leither caught up with Toby and Cameron as they geared up for a host of live shows and to talk to them about their well received debut album, Brimstone for Hell, which in characteristically maverick style is both self-released and a live recording.

I asked them how they felt about the album, “I think that time has really allowed us to develop our sound and our show, and I believe the album is testament to this. It’s a tricky balance, right now we sound tight, we’re rehearsed but the music is energetic and spontaneous so a live album seemed obvious to us at this point in time.”

Cameron continues, explaining the thinking behind its self-release even though they’d had interest from labels, “It was at a time in the band’s career when we just weren’t ready for it. It would’ve been bloody dangerous for a band like ours to get all starry-eyed over attention from major labels. We were still getting to know each other socially and musically, we knew we had to form our sound ourselves and there was serious concern that the labels would take this freedom away. The very fact that our debut album is a live one is something most labels would have baulked at but it’s something that we felt was essential and right and proper.”

Toby elaborates further, “If you get signed then you may be lucky enough to have the label bankroll your recordings and tour etc. But then you’re in debt and anything you earn goes into paying off that debt. I think bands struggle to make any money in that position – unless you sell millions of records. The internet has had a massive impact on the way music is distributed and promoted, now it is possible to reach a wider audience without the aid of a record label.”

So of course, I asked Toby how BDE planned to spread the word, “In a word… Legwork! We have to invest faith in the idea that quality is important to people. If there isn’t a place in the modern industry for music with integrity then we’re screwed. I think the most important thing for an unsigned band is to be pro-active, nobody is going to come knocking on your door, you have to go out there yourself and do some knocking, and it seems that the hard work hasn’t been in vain as some pretty serious backers are again pricking up their ears.” Gigs are clearly where the band are in their element, so I wondered if that’s what prompted the release of a live album, “I think most bands sound better live. Part of the battle in the studio is to capture some of the raw energy you have when performing and when you play before an audience different things happen, you make different decisions.” Toby pauses to think and then continues. “Recording live means you only get one shot at getting it right, but if you nail it you’ll have captured something special. I don’t think you can ever be completely happy with any recording you make, you always feel you could’ve done something differently, or better.”

The first track on their album might be blues, but don’t make the mistake of simply calling them a blues band: “Blues is the reason I got into playing music, and it’s deeply embedded in our sound. That said, I try not to refer to the band as such. The blues is an ever evolving form, from the early delta sounds, to jazz, rock, hip hop and beyond, it has continued to change and incorporate new things into what we understand to be ‘blues’.” He coughs and considers, “So I think giving any music one name is a rather misleading thing to do, it’s more of a patchwork of many styles, anything you care to think of.”

Whilst world tours are the norm for the superstars, things are a lot different for the majority of gigging bands, and although they’ve toured with The Mavericks and opened for The Magic Band, BDE are realistic, “With the summer festival season rapidly approaching, that’ll really be the mainstay of our ‘touring’ until later in the year. Between day jobs, families and festival gigs almost every weekend, there is little time for conventional touring in that sense. We’re discussing international touring, and we’ll certainly be getting round as much of Britain as we can in 2013.”

Lastly, I asked them what they hope to achieve with this album. “It was never our intention to get rich off this but if the album funds future projects and allows us the continued freedom to make the music we want to, then it’s safe to say it’s done its job.”

Info: Black Diamond Express play the midnight slot at Assembly Rooms every Saturday during the Fringe. The Brimstone for Hell album is available at theblackdiamondexpress.com - Leither Magazince


"All Aboard The Black Diamond Express"

Dave McGuire talks to one of Edinburgh’s finest, and certainly most ubiquitous, live bands about, well, playing live and stuff...

Edinburgh’s very own Black Diamond Express have built up a reputation over the past six years for the raw power and energy of their live performances. The Leither caught up with Toby and Cameron as they geared up for a host of live shows and to talk to them about their well received debut album, Brimstone for Hell, which in characteristically maverick style is both self-released and a live recording.

I asked them how they felt about the album, “I think that time has really allowed us to develop our sound and our show, and I believe the album is testament to this. It’s a tricky balance, right now we sound tight, we’re rehearsed but the music is energetic and spontaneous so a live album seemed obvious to us at this point in time.”

Cameron continues, explaining the thinking behind its self-release even though they’d had interest from labels, “It was at a time in the band’s career when we just weren’t ready for it. It would’ve been bloody dangerous for a band like ours to get all starry-eyed over attention from major labels. We were still getting to know each other socially and musically, we knew we had to form our sound ourselves and there was serious concern that the labels would take this freedom away. The very fact that our debut album is a live one is something most labels would have baulked at but it’s something that we felt was essential and right and proper.”

Toby elaborates further, “If you get signed then you may be lucky enough to have the label bankroll your recordings and tour etc. But then you’re in debt and anything you earn goes into paying off that debt. I think bands struggle to make any money in that position – unless you sell millions of records. The internet has had a massive impact on the way music is distributed and promoted, now it is possible to reach a wider audience without the aid of a record label.”

So of course, I asked Toby how BDE planned to spread the word, “In a word… Legwork! We have to invest faith in the idea that quality is important to people. If there isn’t a place in the modern industry for music with integrity then we’re screwed. I think the most important thing for an unsigned band is to be pro-active, nobody is going to come knocking on your door, you have to go out there yourself and do some knocking, and it seems that the hard work hasn’t been in vain as some pretty serious backers are again pricking up their ears.” Gigs are clearly where the band are in their element, so I wondered if that’s what prompted the release of a live album, “I think most bands sound better live. Part of the battle in the studio is to capture some of the raw energy you have when performing and when you play before an audience different things happen, you make different decisions.” Toby pauses to think and then continues. “Recording live means you only get one shot at getting it right, but if you nail it you’ll have captured something special. I don’t think you can ever be completely happy with any recording you make, you always feel you could’ve done something differently, or better.”

The first track on their album might be blues, but don’t make the mistake of simply calling them a blues band: “Blues is the reason I got into playing music, and it’s deeply embedded in our sound. That said, I try not to refer to the band as such. The blues is an ever evolving form, from the early delta sounds, to jazz, rock, hip hop and beyond, it has continued to change and incorporate new things into what we understand to be ‘blues’.” He coughs and considers, “So I think giving any music one name is a rather misleading thing to do, it’s more of a patchwork of many styles, anything you care to think of.”

Whilst world tours are the norm for the superstars, things are a lot different for the majority of gigging bands, and although they’ve toured with The Mavericks and opened for The Magic Band, BDE are realistic, “With the summer festival season rapidly approaching, that’ll really be the mainstay of our ‘touring’ until later in the year. Between day jobs, families and festival gigs almost every weekend, there is little time for conventional touring in that sense. We’re discussing international touring, and we’ll certainly be getting round as much of Britain as we can in 2013.”

Lastly, I asked them what they hope to achieve with this album. “It was never our intention to get rich off this but if the album funds future projects and allows us the continued freedom to make the music we want to, then it’s safe to say it’s done its job.”

Info: Black Diamond Express play the midnight slot at Assembly Rooms every Saturday during the Fringe. The Brimstone for Hell album is available at theblackdiamondexpress.com - Leither Magazince


"Gig review: The Mavericks / Black Diamond Express, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall"

IT’S hard to imagine there was much contention over which song should open the recently-reunited Mavericks’ first UK show – a Celtic Connections exclusive, ahead of next month’s US tour.

The Mavericks / Black Diamond Express

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

****

The first track on In Time, their forthcoming brand-new album, is after all called Back in Your Arms Again – apposite equally for the band’s own restored musical embrace, their wholehearted welcome from a sellout crowd of devoted fans, and lead singer Raul Malo’s delighted return to Celtic Connections, after three consecutive solo visits.

The Grammy-winning outfit’s founding trio of Malo, multi-instrumentalist Robert Reynolds and drummer Paul Deakin, with longtime collaborator Jerry Dale McFadden on keyboards, featured amid a nine-piece line-up also including hotshot lead guitarist Eddie Perez, plus accordion, sax and trumpet.

Their core signature fusion of sultry, snake-hipped Latin sounds with classic country styles was further souped up by a wealth of red-blooded guitar-rock attack, luxuriantly balanced by Malo’s gorgeously unfurling, often Orbison-esque vocals.

In a seamless mix of new and old material, other highlights from In Time included the pathos-drenched Born to Be Blue and the flamboyantly stormy Come Unto Me, while the band’s biggest previous hit, Dance The Night Away, naturally brought the crowd to its feet.

Edinburgh eight-piece Black Diamond Express landed the ultimate plum prize as support, and delivered an intriguingly concocted set ranging from sepulchrally dark’n’dirty blues to Waterboys-esque roots-rock. - The Scotsman


"Gig review: The Mavericks / Black Diamond Express, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall"

IT’S hard to imagine there was much contention over which song should open the recently-reunited Mavericks’ first UK show – a Celtic Connections exclusive, ahead of next month’s US tour.

The Mavericks / Black Diamond Express

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

****

The first track on In Time, their forthcoming brand-new album, is after all called Back in Your Arms Again – apposite equally for the band’s own restored musical embrace, their wholehearted welcome from a sellout crowd of devoted fans, and lead singer Raul Malo’s delighted return to Celtic Connections, after three consecutive solo visits.

The Grammy-winning outfit’s founding trio of Malo, multi-instrumentalist Robert Reynolds and drummer Paul Deakin, with longtime collaborator Jerry Dale McFadden on keyboards, featured amid a nine-piece line-up also including hotshot lead guitarist Eddie Perez, plus accordion, sax and trumpet.

Their core signature fusion of sultry, snake-hipped Latin sounds with classic country styles was further souped up by a wealth of red-blooded guitar-rock attack, luxuriantly balanced by Malo’s gorgeously unfurling, often Orbison-esque vocals.

In a seamless mix of new and old material, other highlights from In Time included the pathos-drenched Born to Be Blue and the flamboyantly stormy Come Unto Me, while the band’s biggest previous hit, Dance The Night Away, naturally brought the crowd to its feet.

Edinburgh eight-piece Black Diamond Express landed the ultimate plum prize as support, and delivered an intriguingly concocted set ranging from sepulchrally dark’n’dirty blues to Waterboys-esque roots-rock. - The Scotsman


"Recensie: The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone For Hell"

Tekst: Taco Broekman

Na hun tour met The Mavericks door Schotland waren de pers en de (nieuwe) fans eensgezind: Geweldig bandje! Met de Danny Kyle Award Celtic Connections 2012 op zak en met hun inmiddels opgebouwde reputatie bouwt het in 2007 gevormde The BDE razendsnel een aan veelbelovende toekomst……Nu het live, in eigen beheer geproduceerde en uitgebrachte, debuutalbum van dit britse gezelschap is dan ook het beluisteren meer dan waard. Country, blues, americana met een sausje celtic rock zijn slechts typeringen van wat dit bandje allemaal in zijn/haar mars heeft. Opwindend! Het openingsnummer: Every night about this time zet direct de toon en de 2e track: Nemos Saltat sobrius (niemand danst nuchter!) zegt alles over dit live-album! Beluister het onstuimige Dyin’crapshooters blues of Exhibit B waarin de viool en mondharmonica wedijveren om aandacht en u bent verkocht!!

Het 9-delige gezelschap is het best te omschrijven als een band dat gedrenkt in Bourbon, poezie en mystiek zowel Robert Johnson en The Sex Pistols trouw blijft.

Ian Mc Hugh (Tonemonkey/UK Jazzradio): “Sound is great throughout, it’s clear and punchy, coping well with the dynamics of a big live band in full flow and allowing listeners to explore the multilayered sound the act creates. The gig seems to have been attended by an enthusiastic audience who are obviously enjoying themselves, but who’s contribution to the atmosphere is a little too low in the mix to fully convey the atmosphere of the performance. Of course, If all I have to criticize is the level of the audience in the mix, I have nothing else to complain about, and that means that I think this is a very good disc. - Blues Magazine


"Recensie: The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone For Hell"

Tekst: Taco Broekman

Na hun tour met The Mavericks door Schotland waren de pers en de (nieuwe) fans eensgezind: Geweldig bandje! Met de Danny Kyle Award Celtic Connections 2012 op zak en met hun inmiddels opgebouwde reputatie bouwt het in 2007 gevormde The BDE razendsnel een aan veelbelovende toekomst……Nu het live, in eigen beheer geproduceerde en uitgebrachte, debuutalbum van dit britse gezelschap is dan ook het beluisteren meer dan waard. Country, blues, americana met een sausje celtic rock zijn slechts typeringen van wat dit bandje allemaal in zijn/haar mars heeft. Opwindend! Het openingsnummer: Every night about this time zet direct de toon en de 2e track: Nemos Saltat sobrius (niemand danst nuchter!) zegt alles over dit live-album! Beluister het onstuimige Dyin’crapshooters blues of Exhibit B waarin de viool en mondharmonica wedijveren om aandacht en u bent verkocht!!

Het 9-delige gezelschap is het best te omschrijven als een band dat gedrenkt in Bourbon, poezie en mystiek zowel Robert Johnson en The Sex Pistols trouw blijft.

Ian Mc Hugh (Tonemonkey/UK Jazzradio): “Sound is great throughout, it’s clear and punchy, coping well with the dynamics of a big live band in full flow and allowing listeners to explore the multilayered sound the act creates. The gig seems to have been attended by an enthusiastic audience who are obviously enjoying themselves, but who’s contribution to the atmosphere is a little too low in the mix to fully convey the atmosphere of the performance. Of course, If all I have to criticize is the level of the audience in the mix, I have nothing else to complain about, and that means that I think this is a very good disc. - Blues Magazine


"Various artists, For The Sake of The Song: No Mean City Festival, 02ABC / Broadcast, Glasgow, 31st August 2013."



The sun was shining at 2pm as this day long curtain raiser for The No Mean City Americana festival kicked off. For some of us it was the last we'd see of it that day as the labyrinthine darkness of the 02ABC enveloped us with folk stumbling around in the dark feeling for steps and seats with their feet. The sole source of light was the stage which was set for a sequence of 11 acts, all local bar one, who'd play away until closing time around 11. At the same time and a short walk away in Broadcast, just along Sauchiehall St. several other acts were gearing up to do the same, an all day ticket allowing access to both venues.

An adventurous concept indeed and it's fair to say that the early start didn't benefit the opening acts with just a determined and possibly photophobic motley crew in attendance from the start including your intrepid reporter.

The event kicked off with Jim Dead whose 2011 album Ten Fires was an offshoot of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's guitar wracked epics. Solo today he appeared somewhat dwarfed on the stage with precious few folk present leaving a large empty space in front of him. However with only an acoustic guitar and voice to mike he didn't suffer from some of the sound problems experienced by later acts who had precious little time to sound check (in full view of all) and as a result his guitar work resonated around the room while his sonorous voice carried a hint of doom especially when he opened his song Stealing a Mile with the foreboding line "There's a Thunder Coming" while Coffee and Cocaine from the Ten Fires album and Giving Up The Ghost were somewhat spine tingling. A fine start. Next up were The Big Nowhere, a six piece act whose sax player probably added around 20 years to the band's average age but who played with a gusto that belied his vintage. Although a few more folk had ventured in the audience was still sparse but this didn't deter the band who played a fiery set that at times recalled the E Street Band and at others Cracker. Less country sounding than on their albums they opened with a fine version of Who Will Save The Bodies (When They Drown)? from their album Don't Burn The Fortune and closed with an excellent blowsy rendition of One Night With You which allowed the sax player plenty of space to solo. Rousing stuff and with more folk stumbling in a good ambience was building up. With each act allotted around 30 minutes and with about 15-20 minutes spent setting up there was a chance to mingle while the PA played classics from the Brill Building era in preparation for the late night headliner.

Pretty soon a tall, slim, bearded dude set up armed with a very nice looking black Gibson guitar and with three compadres waded onto Zuma beach. Jamie Flett, bass player with Scottish bluegrass band The Ballachulish Hellhounds has been recording under his own name for a while but here he and his Flaming Jets took a few of his songs and gave then a Crazy Horse makeover. Ruby and Pearls stood out while a version of Powderfinger unashamedly paid tribute to his current mentor. With the guitars churning and jagged solos sparking away there was also a hint of Led Zeppelin's blues abandon with their version of In My Time Of Dying coming to mind. One waits in anticipation for the studio versions of these songs done in Flett's new style. Swapping instruments Flett was soon back on stage on bass with the Ballachulish Hellhounds who ran through their well worked out versions of well kent songs such as Shady Grove, Good Old Mountain Dew and You Ain't Going Nowhere and received the biggest audience reaction so far.

There was an influx of people for the next band up. Attic Lights were for a short while the next big thing in Scots rock before their deal with Island Records went down the pan. Having released their second album earlier this year on Elefant Records they're having a second crack of the whip and it must be said that from the start their experience showed with theirs the most polished and engaging performance so far. Their bright punchy pop was energising as they ran through numbers from their two albums including Don't You and Bring You Down. Kevin Sherry remains a fantastic front man and they closed their short set with an excellent and boisterous Say You Love Me. In contrast the Levee Strollers strolled on with their acoustic instruments including double bass, banjo and mandolin and offered the crowd some songs in the vein of Old Crow Medicine Show. As with the Ballachulish Hellhounds the audience lapped up the good timey bluegrass vibes with the band slowing it down for a cover of Harry Chapin's Cat's In The Cradle.

By now the bands had some competition for attention as the heavenly aroma of slow cooked pulled pork wafted from the pop up canteen provided by local BBQ specialists SMOAK. It was an opportune time to eat as the next act, Peggy Sue were having problems in setti - AmericanaUK


"Various artists, For The Sake of The Song: No Mean City Festival, 02ABC / Broadcast, Glasgow, 31st August 2013."



The sun was shining at 2pm as this day long curtain raiser for The No Mean City Americana festival kicked off. For some of us it was the last we'd see of it that day as the labyrinthine darkness of the 02ABC enveloped us with folk stumbling around in the dark feeling for steps and seats with their feet. The sole source of light was the stage which was set for a sequence of 11 acts, all local bar one, who'd play away until closing time around 11. At the same time and a short walk away in Broadcast, just along Sauchiehall St. several other acts were gearing up to do the same, an all day ticket allowing access to both venues.

An adventurous concept indeed and it's fair to say that the early start didn't benefit the opening acts with just a determined and possibly photophobic motley crew in attendance from the start including your intrepid reporter.

The event kicked off with Jim Dead whose 2011 album Ten Fires was an offshoot of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's guitar wracked epics. Solo today he appeared somewhat dwarfed on the stage with precious few folk present leaving a large empty space in front of him. However with only an acoustic guitar and voice to mike he didn't suffer from some of the sound problems experienced by later acts who had precious little time to sound check (in full view of all) and as a result his guitar work resonated around the room while his sonorous voice carried a hint of doom especially when he opened his song Stealing a Mile with the foreboding line "There's a Thunder Coming" while Coffee and Cocaine from the Ten Fires album and Giving Up The Ghost were somewhat spine tingling. A fine start. Next up were The Big Nowhere, a six piece act whose sax player probably added around 20 years to the band's average age but who played with a gusto that belied his vintage. Although a few more folk had ventured in the audience was still sparse but this didn't deter the band who played a fiery set that at times recalled the E Street Band and at others Cracker. Less country sounding than on their albums they opened with a fine version of Who Will Save The Bodies (When They Drown)? from their album Don't Burn The Fortune and closed with an excellent blowsy rendition of One Night With You which allowed the sax player plenty of space to solo. Rousing stuff and with more folk stumbling in a good ambience was building up. With each act allotted around 30 minutes and with about 15-20 minutes spent setting up there was a chance to mingle while the PA played classics from the Brill Building era in preparation for the late night headliner.

Pretty soon a tall, slim, bearded dude set up armed with a very nice looking black Gibson guitar and with three compadres waded onto Zuma beach. Jamie Flett, bass player with Scottish bluegrass band The Ballachulish Hellhounds has been recording under his own name for a while but here he and his Flaming Jets took a few of his songs and gave then a Crazy Horse makeover. Ruby and Pearls stood out while a version of Powderfinger unashamedly paid tribute to his current mentor. With the guitars churning and jagged solos sparking away there was also a hint of Led Zeppelin's blues abandon with their version of In My Time Of Dying coming to mind. One waits in anticipation for the studio versions of these songs done in Flett's new style. Swapping instruments Flett was soon back on stage on bass with the Ballachulish Hellhounds who ran through their well worked out versions of well kent songs such as Shady Grove, Good Old Mountain Dew and You Ain't Going Nowhere and received the biggest audience reaction so far.

There was an influx of people for the next band up. Attic Lights were for a short while the next big thing in Scots rock before their deal with Island Records went down the pan. Having released their second album earlier this year on Elefant Records they're having a second crack of the whip and it must be said that from the start their experience showed with theirs the most polished and engaging performance so far. Their bright punchy pop was energising as they ran through numbers from their two albums including Don't You and Bring You Down. Kevin Sherry remains a fantastic front man and they closed their short set with an excellent and boisterous Say You Love Me. In contrast the Levee Strollers strolled on with their acoustic instruments including double bass, banjo and mandolin and offered the crowd some songs in the vein of Old Crow Medicine Show. As with the Ballachulish Hellhounds the audience lapped up the good timey bluegrass vibes with the band slowing it down for a cover of Harry Chapin's Cat's In The Cradle.

By now the bands had some competition for attention as the heavenly aroma of slow cooked pulled pork wafted from the pop up canteen provided by local BBQ specialists SMOAK. It was an opportune time to eat as the next act, Peggy Sue were having problems in setti - AmericanaUK


"Celtic Connections 2013"

It was Tuesday, 22nd of January and we were going to see the Mavericks live at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and of course we were so excited… nine years since we had last seen them! Hannah had got us some brilliant seats very near the front and we sat, fizzing with expectation. Of course there was a support act, but none of us had ever heard of them… well, all I can say is, silly us!

?

Onto the stage came a couple of very smart and handsome chaps, then some more, and some more, and a few more until the stage was full of dapper young men, maybe about nine of them, I sort of lost count! They all wore shirts and ties, some wore waistcoats, some wore jackets, some were in complete three-piece sharp suits and had a variety of instruments, guitars, drums, fiddles,keyboard… and more. I don’t know how to describe their music except to say it was brilliant, they were so loud and so good. The lead singer who looked a little like Mark Rylance the actor and director, had a tremendous voice as he sang what sounded like a fusion of folk and rock; he sang, he shouted, he screeched, he stamped, he yelped – fantastic! The songs had narrative, and told of hard and desperate times with passion and compassion.

?

?They only played a short set because of course they were the support act, but I would really love to catchup with them and hear them again. Them… They are The Black Diamond Express, and they come from Edinburgh and you can find out more about them and listen to some of their songs here.
- Lois Elsden


"Celtic Connections 2013"

It was Tuesday, 22nd of January and we were going to see the Mavericks live at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and of course we were so excited… nine years since we had last seen them! Hannah had got us some brilliant seats very near the front and we sat, fizzing with expectation. Of course there was a support act, but none of us had ever heard of them… well, all I can say is, silly us!

?

Onto the stage came a couple of very smart and handsome chaps, then some more, and some more, and a few more until the stage was full of dapper young men, maybe about nine of them, I sort of lost count! They all wore shirts and ties, some wore waistcoats, some wore jackets, some were in complete three-piece sharp suits and had a variety of instruments, guitars, drums, fiddles,keyboard… and more. I don’t know how to describe their music except to say it was brilliant, they were so loud and so good. The lead singer who looked a little like Mark Rylance the actor and director, had a tremendous voice as he sang what sounded like a fusion of folk and rock; he sang, he shouted, he screeched, he stamped, he yelped – fantastic! The songs had narrative, and told of hard and desperate times with passion and compassion.

?

?They only played a short set because of course they were the support act, but I would really love to catchup with them and hear them again. Them… They are The Black Diamond Express, and they come from Edinburgh and you can find out more about them and listen to some of their songs here.
- Lois Elsden


"The Black Diamond Express"

“Like the fastest train of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, The Black Diamond Express is, at full compliment, a nine-piece soaked in poetry, myth and bourbon. Led by the enigmatic Jack of Diamonds its combination of slide, acoustic and electric guitars over string bass, cello and fiddle, blues harp, drums and percussion beguiles with the look, the sound and (what really sets them apart) the energy of railroad blues bona fides. Nevertheless, a contemporary alternative band that combines original material with traditional standards and a fully realised pre-war blues fixation (the name tipping a wink to the Black Diamond Express Train To Hell of roots blues mythology) with an acceptance of the new. The BDE somehow stay true to both Robert Johnson and The Sex Pistols.

?

The local, unsigned outfit then take this character to its natural conclusion with Jack meeting us at the station armed with bellowing sermons and a swaggering, suited performance that’s equally worthy of The Spiegel Tent or Glastonbury.”

? - The List - Mark Edmunson


"The Black Diamond Express"

“Like the fastest train of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, The Black Diamond Express is, at full compliment, a nine-piece soaked in poetry, myth and bourbon. Led by the enigmatic Jack of Diamonds its combination of slide, acoustic and electric guitars over string bass, cello and fiddle, blues harp, drums and percussion beguiles with the look, the sound and (what really sets them apart) the energy of railroad blues bona fides. Nevertheless, a contemporary alternative band that combines original material with traditional standards and a fully realised pre-war blues fixation (the name tipping a wink to the Black Diamond Express Train To Hell of roots blues mythology) with an acceptance of the new. The BDE somehow stay true to both Robert Johnson and The Sex Pistols.

?

The local, unsigned outfit then take this character to its natural conclusion with Jack meeting us at the station armed with bellowing sermons and a swaggering, suited performance that’s equally worthy of The Spiegel Tent or Glastonbury.”

? - The List - Mark Edmunson


""One of the finest bands I've heard in a long time""

One of the best things I get to experience on a regular basis is the discovery of great new music. I’m lucky, I know, but I do appreciate it. At the moment there is so much great, inventive and exciting, blues based music out there that it’s hard to keep up with what’s happening. At the moment a lot of that music is coming from Scotland and with the two excellent Jock’s Juke Joint compilations offering a great insight into the huge variety of tunes coming from north of the border I have discovered a number of great bands.

One of those bands is The Black Diamond Express, ostensibly a blues band but not afraid of adding other flavours to their music with the sound of violin and close harmony vocals giving hints of folk and a definite edginess to the music that marks out many of the greatest modern acts. They have a fresh and vibrant sound that reeks of individuality as is clear from the first moment you listen to their debut album, Brimstone For Hell.

?

The disc is a live recording, always a risky path to take, especially for a debut release in a world where first impressions mean s much to the success or failure of an act, but one that when it works pays off in spades. Well, this is definitely one of the latter cases, opening with a stunningly dynamic take on Every Night About This Time which sets the pulse racing with its powerful swings in volume while never dropping the intensity, it’s a great pathfinder for the rest of the album. As a whole the album swings wildly between extremes of emotion and power while never dropping that intensity, if it’s the folksier strains of Nemo Saltat Sobrinius or the spine chilling version of Otis Rush’s Double Trouble, it’s all delivered in a way that demands the listeners attention.

?

Sound is great throughout, it’s clear and punchy, coping well with the dynamics of a big live band in full flow and allowing listeners to explore the multilayered sound the act creates. The gig seems to have been attended by an enthusiastic audience who are obviously enjoying themselves, but who’s contribution to the atmosphere is a little too low in the mix to fully convey the atmosphere of the performance. Of course, If all I have to criticize is the level of the audience in the mix, I have nothing else to complain about, and that means that I think this is a very good disc.

?

The Black Diamond Express are a big deal north of the border, having been nominated for a Scottish BAFTA amongst other accolades, and with this excellent release they are sure to garner a huge amount of attention across the rest of the nation and internationally. Now would be an ideal time to get in ahead of the rush, and you couldn’t get a better start than this release.

- Tonemonkey - Ian Mchugh - Ukjazzradio


""One of the finest bands I've heard in a long time""

One of the best things I get to experience on a regular basis is the discovery of great new music. I’m lucky, I know, but I do appreciate it. At the moment there is so much great, inventive and exciting, blues based music out there that it’s hard to keep up with what’s happening. At the moment a lot of that music is coming from Scotland and with the two excellent Jock’s Juke Joint compilations offering a great insight into the huge variety of tunes coming from north of the border I have discovered a number of great bands.

One of those bands is The Black Diamond Express, ostensibly a blues band but not afraid of adding other flavours to their music with the sound of violin and close harmony vocals giving hints of folk and a definite edginess to the music that marks out many of the greatest modern acts. They have a fresh and vibrant sound that reeks of individuality as is clear from the first moment you listen to their debut album, Brimstone For Hell.

?

The disc is a live recording, always a risky path to take, especially for a debut release in a world where first impressions mean s much to the success or failure of an act, but one that when it works pays off in spades. Well, this is definitely one of the latter cases, opening with a stunningly dynamic take on Every Night About This Time which sets the pulse racing with its powerful swings in volume while never dropping the intensity, it’s a great pathfinder for the rest of the album. As a whole the album swings wildly between extremes of emotion and power while never dropping that intensity, if it’s the folksier strains of Nemo Saltat Sobrinius or the spine chilling version of Otis Rush’s Double Trouble, it’s all delivered in a way that demands the listeners attention.

?

Sound is great throughout, it’s clear and punchy, coping well with the dynamics of a big live band in full flow and allowing listeners to explore the multilayered sound the act creates. The gig seems to have been attended by an enthusiastic audience who are obviously enjoying themselves, but who’s contribution to the atmosphere is a little too low in the mix to fully convey the atmosphere of the performance. Of course, If all I have to criticize is the level of the audience in the mix, I have nothing else to complain about, and that means that I think this is a very good disc.

?

The Black Diamond Express are a big deal north of the border, having been nominated for a Scottish BAFTA amongst other accolades, and with this excellent release they are sure to garner a huge amount of attention across the rest of the nation and internationally. Now would be an ideal time to get in ahead of the rush, and you couldn’t get a better start than this release.

- Tonemonkey - Ian Mchugh - Ukjazzradio


"The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone for Hell"

This is not an easy album to find but if you manage it, it rewards you with some excellent Blues, country and folk.
The band supported The Mavericks on their recent tour of Scotland and reports suggest that the support act blew their highly rated headliners off stage and made a lot of friends in the process.

?

Listening to the album, I’m not surprised. What comes shooting out of the speakers is swaggering confidence, back up by playing of the first water. The swagger is fair because they can cut the mustard but also because they are in total control and playing the music is well within their capabilities – the only downside of this album is that there is never that edge that suggests it could all go tits-up any moment but the quality is good enough – I can live with that.

?

‘The Dyin’ Crapshooters Blues’ is a great, rollicking Blues with some terrific harp playing while ‘Exhibit B’ could be an Americana classic with harmonica and fiddle vying for attention in the break. ‘Never Was A Lass So Fair’ was featured in a recent compilation of Scotland’s best and it is a delightful bit of Celtic Folk.


I love the rolling country/Blues of ‘Preachin’ Blues’ with the band blasting between verses and they do a stunning version of RL Burnsides ‘Goin’ Down South’ that really captures the North Mississippi sound – all the rawness and edge you could wish for.

The band seem not to have an identity that you could pin your hat on but for all that they have made an album that is very listenable to and well worth tracking down. - Andy Snipper - Music News


"The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone for Hell"

This is not an easy album to find but if you manage it, it rewards you with some excellent Blues, country and folk.
The band supported The Mavericks on their recent tour of Scotland and reports suggest that the support act blew their highly rated headliners off stage and made a lot of friends in the process.

?

Listening to the album, I’m not surprised. What comes shooting out of the speakers is swaggering confidence, back up by playing of the first water. The swagger is fair because they can cut the mustard but also because they are in total control and playing the music is well within their capabilities – the only downside of this album is that there is never that edge that suggests it could all go tits-up any moment but the quality is good enough – I can live with that.

?

‘The Dyin’ Crapshooters Blues’ is a great, rollicking Blues with some terrific harp playing while ‘Exhibit B’ could be an Americana classic with harmonica and fiddle vying for attention in the break. ‘Never Was A Lass So Fair’ was featured in a recent compilation of Scotland’s best and it is a delightful bit of Celtic Folk.


I love the rolling country/Blues of ‘Preachin’ Blues’ with the band blasting between verses and they do a stunning version of RL Burnsides ‘Goin’ Down South’ that really captures the North Mississippi sound – all the rawness and edge you could wish for.

The band seem not to have an identity that you could pin your hat on but for all that they have made an album that is very listenable to and well worth tracking down. - Andy Snipper - Music News


"The Black Diamond Express should be as big as Mumford and Sons"

WE know how hard it is to get your music heard. If you are unsigned or releasing material on your own label or on a Scottish independent label, we want to hear it. Write to: Rick Fulton, Soundcheck, Daily Record, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA. Sorry, but we can only return demos that have an SAE.

TheBlack Diamond Express Brimstone For Hell THE Edinburgh blues ninepiece are set to release their rootsy funkalicious debut album. Recorded live at The Caves, it oozes class and you can almost smell the bourbon permeating each song.

Just listen to the album's second track - Nemo Saltat Sobrius (Sober Men Don't Dance), a mix of blues guitars and funk bass.

Can you get a bettersounding DNA tune than that? Well, try Jack with its four-to-the-floor beat, Ewan Gibson's sexy bass, the song's catchy "woo hoo yeah yeahs" and Tom McClelland's raspy harmonica.

Then there's the slow melt of Never Was A Lass So Fair, which adds folk into the mix.

But the sound could be from a Scottish folk pub, while Live Free or Die could be Razorlight with the funk.

It's just another string on what turns out - after listening to the 12 songs - a very big bow. The Black Diamond Express should be as big as Mumford & Sons.

Brimstone For Hell will be released on May 5. www.theblackdiamondexpress.com - Soundcheck - The Daily Record - Rick Fulton and John Dingwall


"The Black Diamond Express should be as big as Mumford and Sons"

WE know how hard it is to get your music heard. If you are unsigned or releasing material on your own label or on a Scottish independent label, we want to hear it. Write to: Rick Fulton, Soundcheck, Daily Record, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA. Sorry, but we can only return demos that have an SAE.

TheBlack Diamond Express Brimstone For Hell THE Edinburgh blues ninepiece are set to release their rootsy funkalicious debut album. Recorded live at The Caves, it oozes class and you can almost smell the bourbon permeating each song.

Just listen to the album's second track - Nemo Saltat Sobrius (Sober Men Don't Dance), a mix of blues guitars and funk bass.

Can you get a bettersounding DNA tune than that? Well, try Jack with its four-to-the-floor beat, Ewan Gibson's sexy bass, the song's catchy "woo hoo yeah yeahs" and Tom McClelland's raspy harmonica.

Then there's the slow melt of Never Was A Lass So Fair, which adds folk into the mix.

But the sound could be from a Scottish folk pub, while Live Free or Die could be Razorlight with the funk.

It's just another string on what turns out - after listening to the 12 songs - a very big bow. The Black Diamond Express should be as big as Mumford & Sons.

Brimstone For Hell will be released on May 5. www.theblackdiamondexpress.com - Soundcheck - The Daily Record - Rick Fulton and John Dingwall


"The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone for Hell - Jun 13, 2013"

This debut album from the very popular Edinburgh based BDE is a recording created in defiance to the music industry’s requirements, that they, change their style and approach to suit the major labels demands and it is to their credit and our benefit that they have remained true to their beliefs.

With the confidence gained from their 2012 Danny Kyle award and the highly-regarded reputation they have garnered from the Edinburgh International Festival, the band have created a seriously infectious and footappin’ collection, right from the start, which is a slowburning, rolling blues blaster version of Fats Domino’s “Every Night About This Time,” this is a heady mixture of hard Chicago blues punctuated with a raw, jarring sawing harmonica from Tom McCelland, sustaining a Ray Charles inflected punching vocal from Jack of Diamonds who also provides some very rich guitar work.

The album was recorded live at The Caves, a venue in Edinburgh that is quite literally underground. The violin, drum and infectiously enticing percussion work from Cameron Henderson, the Duke and Tommy Rodriguez, joyously highlights the bands Celtic roots, which runs seamlessly through the music. “Exhibit B,” is a slightly strange but infectious ode to architecture extolling love and wonder simultaneously, the jazzy harmonica, guitar and violin inflections simply sweep you along.
An endearingly magical, violin and percussion creates a swirling melancholy eastern flavour on the esoteric “Never Was A Lass so Fair,” the vulnerable vocals and mandolin top it off. The very entertaining version of Blind Willie McTell’s “Crapshooters Blues,” has a softly spoken melancholy introduction until it breaks out into an enjoyable, confident walking violin and harmonica New Orleans swagger. While, the train like backbone drumming on the fast moving “Jack,” has you clinging and gliding along on the back of the swinging violins and ever punching harmonica.

Robert Johnson’s “Preaching Blues,” has a fast-paced bullet train slide running all along its backbone while the equally fast harmonica and percussion hurtles this gospel/Doors / influenced version on into the distance. The majestically miserable harmonica on Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble,” handsomely compliments the slowly flowing compelling guitar and pounding drum work that winds their way to the end.

The compelling frenetic pace of “Live Free or Die,” amply accentuates and highlights the bands rocking Celtic roots. R. L. Burnside’s “Going Down South,” introduces an earthy, almost visceral cutting, swaggering guitar and harmonica sound that is a definite crowd pleaser. The Tango / Gypsy influenced swinging of “Draw in the Lightning” and the barnstorming rocker “Deeper than Thee,” provide a seriously foot stomping finale; fiddles, guitars, harmonica, percussion and drums enthusiastically race to the end.

BDE are one of the few bands that have successfully melded the traditional to the contemporary in such a winning combination.
Recommended!
- BRIAN HARMAN – Blues in the Northwest


"The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone for Hell - Jun 13, 2013"

This debut album from the very popular Edinburgh based BDE is a recording created in defiance to the music industry’s requirements, that they, change their style and approach to suit the major labels demands and it is to their credit and our benefit that they have remained true to their beliefs.

With the confidence gained from their 2012 Danny Kyle award and the highly-regarded reputation they have garnered from the Edinburgh International Festival, the band have created a seriously infectious and footappin’ collection, right from the start, which is a slowburning, rolling blues blaster version of Fats Domino’s “Every Night About This Time,” this is a heady mixture of hard Chicago blues punctuated with a raw, jarring sawing harmonica from Tom McCelland, sustaining a Ray Charles inflected punching vocal from Jack of Diamonds who also provides some very rich guitar work.

The album was recorded live at The Caves, a venue in Edinburgh that is quite literally underground. The violin, drum and infectiously enticing percussion work from Cameron Henderson, the Duke and Tommy Rodriguez, joyously highlights the bands Celtic roots, which runs seamlessly through the music. “Exhibit B,” is a slightly strange but infectious ode to architecture extolling love and wonder simultaneously, the jazzy harmonica, guitar and violin inflections simply sweep you along.
An endearingly magical, violin and percussion creates a swirling melancholy eastern flavour on the esoteric “Never Was A Lass so Fair,” the vulnerable vocals and mandolin top it off. The very entertaining version of Blind Willie McTell’s “Crapshooters Blues,” has a softly spoken melancholy introduction until it breaks out into an enjoyable, confident walking violin and harmonica New Orleans swagger. While, the train like backbone drumming on the fast moving “Jack,” has you clinging and gliding along on the back of the swinging violins and ever punching harmonica.

Robert Johnson’s “Preaching Blues,” has a fast-paced bullet train slide running all along its backbone while the equally fast harmonica and percussion hurtles this gospel/Doors / influenced version on into the distance. The majestically miserable harmonica on Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble,” handsomely compliments the slowly flowing compelling guitar and pounding drum work that winds their way to the end.

The compelling frenetic pace of “Live Free or Die,” amply accentuates and highlights the bands rocking Celtic roots. R. L. Burnside’s “Going Down South,” introduces an earthy, almost visceral cutting, swaggering guitar and harmonica sound that is a definite crowd pleaser. The Tango / Gypsy influenced swinging of “Draw in the Lightning” and the barnstorming rocker “Deeper than Thee,” provide a seriously foot stomping finale; fiddles, guitars, harmonica, percussion and drums enthusiastically race to the end.

BDE are one of the few bands that have successfully melded the traditional to the contemporary in such a winning combination.
Recommended!
- BRIAN HARMAN – Blues in the Northwest


"The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone for Hell"

Debuting with a live album to demonstrate their synergy and the interaction with their audience, it’s the eclecticism of this Edinburgh nine-piece that impresses most. Opening track ‘Every Night About This Time’ hints at a collection of heavy, minor-key urban blues, whilst ‘Preachin’ Blues’ is presented with a skiffle groove, but there are pleasing, unexpected diversions too.

‘Nemo Saltat Sobrius’ has a back-beat country rhythm and harmony of guitar, yet displays an Eastern feel, maintained in ‘The Dyin’ Crapshooters Blues’, which itself crescendos in to competition with Tom McClelland’s blues harp and multiple guitars without ever being tempted in to self-indulgence.

The Express has a Celtic lineage too, displayed in ‘Never was a Lass so Fair’ featuring melancholy fiddle and careworn vocal. The highlight, however, is ‘Double Trouble’, introduced by an unlikely bass and harp face off, with everything in the Express’s armoury deployed before blunting the attack to give room for impressive, impassioned blues pleading.

This might suggest the band’s not sure of its direction or vision, but that’s not how it comes across. The fit between songs is obvious and the Express’s shrug at genre convention is admirable.

- DAVID INNES – R2 Rock and Reel Magazine


"The Black Diamond Express – Brimstone for Hell"

Debuting with a live album to demonstrate their synergy and the interaction with their audience, it’s the eclecticism of this Edinburgh nine-piece that impresses most. Opening track ‘Every Night About This Time’ hints at a collection of heavy, minor-key urban blues, whilst ‘Preachin’ Blues’ is presented with a skiffle groove, but there are pleasing, unexpected diversions too.

‘Nemo Saltat Sobrius’ has a back-beat country rhythm and harmony of guitar, yet displays an Eastern feel, maintained in ‘The Dyin’ Crapshooters Blues’, which itself crescendos in to competition with Tom McClelland’s blues harp and multiple guitars without ever being tempted in to self-indulgence.

The Express has a Celtic lineage too, displayed in ‘Never was a Lass so Fair’ featuring melancholy fiddle and careworn vocal. The highlight, however, is ‘Double Trouble’, introduced by an unlikely bass and harp face off, with everything in the Express’s armoury deployed before blunting the attack to give room for impressive, impassioned blues pleading.

This might suggest the band’s not sure of its direction or vision, but that’s not how it comes across. The fit between songs is obvious and the Express’s shrug at genre convention is admirable.

- DAVID INNES – R2 Rock and Reel Magazine


"New Music by Jim Gellatly - The Black Diamond Express"

WHO: The Duke (drums/
vocals), Dr Keys (piano/keys),
Ewan Gibson (bass/vocals),
Tommy Rodriguez (percussion/
vocals), Stephen Robinson
(dobro), Steve MacLennan
(guitar/vocals/mandolin),
Cameron Henderson (fiddle/
vocals), Tom ‘Harpo’ McClelland
(harmonica), Jack of Diamonds
(vocals / guitar).

WHERE: Edinburgh.

FOR FANS OF: The Doors,
Nick Cave, Mumford & Sons.

JIM SAYS: They’ve forged
their reputation on blistering
live shows, so it’s maybe not a
surprise The Black Diamond
Express are set to release a
live album as their debut.
Brimstone For Hell captures
the band’s dirty, bluesy rock
’n roll perfectly. Recorded
over two nights at the Caves in
Edinburgh, it’s no surprise
that they have a DVD of the
album planned as well.
All-round it seems a wise
move to have done the album
this way. Aside from anything,
it makes economic sense.
Cameron explained: “The
logistics and time and money
it could cost to take nine guys
into a studio to cut 18 tracks is
formidable to say the least.
“We’re not the sort of band
that go to a rehearsal room
every couple of days. For a
long time the only time we
would meet up was on stage.
The stage is the only place
this band knows.”
Toby Mottershead — AKA
the Jack of Diamonds —
formed the band as a loose
collective in 2007. His vision
was to create the kind of
music you might find in the
bourbon-soaked speakeasies
of prohibition-era Chicago.
The hard work paid off last
year when they were one of
the six acts to play the Danny
Kyle Open Stage final at Celtic
Connections. All the winners
booked a festival slot.
The Black Diamond
Express certainly came up
trumps with a support slot with
US country rockers The Mavericks
at Glasgow Royal Concert
Hall. Cameron said:
“Judging from the response
we got at the gig, I’d say their
fans sure took a shine to us.
Our music is pretty universal.”
The guys have another
important gig this Sunday.
They take to the stage at Edinburgh’s
Picture House supporting
the legendary Magic
Band of Captain Beefheart
fame. With a host of other gigs
across the UK in the next couple
of months, they finally
unleash their live album in
early May.

More: www.theblackdiamondexpress.com

Q Jim will be playing The
Black Diamond Express on
In:Demand Uncut this Sunday
from 7pm on Clyde 1, Forth
One, Northsound 1, Radio Borders,
Tay FM, West FM &
West Sound FM. Go online to
indemandscotland.co.uk
Pic credit: David Brown


- The Scottish Sun


"New Music by Jim Gellatly - The Black Diamond Express"

WHO: The Duke (drums/
vocals), Dr Keys (piano/keys),
Ewan Gibson (bass/vocals),
Tommy Rodriguez (percussion/
vocals), Stephen Robinson
(dobro), Steve MacLennan
(guitar/vocals/mandolin),
Cameron Henderson (fiddle/
vocals), Tom ‘Harpo’ McClelland
(harmonica), Jack of Diamonds
(vocals / guitar).

WHERE: Edinburgh.

FOR FANS OF: The Doors,
Nick Cave, Mumford & Sons.

JIM SAYS: They’ve forged
their reputation on blistering
live shows, so it’s maybe not a
surprise The Black Diamond
Express are set to release a
live album as their debut.
Brimstone For Hell captures
the band’s dirty, bluesy rock
’n roll perfectly. Recorded
over two nights at the Caves in
Edinburgh, it’s no surprise
that they have a DVD of the
album planned as well.
All-round it seems a wise
move to have done the album
this way. Aside from anything,
it makes economic sense.
Cameron explained: “The
logistics and time and money
it could cost to take nine guys
into a studio to cut 18 tracks is
formidable to say the least.
“We’re not the sort of band
that go to a rehearsal room
every couple of days. For a
long time the only time we
would meet up was on stage.
The stage is the only place
this band knows.”
Toby Mottershead — AKA
the Jack of Diamonds —
formed the band as a loose
collective in 2007. His vision
was to create the kind of
music you might find in the
bourbon-soaked speakeasies
of prohibition-era Chicago.
The hard work paid off last
year when they were one of
the six acts to play the Danny
Kyle Open Stage final at Celtic
Connections. All the winners
booked a festival slot.
The Black Diamond
Express certainly came up
trumps with a support slot with
US country rockers The Mavericks
at Glasgow Royal Concert
Hall. Cameron said:
“Judging from the response
we got at the gig, I’d say their
fans sure took a shine to us.
Our music is pretty universal.”
The guys have another
important gig this Sunday.
They take to the stage at Edinburgh’s
Picture House supporting
the legendary Magic
Band of Captain Beefheart
fame. With a host of other gigs
across the UK in the next couple
of months, they finally
unleash their live album in
early May.

More: www.theblackdiamondexpress.com

Q Jim will be playing The
Black Diamond Express on
In:Demand Uncut this Sunday
from 7pm on Clyde 1, Forth
One, Northsound 1, Radio Borders,
Tay FM, West FM &
West Sound FM. Go online to
indemandscotland.co.uk
Pic credit: David Brown


- The Scottish Sun


"Scottish band plays the Nexicom Studio at Showplace on Tuesday"

I really did want to talk to the guys from The Black Diamond Express. This is a nine-member band that piles the Sex Pistols onto muddy delta blues, and somehow manages to make it work so well that they once played for the Dalai Lama. In my 30 years interviewing musicians, I've never spoken to a Scottish folk-punk blues band. So it was irresistible - I'd like to hear someone describe R.L. Burnside's music with a Scottish brogue.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Express landed in Toronto from Scotland earlier this week in preparation for their showcase at NXNE in Toronto. We had a phone interview set up, but the guys' busy schedule got in the way, followed soon after by my own. But the show's Tuesday night at the Nexicom Studio at Showplace, so the time's a-ticking.

Then I got this email, in which frontman Toby Mottershead offers up the answers to the questions the guys expected me to ask. They were pretty close, as it turns out. So I'll use this to introduce you to the latest band to play the Elite Blues Series at Showplace: The Black Diamond Express, on their first Canadian adventure.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

We are an Edinburgh based eight piece band called The Black Diamond Express. So named after a train that featured in Rev A. W. Nix 1927 sermons of the same name. (Full title - The Black Diamond Express Train To Hell). In gospel imagery, the train is usually the modern-day equivalent of the chariot that carries the faithful to heaven, but there has long been another opposite image, that of "death's black train" or "hell-bound train." The latter was the initial inspiration behind the band. You're from the capital.

Tells us about your releases so far. Your catalogue is extensive. Talk to us about them, and tell our readers where they can get them.

We started out with an EP called A Murder of Crows back in 2008 and then we followed it up with a live album last year. There was a huge gap between these releases, we just played, and played, and played, until we felt ready to put it down on record. You can buy the album at any of our shows, or in Edinburgh at Coda Music or Avalanche Records or find it on our website. www.theblackdiamondexpress.com

Which members of the band take the lead in the song writing?

I write the songs and the band bring them to life. Are more releases are on the way? Is there another album coming out? Yes, we are about to start recording our second album entitled The Year of The Snake. It won't be a live album this time so it will have a more intimate feel, and we are recording it at home in Leith on the very spot where the band first got together. We have been working on some great new material and building on what we have learned over the years, I think this release will show how much we've grown since our last recording. It feels like things are coming full circle, the snake is eating it's tail.

What are your plans while you are in Canada? Where can we see you live?

We are playing two shows in Toronto as part of NXNE. Saturday night at 1am in Rivoli with a really interesting sounding group called the Human Orchestra, and then 10pm on Sunday night at Tranzac which sounds like it's going to be a great night too. After that we have a few dates lined up in the surrounding area. It's long about time we put this train on the tracks and The Showplace Peterborough is the first stop!

Who do you listen to, lads? Who gets you fired up?

The Django Reinhardt album Django's Blues has some great tunes on it I'd never heard before, it also features some tracks with him riffing on an electric guitar, very nice. I would love to play more gypsy jazz, but they say the first twenty five years are the hardest. Mississippi Hill Country blues, check out Jessie Mae Hemphill's rendition of Lord Help The Poor (recorded with only tambourine accompaniment after a stroke deprived her of the use of both hands). R.L. Burnside's Early Recordings (recorded by George Mitchell in 1968) and Junior Kimbrough's first record (which was recorded at his home by Robert Plant). Bill Callahan's Rock Bottom Riser and Jim Cain are understated gems and have never strayed far from my record player. I recently came across a strange Lee Hazelwood album called Trouble Is A Lonesome Town, it plays out like a western movie with lazy country backing and Hazelwood delivering a short monologue before each track, file under weird and wonderful.

NOTE: Local band Mayhemingways opens for The Black Diamond Express. Showtime is 8 p.m., and tickets are $25 at Showplace and showplace.org.

kennedy.gordon@sunmedia.ca - Peterborough Examiner


"Scottish roots rockers perform at Showplace in Peterborough on June 24 and The Capitol Theatre in Port Hope on June 26"

Residents of Peterborough and Port Hope have a chance this June to see Scottish roots rockers The Black Diamond Express — only days after they perform at the annual North By Northeast Festival and Conference (NXNE) in Toronto.

A nine-piece band from Edinburgh, The Black Diamond Express have forged a reputation for blistering live shows with music that successfully fuses the traditional with the contemporary.

Their sound is essentially an amalgamation of Celtic and American roots styles, but with a modern and dynamic sensibility. You’ll hear echoes of old-time blues, chain gang work songs, gospel hymns, gutbucket jazz, and plaintive melodies, but all presented through a high-energy ensemble showcasing slide guitar, fiddle, layered vocals, harmonica, and a pounding rhythm section.

One reviewer says the band “somehow stays true to both Robert Johnson and The Sex Pistols”. Another describes the band as “the soaring sound of Arcade Fire coupled with the dark cabaret of Tom Waits”.

The Black Diamond Express consists of Toby “Jack of Diamonds” Mottershead (vocals/guitar), Cameron Henderson (fiddle/vocals), Steve MacLennan (guitar/vocals/mandolin), Stephen Robinson (dobro), Ewan Gibson (electric bass), George “Dr. Keys” (piano/keys), Andy “The Duke” (drums/vocals), Tommy Rodriguez (percussion/vocals), and Tom “Harpo” McClelland (harmonica).

The band takes it name from a 1927 sermon called “The Black Diamond Express Train to Hell” (Sin is the engineer. Pleasure is the headlight, and the Devil is the conductor), one of 57 sermons recorded by Reverend A. W. Nix in Chicago beween 1927 and 1931. The sermon’s metaphorical train is a reference to “The Black Diamond”, the flagship passenger train of the Lehigh Valley Railroad that ran from New York to Buffalo from 1896 until 1959. The train was named for the railroad’s major cargo, anthracite coal, which was known as “the black diamond” because of its exceptional hardness and high value.

The band’s anachronistic name reflects the vision of front man, songwriter and lead vocalist Toby “Jack of Diamonds” Mottershead. Toby formed the band as a loose collective in 2007, intending to recreate the kind of music one might find in the whiskied speakeasies of prohibition-era Chicago. While Toby recognizes the strong influence of the blues (Chicago and otherwise) on the band, he refuses to pigeon-hole The Black Diamond Express as simply a blues band.

“Blues is the reason I got into playing music, and it’s deeply embedded in our sound,” he admits. “That said, I try not to refer to the band as such. The blues is an ever-evolving form, from the early delta sounds, to jazz, rock, hip hop and beyond. It has continued to change and incorporate new things into what we understand to be blues.”

In 2012, the band was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for their work on the short film A Zombie Musical. In May 2013, the band released its debut album Brimstone for Hell to much critial acclaim. The record is unique for two reasons: it was self-funded and it was a live album. Even though they had received interest from music labels, the band decided to go it alone for their first release.

“It was at a time in the band’s career when we just weren’t ready for it,” says fiddler Cameron Henderson. “It would’ve been bloody dangerous for a band like ours to get all starry-eyed over attention from major labels. We were still getting to know each other socially and musically, we knew we had to form our sound ourselves and there was serious concern that the labels would take this freedom away. The very fact that our debut album is a live one is something most labels would have baulked at, but it’s something that we felt was essential and right and proper.”

Releasing a live record as a debut can be risky, but Toby thinks it was the right decision.

“We’re not the sort of band that go to a rehearsal room every couple of days,” he explains. “For a long time, the only time we would meet up was on stage. The stage is the only place this band knows.”

From all accounts, performing live is where The Black Diamond Express truly excel. The band opened for U.S. alternative country band The Mavericks during the latter’s 2013 tour of Scotland, and reports suggest that the support act blew their highly rated headliners off stage at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

“Judging from the response we got at the gig, I’d say their fans sure took a shine to us,” Cameron recalls. “Our music is pretty universal.”

If there isn’t a place in the modern industry for music with integrity, then we’re screwed.

Not having the muscle of a music label behind them means that The Black Diamond Express has had to fund themselves, but Toby doesn’t see this as a drawback.

“If you get signed, then you may be lucky enough to have the label bankroll your recordings and tour,” he says. “But then you’re in debt and anything you earn goes into paying off that debt. I think bands struggle to make any money in that position — unless you sell millions of records.”

Toby also points out that the internet has had a massive impact on the way music is distributed and promoted, and it’s possible to reach a wider audience without the aid of a record label.

“If there isn’t a place in the modern industry for music with integrity, then we’re screwed,” he says. “I think the most important thing for an unsigned band is to be pro-active. Nobody is going to come knocking on your door — you have to go out there yourself and do some knocking.”

According to Toby, it appears that The Black Diamond Express’s hard work hasn’t been in vain. “Some pretty serious backers are again pricking up their ears,” he says.

For more information about the band, visit www.theblackdiamondexpress.com. - Kawartha Now


"Scotland's Black Diamond Express set to tour Canada and play NxNE festival"

Scotland's Black Diamond Express will soon be touring across Canada, culminating in an appearance at Toronto's NxNE (North By Northeast). We speak exclusively to songwriter Toby Mottershead about the tour, and their forthcoming album
Feature by Bram E. Gieben.
Published 01 May 2014

Playing an intoxicating fusion of blues, folk, rock and roll and traditional Celtic music, Black Diamond Express have been building a reputation as one of the most energetic, dynamic and impressive bands on Scotland's live circuit. Now, the band have been awarded funding by Creative Scotland, to assist them in touring across Canada, culminating in an appearance at Toronto's NxNE (North By Northeast), Canada's answer to SxSW, happening at the end of June. They will be the only Scottish band appearing on this year's bill.

We spoke to songwriter and front-man Toby Mottershead about his excitement for the coming tour – he told us that one of the reasons the band chose to tour Canada was because of the Celtic influences in their music. With a huge section of Canada's population claiming Scottish ancestry and fascinated by Scottish culture, there is a long tradition of Scottish artists touring there, and capitalising on Canadian nostalgia for the old country.

The band headline a fundraiser for the forthcoming tour tonight (1 May) at Edinburgh's The Bongo Club, with support from The Jellyman's Daughter – details about The Darktown Strutter's Ball can be found here. The Skinny wishes the Black Diamond Express boys all the very best on their tour – below, read our interview with Mottershead, where he tells us about his influences as a songwriter, the usefulness of funding for emerging bands, and how the spirit of rave animates their performances.

Black Diamond Express are a very diverse and dynamic band – what are some of your prime influences as a songwriter?
My own influences started with early Delta blues. I got into guys like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson when I was a teenager. Over the years I kept getting into these artists deeper and deeper, then I started discovering other styles of music, and I realised that blues seeps into jazz, into country and bluegrass. I spent a lot of my early musical life thinking I was born in the wrong place. But there was a point, which was when I discovered Alan Lomax, which led me back over to the UK, and I began to discover people like Hamish Henderson, playing traditional Celtic folk music.

I realised there was this interchange between British and American folk styles; the music had travelled over there, and then come back. So that took me back to my Celtic roots a little bit more. More recently, we've added some gospel and chain gang accapella songs to our repertoire, and because we are a big band, with eight voices, we're trying to get everyone singing, like a gospel band – but in our own style.

Most of the artists you mention are pretty sedate, or stripped back – but a Black Diamond Express show can be pretty full-on, you guys know how to rock. What inspires the more intense, upfront elements of your band's performance?
If we were alive in the 1920s, we'd probably be more sedate in our performances, but we've lived through all of the evolutions in music that have happened since punk – part of our influences are classic rock, Jimi Hendrix, even dance music. We're aware of all these things as well, and I think sometimes, when we're rocking out, there's an element of the rave days. Even though we're not a dance band, by a long stretch, we do have that in us. We can never truly be just a traditional band. I bring a lot of blues influence to the band, but a lot of the other guys weren't even aware of some of these artists I like – they bring their own influences to what they play.

How important is funding to a band like yours, given the massive sea changes the industry as a whole is currently undergoing?
We wouldn't have been able to do this tour without help. The music industry has definitely changed – there isn't the kind of money thrown at bands that there used to be. I know so many talented artists who, if they had been alive in another decade, might have been signed by now – but these days, they're just doing it themselves. Things go in cycles – there was a big boom in record labels, then that died off, and there's a more underground scene emerging, with people designing, releasing and pubicising their own things. That, in a way, has got to be good, because the bands have total control of what they say about themselves.

Besides, the opportunity was not offered to us on a plate – we had to stick our nexks on the line, and just go for it. We started planning the tour last year, and we had some good leads, but then there was a period where everything went a bit quiet, and we weren't sure it was going to happen. We just decided, 'We are going. Whether we get the funding or not, we're going to make it happen.' It was strange, but when we made that decision, things started to happen. We signed contracts for the gigs, but we only confirmed the funding a few weeks ago, so if we'd pulled out, we'd owe money. But we got it, thankfully!

When do Black Diamond Express plan to release their debut album?
We've released a live album, but we'd like to do an album proper, something with a thread that binds it all together. I wrote the songs for it last year, and it's themed around the Chinese Year of the Snake. A lot of songs have a snake theme. It's a mixture of original compositions, and interpretations of obscure, old-time pieces. We're ready to record, but we don't want to rush it. We hope to have it out before the end of the year, and we hope to record an EP to take on tour with us before we leave. - The Skinny


"Toby Mottershead of The Black Diamond Express"

Toby: "I like the 20's, 30's and 40's style. The way the men dressed back then wasn't just an image, it was kind of a way of life. Gentlemanly conduct -- men opened doors for ladies. I'm inspired by classic jazz musicians like Django Reinhardt, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. Also, sharp looking guys from the 40's and 50's like Bogie and Sinatra. They kinda look like their socks don't smell."

TorontoVerve: "What's the best advice you've ever received and from whom?"

Toby: "The Dali Lama said 'never give up.' Just keep on. That's pretty good advice. We got to play for the Dali Lama in Edinburgh when he was there a few years ago."

Toby fronts for the band Black Diamond Express who were in town to play the NXNE Music Festival and the retro-style is clearly a band favourite with both their look and sound.

Toby: "Musically we take from the old-time American and Celtic roots and we put it together with a big 8-piece band. We take influences and inspiration from that era and we play it with the awareness of everything that's passed -- all the crazy music that's been and gone. We try to do it our way and stay true to our roots and look forward." - Toronto Verve


"Focus Wales: Day One Review"

Louder Than War reports from the heart of Wrexham as the brilliant Focus Wales gets under way.

The first full day of Focus Wales 2014 offered the usual wide range of brilliant bands and conferences. In fact, the festival had kicked off the previous evening with a Drum With Our Hands showcase of some of the best local talent including an edgier Baby Brave, the blast of power that is Orient Machine and the outstanding Camera.

Thursday saw discussions in the afternoon that focused on ways that independent artists can gain wider exposure. Delegates including Huw Stephens, Pete Bailey, Adam Walton and Louder Than War’s John Robb took part in a fascinating and wide ranging discussion. A couple of gems to pass on include Adam Walton’s advice to anyone thinking of hiring a plugger, which is to ask them to write a biography of your band first, that way you’ll soon know if they are really keen on you or just blagging. The other was that sometimes it’s best to submit tracks as demo’s rather than call it your new single. That way it can show potential rather than have you written off if someone doesn’t like your production.

The debate continued around the age-old argument of what we should hear on the radio and when, but offered some great ideas in the process. A fascinating discussion with the legendary Alan McGee followed to wrap up the first day of interactive conferences.

However, enough of the talking. With so much music the obvious problem is where to be, who to see. Today is quite frankly a bit too challenging as the juggling fiends of fate have seen several must sees on at the same time; i.e. John Cooper Clarke up against Damo Suzuki and Georgia Ruth. With so much to see, it’s inevitable that we would also be missing out on a number of great acts, so what follows is a summary of what we saw and is tinged with regret at what we missed.

We kicked off in St Giles’ church with The Mexican Walking Fish and what a start! Some great country sounds beefed up by the spaghetti-western style trumpet that combines perfectly. If the evening had ended there it would have been a success, but Central Station called us for the finely crafted acoustic guitar of The Gentle Good, Cardiff’s Gareth Bonello. With original tunings, some of which he apparently discovered by accident, his songs are a captivating folk-based pleasure.

From here we nipped round the corner to Un Deg Un and caught the end of Hunting Crows, a highly promising local bunch who managed to conjure a sweeping soundscape at the climax. Our next stop was South to witness the outstanding Blues-style, Scottish passion of The Black Diamond Express. Dressed to kill, these guys could have walked straight off the set of Peaky Blinders and, from their soulful intro, revealed a talent that demands attention. Performing here as a four-piece comprising guitar, harmonica, fiddle and bass, they are a compelling sight. Breaking away from the stage, they perform an old chain-gang song that in a flash has the whole crowd accompanying with claps and stamps and provided one of the high points of the festival for me. Watch these if you ever get the chance, they are brilliant.

Now we catch the end of local seventeen year old, and hugely promising, Cara Hammond, back in St. Giles’. A sizeable audience had been captivated by her acoustic performance and huge potential. However, it was now time to leave town and head to Glyndwr University’s William Aston Hall for an unmissable visit from poet, wordsmith, raconteur, world-citizen and now adopted-son of Wales, John Cooper Clark. It’s impossible not to be in total awe of this one-off genius. Most mortals would settle for writing poetry of this quality, but to deliver it in such machine gun fashion in a set of observational, offbeat and tangential hilarity that most stand-up’s would kill to call their own, demonstrates the brilliance of the man. We get classics like Get Back on Drugs, Evidently Chickentown, Twat, Beasley Street and I Wanna Be Yours interspersed with banter, anecdotes and limericks that don’t rhyme during a masterful monologue that is over all too soon.

‘Sleep is sweet to the labouring man’ but this was not the time as less than a mile away the town was jumping, and nowhere more than Un Deg Un and the fantastic Wrexham noiseniks, Doppleganger. This was a much needed shot in the arm as the adrenaline fuelled four piece channelled aggression through a power-packed set in which no quarter was asked or given. In fact, if I was told I had to watch Doppleganger live at 10.30 every Thursday night, it would be a lot easier to get through the working week. A brilliant and therapeutic prescription of noise! However, the attack of time was relentless and as ever, would be the only winner, despite our best efforts.

Central Station was to be the venue where the revellers chose to make their last stand and the evening’s survivors began drifting in in increasing number to rally around the flag of Seazoo. Describing themselves as Post-Teddycore, the original riffs and power-packed melodies were going down a storm and were over all too soon.

Another of the landmark performances was delivered by Cian Ciaran who informed us the previous time he’d done this show was on top of a wind turbine before issuing a powerful denunciation of nuclear power. Billed as a reworked version of his album TANWU in a “suicide meets Kraftwerk versus King Tubby style” the hypnotic sounds and irresistible rhythm drift across this venue as easily as the dry ice and the former Super Furry maestro is in complete control. There is a power and beauty captured in his sound that is the perfect climax to the day, which is rounded off by the soulful groove of Liverpool trio All We Are and a DJ set by Huw Stephens.

One day is over, two remain. For those who have not yet made it here, now is the time to change plans and head up to Wrexham. For those who have; “to sleep, perchance to dream”. Bring on Day two!
- See more at: http://louderthanwar.com/focus-wales-day-0ne-review/#sthash.14dHDLID.dpuf - Louder Than War


Discography

Murder of Crows EP - Limited release – 2008 - can be streamed: http://www.last.fm/music/The+Black+Diamond+Express

 

Brimstone for Hell (Debut Album – Physical copy available through artist website. Also available with immediate download when CD purchased via https://theblackdiamondexpress.bandcamp.com/ 

 

Year of the Snake (EP 1 of 4 )…Coming 2015

 

Live at The Caves Full Concert 2011…Will be available as a free download and via youtube from 1st march 2014. https://www.youtube.com/user/dyingcrapshooters



Photos

Bio

Formed in 2007 the BDE have garnered praise on the back of an extensive catalogue of original new music, stirred with a large measure of roots and blues. Described by The List as a 8-piece soaked in poetry, myth and bourbon. The BDE somehow stay true to both Robert Johnson and The Sex Pistols, armed with bellowing sermons and a swaggering, suited performance equally worthy of The Spiegel Tent or Glastonbury.
Their synergy and on stage presence ensure that everyone - both band and audience - enjoy themselves. These factors made the unorthodox decision to release a live first album a remarkably easy one, even though the process was more challenging than traditional routes.
Last year, the band were nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for their work on the short film A Zombie Musical. In another outing members were closely involved with flourishing educational project The Tinderbox Orchestra, hosting workshops, recording, and performing for the Dalai Lama on his recent State visit. 
As well as the launch of their long-awaited debut album at The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, the band opened last year supporting American giants The Mavericks and legendary group The Magic Band. This was followed by a whistle-stop round of national tour dates including appearances at Midsummer Music Festival, Focus Wales, and an epic set to close the main stage at Insider Festival. Finally rounding off the summer with a triumphant tour of Ontario and a full house slot at NXNE Festival in Toronto, the band returned home to host another sell-out run at the Edinburgh International Festival in August as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase.  

In December the band recorded the first of four new studio EP's to be released in 2015 entitled The Year of The Snake.