Blazing guitar and fiddle, driving drums, and the haunting wail of the Highland pipes... yes, Wolfstone is back. After a brief hiatus, with new vitality, this legendary Scottish band returns with their latest studio recording. Co-produced by Robin Rankin (who worked with them on the... more
For nearly a decade, Wolfstone’s music has brought its Highland spirit and youthful exuberance to the soul of Scottish tradition. What began as a traditional dance band has evolved into a Celtic rock extravaganza, crossing musical, cultural and age boundaries and winning fans around the world.
Fiddler Duncan Chisholm and guitarist Stuart Eaglesham first met in the late 1980s at a pub session in Inverness, Scotland, and formed a band for ceilidhs (Scottish dances). In 1989, they performed at the Highland Traditional Music Festival in Dingwall, fusing drums and bass with keyboards, pipes, guitar and fiddle. The combination was a hit. They were soon offered local gigs that expanded into tours up and down the length and breadth of the Highlands and the Islands.
Within two years, Wolfstone recorded its first album, Unleashed (GLCD3093), produced by Silly Wizard accordion virtuoso Phil Cunningham. During this time, the band was offered a support slot for the popular Scottish crossover group Runrig at Loch Lomond near Glasgow. The exposure and experience of playing for such a large audience catapulted them into a new circuit. They began playing larger venues and festivals, not only in the UK, but also increasingly in Europe, North America and Canada.
The follow-up album The Chase (GLCD3088) built upon their success and brought new members to their line-up. In 1992, drummer Mop Youngson, from Aberdeen and bassist Wayne Mackenzie, from Inverness, joined the pack. The thrill of the Highland bagpipes was added with piper Alan Wilson, later succeeded by the talented Stevie Saint from Pitlochry. In the meantime, Unleashed and The Chase went silver and gold, respectively, in Scotland.
In 1993, Wolfstone signed with Green Linnet Records and released Year of the Dog (GLCD1145) , marking their third collaboration with Phil Cunningham. They began a hectic touring schedule on both sides of the Atlantic, thrilling crowds at festivals and concert halls with their high-energy performances. Highlights included appearances at such major American festivals as Telluride, Strawberry, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Milwaukee Irish Festival, and in Europe at Tönder (Denmark), L’orient (France), and Cambridge (England).
As their recognition increased, so did the demand for their presence, until they spent more time on the road than they did at home. After recording The Half Tail (GLCD1172) in 1995, keyboardist Stuart Eaglesham departed the band for a quieter life, and Youngson followed suit. The remaining Wolfstone members took this opportunity to limit their appearances to festivals and take a new direction with their music. In the meantime, a best-selling compilation Pick of the Litter (GLCD1180) was released in 1997.
In early 1998, Green Linnet released This Strange Place (GLCD1188) , an album featuring the accomplished acoustic guitarwork and introspective songs of Ivan Drever. Co-produced by Drever and Wayne Mackenzie, the recording represented a departure from their previous work and offered proof of the band’s versatility.
Since then, keyboardist Andy Simmers and drummer Tony Soave have stepped in, and Ivan Drever has moved on to pursue other projects. Stuart Eaglesham now leads the pack as vocalist, as well as penning four cuts on the group’s latest outing, Seven (GLCD1198). A diverse mix of Celtic pop and folk with a touch of rock & roll, the album marks new territory for the band. With a two year break from heavy touring, the sextet is charged with renewed energy, and looks forward to electrifying audiences around the world again in the coming months.