WHILE may people spent the weeks up to Christmas buying CDs to wrap up for relatives, one Coldingham man was busy releasing his own album.
Accordionist Euan Galloway has been touring the east coast with his dance band over the past couple of years, making appearances at social clubs, British Legions and local events such as Coldingham Gala and after amassing a sizeable number of fans, decided to record some of his best tracks.
His debut CD, ‘Perfect Timing’, which has already sold well over 100 copies in just over a week, promises a mixture of dance tunes, pipe medleys, continental polkas and gaelic waltzes so not something you’d expect to find on the latest Now That’s What I Call Music CD!
Some musicians spend months in an expensive recording studio putting their albums together, but Euan and his band recorded ‘Perfect Timing’ in about seven hours and instead of a studio opted to take advantage of a building a lot closer to home.
“We decided to record the album in Coldingham Hall,” Euan explained.
“It’s a great venue and it’s also sound-proof so it was perfect really.
“We did a few run throughs before actually recording it but it was all over very quickly. We went into the Hall at around 10 in the morning and were out by 5pm.
“But you can see why it all went so smoothly if you look at the years of music behind each of the band. I am fortunate enough to play alongside some great experienced musicians.”
The album was produced thanks in part to a £3000 grant from the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust which Euan received after impressing a panel of Trust representatives at an interview earlier this year.
But what about it’s title?
Euan continued: “When you play songs for people to dance to you have got to be in time as they will know the timings for all the steps. The album’s title came about because quite a few people have come up to me and said that I’ve got ‘perfect timing’, which is a big compliment.
“I know a few dance teachers who have bought the CD and have already been playing it in classes and at dances.
“I can listen to any type of music and enjoy them all, well apart from heavy metal. I might be an accordion player but I can appreciate pop, reggae, rock it’s all about having a good song.
“When it comes to playing I tend to stick more to the traditional and I do a lot of Scottish songs but sometimes at gigs I’ll do some American stuff like ‘Rock Around The Clock’ and ‘In The Mood’- they always get people moving!”
Although Euan admitted that a number of his fans belonged to the older generation, he said he thought there was definitely still a market for the more traditional genres and it wasn’t just people of a certain age who enjoy the type of music he plays.
He explained: “One of my mate’s children were having a birthday party and I got asked to go along and entertain. You’re never too sure how kids will react to the accordion but they loved it and I had them dancing about in no time.
“The kids at Eyemouth High School seemed to love it too- I played at their end of term ceildh. I play stuff that I like and I want other people to enjoy, age doesn’t have to come into it.”
Euan has only been playing the accordion for the past four years and while some find it a particularly tricky instrument to master, Euan said he “picked it up pretty quickly” and was influenced by two men at the top of the accordion trade.
“I first got into accordion because I saw David Patrick playing and I fancied a shot. He continues to be a major inspiration for me and when he died his son-in-law gave me first option on having his accordion.
“Of course I said yes and I’m still playing it today. I was quite fortunate that I took well to the accordion. A lot of people find it a really diffucult thing to play and it can be quite amusing seeing people pressing all the buttons and making an awful sound.
“Someone else who has been a massive influence is John Leslie. I was put in touch with him when I first started showing an interest in the accordion and he’s been teaching me ever since. I thought I’d return the favour by having him on the album.
“I also owe a lot to Graeme Munro, who let me play in his band on BBC Scotland on ‘Take The Floor’.
Euan’s album features classics from days gone by such as ‘Long Way to Tipperary’, ‘The Dambusters’ and ‘When The Battle’s Over’ but for future releases he is hoping to introduce audiences to some original material, having already written a few songs, one as a tribute to David Patrick.
“My next album will be a tribute to David,” Euan continued.
“I have written a song for him and I also want to record some of his favourite tracks.
“And then after that I want to bring an album out of my own compositions. At the moment though I’m just enjoying the success of ‘Perfect Timing’. I never imagined it would be so succesful.
“A few of the gigs I was meant to be doing before Christmas were cancelled because of the snow so I missed out on some sales there but I performed at the West Barns Inn, Dunbar, last week and sold quite a few.
“I was rushing around Coldingham before Christmas making sure that everyone who wanted one got them in time; I think a few albums were being wrapped up for presents! And even when I’m at work at Homebase in Berwick I’ve had people coming in before I start my shift asking where they can get a copy. It’s quite overwhelming but both me and the members of the band are really pleased with how things are going.”
There’s no let up for Euan as he continues to promote his album. He performed in Blairgowrie for New Year’s Eve and his schedule for January and February is already filled with concerts in Alnwick, Foulden, Stow and Greenlaw.
“My next aim is to get my music played on Radio Scotland,” he added.
“I’ve sent the CD to 10 different radio stations so I’m hoping that I’ll get some airplay in the near future.”
As well as playing with his band Euan has also started hosting discos as part of his shows and for information on bookings or how to order ‘Perfect Timing’, visit www.euangallowaysdb.co.uk.