Music City sound on way to Borders town

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Nashville will blend with Melrose this month for an all-female shared performance in the tradition of the Music City.

Scots Jill Jackson and Sandra MacBeth will take to the Wynd Theatre stage with Canadian singer songwriter Linda McRae, who currently lives in the capital city of Tennessee, for In The Round.

Open Mic Night @ The Espy,                                                                                                                   Fri 30th July 9.30pm till late                                             With Sandra MacBeth

Open Mic Night @ The Espy, Fri 30th July 9.30pm till late With Sandra MacBeth

And the style of the evening - adopted for BBC Four series Songwriters’ Circle - very much originates from Nashville’s musical past.

Sandra said: “I thought it would be really fun for us to get together and all be on stage at the same time, taking turns to perform a song, which is a traditional Nashville style.

“We will be backing up each other on stage and adding a bit of percussion as well.

“Linda really believes in the tradition of Nashville, from wearing cowboy boots to saying things like ‘golly gosh’.”

The first step towards this musical collaboration took place in the tiny Highland village of Glenelg, where Sandra hails from.

She said: “We have a festival called Dram in the Field in Glenelg which I was playing at and the organisers asked me to pick up a singer from Nashville, which was Linda.

“We got talking and discovered her ancestors were from Glenelg. I ended up backing her up at the festival and we have kept in touch ever since.”

A multi-instrumentalist who earned two platinum and three gold records during her tenure as bassist/accordionist with former Canadian Celtic/Roots group Spirit of the West, Linda has since released three acclaimed records as a solo artist.

Latterly, Linda has turned her time to the study of traditional roots music, studying acoustic blues guitar, clawhammer banjo and songwriting with Grammy-winning songwriter Jon Vezner.

Sandra added: “She was originally an accordion player but now teaches song writing with her classes widely acclaimed.”

The trio’s Wynd Theatre date came about after Jill Jackson’s previous successful appearance at the Melrose venue.

Continuing the Music City theme, Paisley’s Jill was named the “Scottish Songbird” by the Nashville press after fulfilling an ambition to perform in the well-known Bluebird Cafe, where Grammy-winning Taylor Swift was discovered.

Originally taking to the stage with rock group Speedway, who notched up two top ten hits, Jill has since returned to her first love, alternative country music.

She supported Nashvillan Kevin Montgomery on his 50 States in 50 Days US tour in 2008, when the pair drove 22,000 miles in seven weeks.

Sandra describes Jill as “amazing” but her own fledging career has a number of interesting highlights to match her countrywomen.

The Highlander has opened for Pink at Glasgow’s SECC arena and the Proclaimers during their 2009 tour, while she has shared a stage with Mumford & Sons and KT Tunstall.

The bizarre venue where Sandra wrote her debut album three years ago is about as far removed from Nashville as possible – a drafty castle in the south of Germany.

She said: “I was living in Glenelg when a German guy bought a neighbouring farm. He introduced himself as Felix and said he was a music producer.

“We jumped on horses and went for a 20 mile trek and he talked about his recording studio in the castle he owned.

“I promised I would come across to record my first album and a few years ago I packed up my bags and moved across to live there for six months.

“It was a beautiful setting and the castle was really old with portraits of Felix’s ancestors.”

In The Round is on Friday, May 13 at 8pm - tickets cost £12 and are available from www.redshedtickets.com