Watson proves you’ve gotta be Innes to win it

InnesWatson Instrumentalist.
InnesWatson Instrumentalist.

INNES Watson has been named Scottish traditional music’s Instrumentalist of the Year.

The Birgham fiddler and guitarist picked up the gong at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday, in a glittering ceremony at Perth Concert Hall.

Almost 100,000 votes were cast online in a public vote across 18 categories for what some have dubbed ‘the Brits of the Trad scene’.

A Scottish Music graduate from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, Innes has previously been nominated for Live Act of the Year in 2009 alongside his supergroup The Treacherous Orchestra, but instead watched Lau win the award.

Innes said: “I’m really overwhelmed and delighted to have won – to be honest it’s all still sinking in.

“I really never expected to come out on top, especially when I was against three other brilliant musicians.

“Thank you so much to everyone that took the time to vote for me – I feel inspired to go and make more music now.”

However, the Borders’ two other nominees failed to pick up their respective awards.

The Eastgate Theatre in Peebles missed out on the Venue of the Year to the tiny Ben Nevis Bar in Glasgow, while Robert Nairn beat Jedburgh’s Neil Hardie to the Best Dance Band title.

Other winners announced by hosts Mary Ann Kennedy and Tony Kearney included Skerryvore (Best Live Act), Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band (Best Pipe Band), Battlefield Band (Folk Band Of The Year), Manran (Album Of The Year), Siobhan Miller (Singer of The Year) and The Orkney Folk Festival (Event Of The Year).

Ten artists were also chosen by a panel comprised of their peers and the award organisers to be inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall Of Fame.

They were: John Watt, Ian Duncan, Billy Thom, Alasdair Fraser, Bert Jansch, Donald MacLeod (Islay), Tannahill Weavers, Bobby MacLeod, Tobar an Dualchais – Kist O Riches and Arthur Cormack.

The night was rounded off by some performances from winners Skerryvore, party starters Peatbog Faeries, the Barbara Dickson Band and emerging talent Kristen Harvey, as well as the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.

Event founder and promoter Simon Thoumire added: “A massive congratulations to this year’s winners and also to everyone that made the shortlist – the competition was fierce this year and the voters had a tough job.

“Thanks to everyone who made this year’s event the best one yet. Roll on our 10th birthday next year.”

Alasdair Morrison, chairman of sponsors MG ALBA said: “We’ve seen some incredible performances and honoured some fantastic winners this evening.

“We believe passionately in showcasing the best of Gaelic and Scottish culture on BBC ALBA and we’re delighted that we can offer even more people the chance to share in the awards by transmitting them on our channel.”

The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards programme will be repeated on BBC ALBA (Freeview channel 8) tomorrow at 9pm.