Yarrow Valley’s Gordon Arms sets the stage for its first concert since reopening

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The historic Gordon Arms Hotel, once the haunt of famous Border bards, is getting ready to host its first traditional music concert on Sunday, November 25, four months after reopening, with two local musicians at the helm.

Melrose recording studio owner Tommy Roseburgh and Bonchester interior designer Malcolm McEwan hope to revive the 200-year-old coaching inn’s fortunes by turning it into a centre for traditional music in the Borders. The Gordon Arms, located 10 miles up the Yarrow Valley from Selkirk, was, in its heyday, a regular meeting place of the local literati, including Sir Walter Scott and the Ettrick Shepherd James Hogg, and other illustrious visitors like Robert Burns and William Wordsworth.

The hotel was repossessed by the bank from previous owners two years ago, and had been closed until the new buyers were found in March.

McEwan and Roseburgh believe their experience in the music business will be pivotal in the business’ success.

Mr McEwan was one of the founding fathers of the Both Sides of the Tweed music festival and, for six years, was chairman of the Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival. More recently, he has been involved in organising the Borders-wide The Land, The Light, The Locals traditional music festival.

Mr Roseburgh, an accomplished musician who plays keyboards with Borders folk band Real Time, specialises in recording traditional music acts.

“Not only has Tommy moved his Big Sky Studio from Tweedbank into the hotel, but also Malcolm has already hosted a number of sessions in the newly refurbished bar,” writes one of the concert’s performers Kenny Speirs.

Tommy’s own band, Real Time, will be the first performers to kick off this new venture. Real Time were formed in 2002 by Judy Dinning and Kenny Speirs.

Northumbrian singer Judy, a member of Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, and the all-female band Lucky Bags, performs an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary folk music with the Denholm guitarist and keyboard player Speirs, who is best known as a founder member of the John Wright Band.

For this concert they will be joined by Border fiddler Shona Mooney, winner of the 2006 BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award, and part of the internationally acclaimed all-female band The Shee.

The concert starts at 4.30pm, and admission will be £10 at the door. Further information can be had from the hotel on 01750 82261.