Jimi sings of Reivers

Galashiels piper Jimi McRae is perhaps best known for taking his own particular brand of music all over the world, but his latest project has seen him set his focus much closer to home.

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:13 pm
Updated Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:14 pm
A screenshot from Jimi McRae's video for his song 'Hughie Graeme', a reinterpretation of an old folk song which tells the tale of a Border Reiver sentenced to death by hanging in Carlisle.
A screenshot from Jimi McRae's video for his song 'Hughie Graeme', a reinterpretation of an old folk song which tells the tale of a Border Reiver sentenced to death by hanging in Carlisle.

He earned himself millions of new fans in 2017 as he played in Beijing for the Chinese New Year, however. his new album is all about where he came from.

HIs latest album “Hills Where I Began” is the first of two releases planned by Jimi this year, and features original songs and reinterpretations of traditional Borders ballads.

While pipes still feature in the mix, they are no longer the centrepiece of the music, with the songs driven by lyrics.

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    Jimi set his mind to working on the new album when his old school pal, and acclaimed Scottish director Justin Molotnikov – whose recent CV includes episodes of Outlander, Poldark, Dr Who and Merlin – told him he was looking for music to accompany a new TV drama series he was working on about the Border Reivers.

    Jimi went to work in his DIY home recording studio, producing a couple of demos which Justin loved.

    He told us: “Straight away I decided to go for a rocky vibe, a wee bit bad-ass with a swagger perhaps.

    "The Reivers certainly had a swagger to them, according to contemporary acccounts, and they were hardened and very tough, what some folk might describe nowadays as bad-assed!

    “Arguably the Reivers were the original cowboys. Indeed a number their descendants went on to become notorious cowboys and outlaws in America. Some even became Presidents!”

    For professional recording, Jimi enlisted fellow Gala man, drummer/percussionist and Soundstation studio owner David “Dottle” Little to help with the project, while final mastering took place at Precise Mastering, Hawick.

    He also worked with Edinburgh guitar maestro Neil Warden, adding his talents to the creative process.

    Hills Where I Began' is available to stream and download at Spotify, Itunes, Amazon and other online music stores. Search for Jimi McRae and 'Hills Where I Began'.

    A limited number of old style 'cd' copies have also been pressed.

    These are available directly from Jimi and via his website www.jimithepiper.co.uk