News / Country music star to toast new gin venture

Jim Salestrom and his wife Pam.

ONE OF the most outstanding players on the country music scene is coming to Shetland later this month to play a concert in Unst.

Emmy Award winning country folk musician Jim Salestrom will also help launch Shetland Distillery Company’s first batch of locally produced gin at the Saxa Vord restaurant.

A close friend of Saxa Vord owners Frank and Debbie Strang, Salestrom and his wife Pam have also been booked for next summer to kick off the UK’s most northerly country and folk festival.

The Strangs, who bought the former military camp at Saxa Vord more than nine years ago and turned it into a holiday resort, said it had been a long held ambition to stage their own festival on Britain’s most northerly island.

Frank Strang said: “Jim Salestrom is a very close friend of mine and we have known each other for over 20 years.


“It was always my dream to get him to play on Unst and this year we have managed to coordinate it.”

Strang is also a co-director with whisky entrepreneur Stuart Nickerson of the Shetland Distillery Company, an enterprise that aims to establish a small boutique whisky distillery at Saxa Vord.

Salestrom has written a special jingle to celebrate the launch of the company’s first spirit.

A long time member of Dolly Parton’s band, Salestrom has been performing and recording with the country music icon for more than 35 years.

He was also a member of John Denver’s band and is the lead for the all star John Denver tribute band which tours the USA every year, and is sponsored by Denver’s children.

Salestrom has not only been on stage with the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and the Doobie Brothers, he has also been invited to the White House to sing for a number of US presidents.

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Strang said Salestrom’s concert in the Baltasound Hall on 15 August (tickets £10) would be the first of several held in Unst with a view to holding the most northerly country and folk festival at Saxa Vord next year.

“Jim would like to bring several of his friends over from Nashville in 2015 to support the endeavour and assuming all goes well this summer will co produce the event in 2015.

“It will have a country folk bias but will be eclectic in nature…. jazz, American songbook, southern rock and obviously hopefully local talent too.

“Jim is going to co produce it with me and we already have some eye catching International Grammy award-winning artists.

“It is a piece of unfinished business for me and an indulgence, and we want to use it not only to attract business to Saxa Vord but, as importantly, to show off Unst and hopefully give everyone something to look forward to.”


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