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Features / Drever brings band north for brace of shows

Kris Drever is bringing his backing band to Shetland for two intimate shows next week. Photo: Genevieve Stevenson
Award-winning musician Kris Drever. Photo: Genevieve Stevenson

HIGHLY acclaimed Scottish folk musician Kris Drever is set to perform two intimate band gigs in Shetland early next month.

The isles-based guitarist and vocalist, who also features in experimental folk trio Lau, will play the Bixter Hall on Thursday 3 November before heading south for a sold-out show at Sandwick’s Carnegie Hall the following night.

He will be showcasing his latest solo album If Wishes Were Horses, and somewhat unusually for Drever’s Shetland shows, he will be accompanied by a full band.

The musician will be joined by Admiral Fallow frontman Louis Abbott on percussion, bassist Euan Burton and local guitarist Arthur Nicholson.

The gigs will be a homecoming of sorts for Drever, who originally hails from Orkney, with much of his last year spent touring the globe in Lau and as a solo artist.

He also performed on BBC’s The One Show in August to provide backing guitar for Grammy Award-winning country singer LeAnn Rimes.

It seems the two cosy gigs in Bixter and Sandwick are already looking like highlights in Drever’s touring schedule, with the latter show already fully subscribed.

“I love gigs regardless of the size,” he said. “There is a kind of gang hut mentality to the intimate ones though.

Admiral Fallow frontman Louis Abbott (pictured during a gig in Shetland last year) will provide percussion and backing vocals for the two gigs. Photo: Shetnews/Kelly Nicolson Riddell

“Sometimes in performing a song you can achieve a kind of atmospheric ‘lift off’ and when the audience are as close as they are in a village hall you can feel them leaving the ground with you.”

The musician is set to play “nearly all” of his latest album, as well as a selection of choice cuts from his back catalogue.

The band, meanwhile, will inject Drever’s songs with extra oomph and added atmosphere.

“Euan Burton and Louis Abbott are extraordinary musicians,” he said. “They can make things sound vast with a flick of the wrist. There’s an added depth to the performance with those guys around.”

“Arthur is a heroic figure,” Drever added. “In this instance he is going to be doing some of the parts that Ian Carr does on the album.

“I don’t know many folk that are actually able to deputise for Ian.”

The musician, who is also a new father, took a lot of inspiration from Shetland for his latest solo album.

It gives his isles gigs extra significance, and provides an intrinsic connection between the music and Shetland.

“A lot of that record is about the changes in my life that led me here and the things that I’ve lived through since I got here,” Drever reflected.

“Shetland has a creative core, it’s an easy place to catch hold of ideas.”