Walk through Paisley Town Centre any weekend night and you can’t help being drawn in by sounds of acoustic music coming from its many bars or clubs.
Follow us down the musical cobblestones way back to where it all began …..
‘1957, the Beatles and Bob Dylan are in their heyday and can be heard all over radios in the town, particularly at Garry Drive, Foxbar where 10 year old Gerry Rafferty soaks up his musical influences as he gets ready for another school day’. Gerry went to St Mary’s Primary and later St Mirin’s Academy and openly admitted his early years in Paisley influenced his songwriting and particularly his early lyrics. Gerry said: “Where you come from and where you spent your formative years has an effect and influence on you”.
Long before KT Tunstall and Sandi Thom made themselves household names via You Tube, another musical buddie put Paisley on the Acoustic Map – Carol Laula’s rise from a young unknown to a household name in Scotland was phenomenal. She first captured the attention of the media, when in 1990 her independent single, “Standing Proud”, was chosen to represent Glasgow in its year of culture.
Of course, lets not forget Paisley’s other acoustic son, the illustrious Paolo Nutini, whose music reaches a worldwide stage and who has appeared in many a Hollywood movie soundtrack – born and bred on our fair cobbles , Paolo has an Italian Dad and a Glaswegian Mum. Apart from helping out in the family restaurant, growing up he lived for music, singing, song writing and performing. Recently he was awarded Best Headliner at the UK Festival Awards 2011, his music and fan base continues to grow.
Best known worldwide for our Paisley Pattern, we are less recognised for our rich tapestry of musical talent over the years. Following in some famous “New Shoes” are a few new and old faces in the town who are making themselves seen and heard in wider circles.
Paisley singer-songwriter Alan McKim won 2011 Best Acoustic at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, and has also been a finalist in the Billy Kelly song writing awards. Alan has previously played numerous live shows including Connect and Hinterland Festivals and has shared stages with artists such as Brett Anderson (Suede) and Colin McIntyre. In autumn 2010 Alan was asked to tour round Scotland’s Beanscene coffee shops to follow in the footsteps of KT Tunstall, Amy MacDonald and Carrie Mac who have all kick started their career through this opportunity.
There are a number of music schools in the town and one which has just received industry acclaim is Loud’n'Proud rock school, run by well known buddie Tommy McGrory who also organised Two Rivers annual music festival in the town in previous years. With an average age of just 12 years old, their group, known as “the Wee Band”, has won Best Rock Band in a UK wide talent competition. Having run for several years now, UK Live and Unsigned is perhaps the country’s biggest event for unsigned musicians and bands and with as many as 10,000 acts entering across the UK, this year was no exception.
In celebration of musical past, present and future watch this space for news of the first ever Paisley Music Festival, also a series of live events from LNP Promotions among others, and an up to date schedule of live gigs and events for 2012 – that will be sure to have our cobbles melodic under-foot.