Monthly Archives: April 2017

Meet Steve Grozier: Americana Artist From Glasgow

Steve Grozier is a singer-songwriter and musician from Glasgow, Scotland. Scottish though he may be, his sound is at home in America, with acoustic, alt-country instrumentals to back his warm, buttery voice. His songs settle over you like the southern heat of a Tennessee summer night.

Steve, who sings and plays acoustic guitar, is his band’s frontman. He wrote all of the music and lyrics of their debut EP, “Take My Leave.” Roscoe Wilson sings backing vocals and plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and the lap steel guitar, while John Dunlop plays the bass. Dillon Haldane played drums and percussion the EP, but left the band shortly after, and Pete Colquhoun is now the bands drummer.

Steve and his band recorded their country-tinged debut EP “Take My Leave” in September 2016, and are currently busy recording the follow up EP “A Place We Called Home.”

In one of the tracks from their debut EP, “Drink Before Dawn,” Steve describes stopping for a cup of diner coffee to stay awake while he’s on the road. Listening to the country ballad, you can picture the open highway stretching before your headlights. Although this experience is not unique to American drivers, it is a theme that crops up time and again in Americana.

“Ringing of the Bells” is another track from the debut EP that really invokes a Southern feeling. What with the singer’s slight twang, and his use of small-town imagery, you might have just happened upon Steve in a Nashville bar.

We wanted to learn more about the man behind the music! In our interview with Steve, below, we learned just what it was that drew him to Americana, and inspired his country sound and imagery.


First, could you tell us a bit about where you’re from and how you started getting into music?

I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was only there for a few years before my family moved to Bishopbriggs, a small suburb with a population of around 20,000, just north of Glasgow, Scotland. I lived there until I was 18 and old enough to move to the city for University.

The house I grew up in was filled with music. My dad had a vinyl and cassette deck that was always on. And, when we’d take rides in the car on weekends or school holidays there was always music playing. I remember thinking even then that music was this magical thing.

Then when I was around 15 or 16 I found my dad’s semi-acoustic guitar. A cheap Encore. It was horrible to play. The action was so high and it sounded dreadful. But, it was the first guitar I’d ever held and that was it. I knew I had to learn to play.

What about your band, how did you get together? Are you all Scots?

Yes, we’re all Scots. We’re all from the country’s central belt. I actually met both Roscoe and Pete via the internet. And I met John via Roscoe. I’ve known Roscoe for over ten years. When I was starting to play open mic nights and gigs in bars I placed an advert on Myspace or Gumtree, I can’t recall which, looking for a pedal steel player. Now, the chances of finding someone who can play that instrument well in Scotland are pretty rare, especially back then. Roscoe could and we’ve been friends ever since.  

When 2016 rolled around and I was looking to put a new band together Roscoe was first on my list to call. He was playing with a band and John was the bass player. I put a post-up on Facebook looking for a drummer and Pete got in touch. The rest as they say is history.   

Because we’re an organization that serves as a bridge between Scotland and the US, the fact that you’re a Scottish Americana artist is something we really love! What does Americana mean to you?

I think the term Americana is a relatively new one. When I first started writing and playing it didn’t exist, or it wasn’t widely used. They’d call the style of music folk, country or alternative country. The AMA defines Americana as contemporary music that incorporates elements of American roots music styles. For me, it isn’t a conscious decision to write in a particular style and I’m not that interested in what label is used. I think where the term Americana is useful is in fostering a sense of community and helping bringing attention or exposure to independent artists.     

American music obviously inspires your work! Who are some artists that inspire you? Any Scottish artists?

Unsurprisingly, I listen to a lot of American music. Growing up my dad had records by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, Creedence, and a lot of acoustic blues. So, I was immersed in American music and culture from a young age. When I got around to buying and exploring records for myself I gravitated towards artists and bands that sounded like those I’d heard at home.  

I mean, I listen to music from across the spectrum. The colour of the music isn’t as important as how it speaks to me or makes me feel. The music from Scotland that interests me the most are bands like Teenage Fanclub, Arab Strap, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Mogwai, and The Vaselines.   

A lot of Americana music has themes of travel and wayfaring- would you say that plays a part in your music?

Absolutely, I lived and travelled around Canada and the US for two years. One year on the east coast and one on the west. During that period I wrote a lot. Books full of prose, poetry and songs. Most of which will never be published or recorded. I was always interested in the writings of Jack Kerouac and the peripatetic lifestyle that he describes.  When you’re travelling it’s a different way to be in the world. I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to Americana music is because the songs are often narrative driven. They’re stories that take you on a journey to a different place or time.  

What do you think about what music means for American-Scottish relations- or just in terms of connecting people in general?

For me, my closest friendships have been formed through music. Be that playing in a band, going to shows, listening and discussing records. I think a shared passion for music can really enrich a relationship. There’s this great Hold Steady song called Stay Positive and it’s about music’s power to bring people together. The make the analogy of music being like religion when they sing “And the sing along songs will be our scriptures.”

Then there’s this great lineage of Scots and Irish who settled in the Canadian North East, the Appalachians and even North Carolina and Alabama in the 18th century. The Celtic folk songs from Scotland and Ireland would form the basis of what we now call bluegrass, country and Americana music. An interesting thing is now happening in the UK where we’re seeing British artists finding inspiration in American country music.

Do you hope to bring your music to the states?

I would love to. I don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future, but it’s definitely a longer term ambition.    

Spot These 10 Cute Creatures in Scotland

Scotland is famous for its dynamic landscape, which serves as home to many different creatures. If you are interested in seeing wildlife, Scotland is the perfect place to visit! All sorts of different animals roam Scotland’s hills and fields, while various species of birds take flight through the skies, and sea-creatures dance through the waves!

The American-Scottish Foundation has compiled a list of ten different Scottish creatures to spot in Scotland. Keep your eyes peeled for these wee beasties!

Image via bbc.co.uk

Image via bbc.co.uk

1. Scottish Wildcat

The Scottish Wildcat is the only wild, native forest cat in Britain. These cats are very elusive, hunting during the night and hiding among trees and rocky cairns. Although it is uncommon to see one of these majestic cats, they may be spotted in the Highlands and in the far North and West of Scotland. Scottish wildcats are now one of Britain’s rarest mammals, as their species is sadly endangered. Spotting one would truly be a magical experience.


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Image via pinterest.com

2. Highland Cow

Highland cattle are a Scottish cattle breed famous for their long horns and shaggy coats. Although these coats come in many colors, red highland cows are probably the most iconic. These cows originated in the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland, and have been around since before the 6th century AD. As they are native to the rough Highlands of Scotland, these cows are sturdy, able to withstand the harsh Scottish winters. No trip to the Highlands is complete without a glance of one of these shaggy “coos.”


Image via markcauntphotography.com

Image via markcauntphotography.com

3. Pine Marten

Pine Martens are difficult to spot, and are mostly found in the North of Britain. They tend to live in wooded areas, as they climb and live in trees. These brown and yellow critters are part of the weasel family. They are about the size of a cat, with a long, bushy tail and round ears. They are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to preserve the species. They may be found throughout wooded areas in Scotland, including the Ballachuan Hazelwood and Balnaguard Glen Reserves.


Image via mortongolf.com

Image via mortongolf.com

4. Bottlenose Dolphin

Out of all the Bottlenose Dolphins in the world, Scottish ones are the largest. There is a large resident group of these beautiful mammals in the North Sea, as well as smaller groups around the Hebrides. These sleek, grey animals are extremely intelligent, powerful creatures. The Moray Firth is one of the best places to look for them, particularly in the warmer summer months. Dolphin and Wildlife Watching boat trips are easy to find in Scotland, so don’t miss out!


5. Otter

Image via bbc.co.uk

Image via bbc.co.uk

Scottish otters are often hard to spot, even though there is a thriving population. This is due to the animal’s shy nature. These semi-aquatic creatures live by water, as they mainly hunt for food in lochs, rivers, or the sea. The thick-furred mammals are able to survive in water by closing their ears and nose while they swim with their powerful webbed feet. Otters may be found along much of Scotland’s coast, particularly on the west coast, as well as the islands. Although otters are elusive, if you keep a look out by the waterside, you may see more than one!


Image via photoscotland.net

Image via photoscotland.net

6. Red Squirrel

The red squirrel is the only species of squirrel native to the UK. Scotland is the home to about 80 percent of the UK’s population. As their name would suggest, these squirrels have bright, reddish coats of fur. They are smaller and sleeker than American grey squirrels, with large tufts of fur on their ears. They may be spotted throughout Scotland’s wooded areas, but they are most likely to be seen in the Highlands and around the Caingorms. If you are determined to see these iconic Scottish critters, there is a Red Squirrel Walk through Dalbeattie Forest in Dumfries & Galloway.


7. Golden Eagle

Image via wild-scotland.org.uk

Image via wild-scotland.org.uk

The magnificent golden eagle is a large bird of prey with a wingspan of over six feet. The majority of the UK’s golden eagle population lives in Scotland, as the birds prefer to live in areas with open, treeless land. Golden eagles can be recognized by the golden plumage on their head, neck and shoulders. Scotland’s landscape is ideal for golden eagles to hunt, and you just might spot one searching for prey over moorland and peat bogs, or swooping over the open land around the Highlands and Northern Isles. 


Image via dailymail.co.uk

Image via dailymail.co.uk

8. Atlantic Grey Seal

Atlantic grey seals are one of the easiest animals to find in Scotland. You may spot groups of these seals in many places along Scotland’s coast. The biggest grey seal colonies are on remote islands such as the Orkney and Shetland Islands, the Hebrides, and the Monach Isles. The seals go to these islands to breed, but outside of breeding season you may see them lounging on beaches and rocks all along the sea. If you are visiting the Scottish seaside on your trip you are likely to spot a seal. And if you’re really lucky you may even see a fluffy seal pup!


Image via urdutehzeb.com

Image via urdutehzeb.com

9. Shetland Pony

Shetland ponies might be small in size, but they are hugely famous! These charming ponies grow to be about 42 inches tall, and their soft coats come in many different colors. Their coats change by season- in the summer their coat is short and silky, while in the winter it grows twice as thick. These thick winter coats repel water and keep the ponies warm, even in the harsh island winters. You can still see herds of these sturdy little ponies roaming the hills of Shetland, where they have lived for over 4000 years. Visit Shetland to meet some of these adorable creatures!


Image via archies.info

Image via archies.info

10. Puffin

Puffins, often referred to as “the clowns of the coast,” are instantly recognizable by their bright bills and signature waddle. Puffins live by the sea, usually in burrows on the top of cliffs. They hunt for fish in the water, diving from the cliffs and swimming beneath the waves. Puffin nests can be found on cliffs and islands around the coast of Scotland, as well as in England and Wales. The best places to see these funny little seabirds in Scotland are Handa Island, the Isle of Eigg, and the Longhaven Cliffs and the Seaton Cliffs reserves.

New York Tartan Day Parade Grand Marshals

The History of the New York Tartan Day Parade:

The annual New York Tartan Day Parade began 19 years ago, in 1998, after the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 155, which officially recognized April 6th as Tartan Day. This was followed by companion bill House Resolution 41, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005. On April 4, 2008, President George W. Bush signed a Presidential Proclamation making April 6 National Tartan Day.

Tommy Flanagan – Image via nyctartanweek.org

In 1998, the first Tartan Day Parade, consisting of two pipe bands and a small but spirited group of Scottish Americans, was led by the very first Grand Marshal, Cliff Robertson.

Today the parade is a grand affair, featuring thousands of participants, including bands, dancers and clans.

On April 8, 2017, The Grand Marshal of the 19th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade will be Glasgow-born actor Tommy Flanagan.

The acclaimed actor has starred in Braveheart, Gladiator, and Alien vs Predator, as well as FX Network’s drama, Sons of Anarchy. He will be a starring role in the upcoming movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Chapter 2.

Past Parade Grand Marshals:

From actors and screenwriters, to athletes and designers, the past New York Tartan Day Parade Grand Marshals have been talented Scots from all different walks of life.

Read about them here:

Sam Heughan, 2016

2016: Sam Heughan, Scottish actor best known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the Starz hit series Outlander.

2015: Co-Grand Marshals: Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (2011-2016) and Graham McTavish, Scottish television and film actor with an extensive career including roles in Outlander and The Hobbit Trilogy. 

2014: Howie Nicholsby, Kilt designer and owner of “21st Century Kilts” in Edinburgh.

2013: Kevin McKidd, Scottish-American actor best known for his roles in ABC series Grey’s Anatomy and film Trainspotting.

Kevin McKidd, 2013

2012: Brian Cox, acclaimed Scottish theatre and film actor who works with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

2011: Bob Winter, Lord Provost of Glasgow from 2007 until 2012.

2010: Rt. Hon. Alex Fergusson, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 2007 until 2011.

2009: Alan Cumming, OBE, Tony, Emmy and Golden-Globe award-winning actor.

2008:  Lawrence Tynes, Scottish-born former kicker for the New York Giants, winners of Super Bowl XVII.

2007: Rt. Hon. George Reid, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 2003 until 2007.

2006: Brigadier Melville Jameson, Producer of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo from 1994 until 2006.

2005: Randall Wallace, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Braveheart.

Sir Sean Connery, 2002

2002: Sir Sean Connery, Academy Award-winning actor and producer who was the first actor to portray James Bond in film.

1998: The late Cliff Robertson, Academy Award-winning actor with a film and television career that spanned half a century.

The Music of New York Tartan Week

New York Tartan Week is just around the corner and what a fantastic celebration it will be with people coming from all over the globe to experience a uniquely brilliant event which has something to offer everyone.

New York Tartan Week is a celebration of Scottish-American heritage culture and community and a brilliant experience which will see you wanting to come back each year for more!

Music plays a central role in celebrating that shared community and culture; the music traditions brought over by Scots have survived and thrived in North America to this very day.

It’s fair to say that the shared passion for music and culture has brought about real fusion and development of new style and approach whilst respecting the traditions of the past. Discovering new ways, paths and approaches has always been central to the Scottish-American identity and nowhere is this more evident in the culture and creations borne from our partnership and shared legacy.

Music, as with the Scots-American heritage itself has experienced real innovation and fusion over the past few hundred years and you can hear Scottish influences in everything from Appalachian, folk and even country music.

It’s fantastic that the old traditions are preserved an continued by many talented and passionate musicians across North America, some of which are performing at NYC Tartan Week this year alongside some musical guests from Scotland also! With live music performances all over the city there’s something for everyone and of course with a huge amount of pipe bands marching in the Tartan Week Parade on April 8th you can experience something truly unforgettable.

Musical performances at Tartan Week this year include:


April  3:
Kyle Carey
St Andrews Pub - 8pm (free)


April  4:
Emerald Rae
St Andrews Pub - 8pm (free)


April 5:
Little Fire 

Beer Authority - 6pm (free)

Wight Hot Pipes & Scottish Octopus
Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant - 8pm ($20)

Mike Ogletree
St Andrews Pub - 8pm (free)


April 6:
Little Fire 
Deacon Brodies - 3pm (free)

Tartan Day Observance 
The Highland Divas, St Columba School Pipe Band
Bryant Park 12:30pm

Kodak Ghosts
St Andrews Pub - 8pm (free)


April  7:
Mike Ogletree
Pre-Parade Ceilidh- 6pm

Little Fire 
St Andrews Pub - 8pm (free)

The Highland Divas & Guests
The Cutting Room - 10:30pm
(Tickets $25/30 adv)
  - Purchase tickets here.


April 8:
The Pipes and Drums on the Fountain Terrace Bryant Park  (Free)
11:35am – Lathallan School Pipe Band
11:55am – Oban School Pipe Band
12:15pm – Bonnie Brae Knights Drummers
12:30pm – St Columba School Pipe Band
12:45pm – Shamrock & Thistle

Post Parade Party
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 4:00pm
Glengarry Bhoys, Gleadhraich, Scottish Octopus, Wight Hot Pipes, The Highland Divas
(Tickets $85 reserved/$65 general admission) Purchase tickets here.

James MacMillan – St. Luke Passion: New York Premiere
St. Bartholomew’s Church - 8pm
(Tickets $40 Balcony/$50 Prime Seating) Purchase tickets here.


– Jamie McGeechan
Music Reporter for the American Scottish Foundation

Celebrate Tartan Day with Walkers Shortbread

Friends and members of The American-Scottish Foundation®, join us in celebrating Tartan Day 2017 with “The World’s Finest Shortbread” - Walkers Shortbread!

Image via express.co.uk

Image via express.co.uk

Tartan Day is on April 6th – just days away! So why not celebrate with a biscuit or two?

Over a hundred years ago, the Walker family started baking shortbread at their bakery in the Speyside village of Aberlour, surrounded by the beautiful Scottish highlands. Today, Walkers products are now sold all over the world, using the same wonderfully simple recipe to produce that iconic Walkers taste!

To celebrate Tartan Day, Walkers Shortbread has a delicious deal for you!

IMG_1138 (5)  Arlene Brice BEEWith their exclusive Tartan Day code, you can receive free shipping, and four free twin packs of delicious shortbread Scottie Dogs, with orders of $25 or more!

Use the code TARTAN to receive your special Tartan Day treats!

This special offer expires on April 2nd, 2017, so place your orders now on the Walkers website, here.

To learn more about Tartan Day, and all the exciting events in store during NYC Tartan Week, visit The American-Scottish Foundation website!