Anna MacDonald is a talented multi-instrumentalist originally from Glasgow. Anna has released music in both Gaelic and English and possesses a beautiful voice and wonderful gift for song writing. Anna does great work with Play For Progress and the Association of Exiled Scots.
John Condron is a singer songwriter from Glasgow who has performed all over Scotland and in New York too! His latest single ‘Hello Mama’ was recently played on the American Scottish Foundation Scots In US Podcast and is a beautiful and touching dedication to his mother.
Meredith McCrindle is a wonderful harpist, songwriter and all round talent. Originally hailing from Texas, Merdith now lives in Ayr Scotland and is the driving force behind the brilliant Tamfest which celebrates Robert Burns famous poem Tam O’Shanter and is a must see event if in Scotland!
Starsky is a brilliant singer songwriter from Scotland who has a great gift for melody, song writing and performance. It’s an absolute pleasure to have Starsky with us who has performed throughout Scotland including the famous Hampden and Murrayfield Stadiums as an invited musical guest for the Scotland football and rugby teams!
The American Scottish Foundation is proud to present our bi-weekly ScotsInUS Podcast…..
Presented on the second and fourth Monday of the month, our podcasts spotlight the ASF, partners, events and initiatives taking place in the community.
Hosted by Jamie McGeechan, featuring weekly guests and contributors we feature a wide range of news, events and music all with a focus on Scotland and throughout the American Scottish community in North America.
“In Conversation” – With all events cancelled due to Covid-19, a pivot was made around the leading April events. Camilla Hellman, President, American Scottish Foundation, discusses the virtual recognition of National Tartan Day, The Declaration of Arbroath Anniversary and other important April events that the community looked to not overlook.
With music from Alan Frew, Hannah Read and Colin Hunter
MAY 11 CLANS, THE LORD LYON AND HIGHLAND GAMES 2020 “In Conversation” with John King Bellassai, Council of Scottish Clans and Associations. Bellassai discusses the state of the US Scottish Clans and the role played by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. The historic role of Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms is also explained explained as well as the challenges facing the Highland Games in 2020.
With music from Whisky Kiss, Fellswater, Tullamore and Ed Miller
MAY 25 WORDS, MUSIC, WHISKY, GIN
“In Conversation” with David Stirling, Co-Founder and Brand Ambassador for Arbikie Highland Estate as David discusses their f fresh and exciting approach to distilling as well as informing us about Arbikie’s environmentally conscious ethos and their exciting and innovative range of gins, vodkas and rye.
Greg King, Brand Ambassador for Glendronach and BenRiach joins us to explain all about the fascinating history of Glendronach, one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Based in the Valley of Forgue in the East Highland Hills, Glendronach has been in operation for nearly 200 years.
With music from Have Mercy Las Vegas, John Rush and Laura McGhee.
JUNE 8TH COME DANCE – THE WORLD OF THE CEILIDH
In this episode ‘Come Dance – The World of the Ceilidh” we explore the great Scottish tradition that is the ceilidh and talk with top Scottish music talents to explore their contemporary and progressive approaches to the ceilidh.
Camilla Hellman, ASF President and Jamie close with a round up of news from within the Scottish American diaspora.
JUNE 26TH – SPRING ROUNDUP EPISODE
A look back and reflection on our first four episodes of the ScotsinUS Podcast as we discuss our wonderful guests and music on the podcast. Featuring a news round up and message from ASF President Camilla Hellman as we look forward to the months ahead.
JULY 6TH – EXPLORING SCOTTISH ROOTS
“Exploring Scottish Roots” – In this episode of the podcast we talk with renowned genealogist, heraldist and author Dr Bruce Durie as we discuss how to trace your Scottish ancestry and explore your Scottish roots. We are also In Conversation with Bart Forbes, President of the Clan Forbes Society as we talk about the wonderful energy and drive that Bart has brought to the Clan Forbes Society.
With music from Lisa Kowalski, Anna MacDonald, Mike Nisbet, Gleadhraich.
JULY 20TH – MIDSUMMER BURNS
On this episode of the ScotsInUS Podcast from the American Scottish Foundation we explore the legacy of Robert Burns in music, poetry and conversation.
Joining us In Conversation: Kenneth Donnelly, President of the Burns Society of the City of New York. Hugh Farrell, Chair of the Friends of The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Alistair McCulloch, Scottish fiddle virtuoso and sole custodian of the famous ‘Gregg Violin’ thought to have been played by Robert Burns himself.
With music from Anna MacDonald, Jamie McGeechan, Fraya Thomsen and Mr McFalls Chamber.
MONDAY AUGUST 10TH: The Highland Games go Virtual!
MONDAY AUGUST 24: SPOTLIGHT ON SOUNDS FROM SCOTLAND
In this episode we shine the spotlight on some of the wonderful Scottish musicians who have been performing on our monthly Sounds From Scotland Online Music Concerts and played on our ScotsInUS Podcast. We are delighted to showcase music from Scotland to our audience and in this episode we will shine the spotlight on these wonderful talents.
Join Jamie and Camilla for conversation, news and of course great music!
The American Scottish Foundation is proud to announce upcoming exhibits at Federal Hall March 20th – June 8th
In the Footsteps of John Muir an exhibit of photographic works by Award winning Scottish photographer Ken Paterson, tracing Muir’s travels, from his early days in Dunbar, Scotland to Yosemite, California, allows one to see the environments which Muir loved and did so much to help preserve. A series of images featuring landmark sites along the John Muir Trail, Scotland, which opened in 2014, is now spotlighted in the exhibit.
The Declaration of Arbroath – 700th Anniversary 2020 marks the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, one of Scotland’s most important historical artefacts.
A Copy of the Declaration will be on display at Federal Hall, which is said to have inspired the American Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration is a letter dated 6 April 1320 written by the barons and freeholders of the Kingdom of Scotland to Pope John XXII, asking him to recognise Scotland’s independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king.
Visitors will view an English translation of the original Latin text, and learn about the context in which it was written 700 years ago.
August 7 marks the 230th Anniversary of the 1789 Lighthouse Act and the role of Alexander Hamilton in the developing the lighthouses to guard American coastlines.
Prior to becoming America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton also oversaw the establishment of the Lighthouse Service and Cutter Service, the basis for today’s U.S. Coast Guard Station New York.
The importance of lighthouses to ensure the safety of shipping and development of trade was clear to Hamilton.
Presented by Historic Environment Scotland in association with ASF, the exhibit traces Muir’s early days in Dunbar Scotland to Yosemite CA, taking one on a journey to see the environments which Muir loved and did so much to help preserve spearheading the formation of America’s National Parks.
In 2018, the exhibit was expanded to include images from John Muir Trail in Scotland. The 134 mile route stretches coast-to-coast between Helensburgh in the west, to John Muir’s birthplace in Dunbar on the east.
On behalf of the ASF Board a thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the Wallace Award Celebration such a memorable evening.
The evening saw Sir Moir Lockhead, Chairman of National Trust for Scotland, and Dr Andy Scott, renowned sculptor, with the Wallace Award for their contributions to Heritage, Arts and Culture.
Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean, oversaw the menu, adding special touches. Glendronach Single Malt offered guests a whisky tasting of their excellent malts.
The wonderful team of Claire Mackenzie and Scott Gilmour of Noisemaker gave us musical interludes.
Silent and Live auctions helped support the ongoing work of the ASF and for an ASF Grant to the new Baird Family Hospital in Aberdeen and its Neonatal unit being overseen by the ARCHIE Foundation alongside the University of Aberdeen.
If you have questions please call the ASF Office on 212 605 0338
Sir Moir Lockhead, Chairman, National Trust for Scotland for a lifetime journey providing transport for people to reach & enjoy Scotland’s beautiful landscapes & his current inspired leadership to conserve Scotland’s rich heritage.
Dr. Andy Scott for his outstanding contribution to Scottish Arts. Dr Scott is recognized as one of today’s foremost contemporary sculptors, world renowned for his public art. Amongst his most recognizable works are his 100 foot tall Kelpies, the largest equine sculptures in the world, located in Falkirk, Scotland.
The evening will be a celebration of Scotland with whisky from Glendronach Single Malt Scotch Distillery, Scottish food, music, dancing – and opportunities to bid on our silent and live auctions.
Scotland’s National Chef Gary Maclean, Winner of the UK MasterChef The Professionals 2016, Chef Lecturer at the City of Glasgow College, will bring “touches” to spark the menu.
The award winning team of Claire McKenzie & Scott Gilmour of Noisemaker will offer musical interludes with Mike Ogoltree and Shortbread, and will then lead the Scottish reels. Silent and Live Auctions will bring opportunities to help support the ongoing work of the ASF, and an ASF Grant to the new Baird Family Hospital in Aberdeen for its Neo Natal unit overseen by The ARCHIE Foundation alongside the University of Aberdeen.
We hope you will join us for this very special evening.
ASF is proud to have helped to bring the Kelpies to New York – we were so sorry to see them leave.
The full size 100 ft Kelpies, unveiled in 2015, are the largest equine sculptures in the world; situated in the Helix Park, Falkirk, beside the Forth of Clyde & River Carron extension. Boats traverse “through” the Kelpies; and when lit at night they become magnificent beacons.
June 7th marks the 150th Anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
At Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum a temporary exhibit is on show through to August 14th showing Mackintosh’s work in the context of Glasgow, his predecessors, influences and contemporaries.
As the Daily Mail notes – the exhibit …. “It features more than 250 objects including stained glass, ceramics, mosaic, furniture, textiles, interior and tearoom design and architectural drawings, most of which have not been shown in Glasgow for more than 30 years.”
“The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Making the Glasgow Style exhibition is one of the highlights in the Mackintosh 150 programme, a year long celebration of events throughout 2018.”
We take a moment here to look back at the 20th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade which took place on April 7th, the highlight to a week of events… so much to report on, so many to thank – and we have to mention how we were under the threat of snow – and it didnt happen – brisk but clear.
ASF presented several events during the week in addition to a series of lunchtime concerts at Bryant Park. A thank you to all those who helped with the programming which included
– an opportunity to learn more around the discovering of your Scottish roots with Dr Bruce Durie
– ‘A Taste of Scotland’ with a menu prepared by Scotland’s National Chef Gary MacLean, co-hosted with City of Glasgow College
– ASF Members & Friends Post Parade Reception at which we were joined by many guests from Scotland including the Archie Foundation, Clans & Castles, The Convenyor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs Donald MacLeod of MacLeod, members of VisitScotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Office.
Thank you to all who joined the The American-Scottish Foundation® contingenet and marched with us in the 20th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade – AND to all those who cheered us on.
KT Tunstall was a fabulous Grand Marshal – the first woman to lead the Parade. AND Congratulations to all the volunteers and our fellow NYC Tartan Week committee members – EVERYONE did a great
We have discovered a few highlights of Parade Day captured in a video on You Tube. – from the Pipes and Drums on the Fountain Terrace presented by The American-Scottish Foundation® at Bryant Park and onward to the Parade.
Prior to the Parade the young band of pipers from Sgoli Lionacleit had an opportunity to meet Keith Brown MSP for Clackmannanshire & Dunblane who could not resist the opportunity to try out a snare drum which he is pictured “carrying” below.
The Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band performed twice at Bryant Park – and for their second performance they were joined by 18 year old Lisa Kowalski who is winning recognition throughout the UK – this was her first visit to New York and the Parade. The involvement of the young performers is something ASF fully embraces within our ongoing bursary program – and reflects Scotland’s message of the Year of Young People.
Also taking part in the lunchtime concerts were Craig Weir and the multi talented Hannah Read – who left the following day for a month long tour in support of her latest album. Both Craig and Hannah have helped us in the development of the lunchtime concerts, a Thank you to everyone who took part.
Great performances from all
The Daily News carried a great report on the day which we link to below… “Scots of all ages proudly celebrated their homeland during the 2018 Tartan Day Parade in Manhattan on April 7, 2018.
The annual march, now in its 20th year, was led by Scottish singer KT Tunstall and included pipers playing traditional Scottish songs, dancers, flag twirlers, aplenty of dogs for the cheering crowd of spectators.”New York Daily News:
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.