A shared passion for the work of Robert Burns brought the band (Lionel McClelland, Kirsten Easdale & Gregor Lowrey) together in Kirsten’s garden in the summer of 2009. It was 250 years since Burns’ birth and we wanted to further celebrate the spirit of his poetry, songs and music by producing ‘Bring In The Spirit’.
Fine old copies of Burns’ work were opened in the Helensburgh sunshine and we set about the task of choosing what to put in the set. All of the rehearsal was taken up poring through the books resulting in a hefty list of pieces that would have to be trimmed back if our set was to be less than a day long.
A rehearsal or two later, saw us with the shortlist in Steve Niblock’s flat, where we had been locked in for three days, to make music; and curry. We walked away with a mini disc recording of the entire project and a few days later, the band ‘Bring In The Spirit’ was born, in Burns’ favourite Howff, ‘The Globe Inn’ in Dumfries.
Early in 2010, Pete Clark and Marc Duff joined us in the plotting shed where we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of music and a leg of lamb. We arranged two songs, ‘Willie Brewed A Peck O’ Maut’ and ‘Mirk Mirk’. The following week, we recorded the two 5 piece versions of the songs in Moffat with Kris Koren and John Weatherby. ‘Willie Brewed...’ was written in Moffat so it was nice to record it there.
Little did we realise that this would be the last time that we would ever see our good friend Lionel. He died less than a week later. To say that we were devastated, would be an understatement. It was a terrible blow, to lose our pal, not to mention one of Scotland’s greatest characters - poet, musician, song writer, story teller and the finest reciter of Scots poetry. Lionel was a one off and you can read his obituary on our ‘news’ page.
Autumn quickly turned to an appropriately icy Winter. Although Lionel was a unique individual and as such - irreplaceable, he had left us with an enormous gap that now had to be filled, if Bring In The Spirit were to continue as a band. Lionel would be very pleased to know that Rod Paterson had now joined the band. As Scotland’s greatest male traditional singer, Rod certainly needs no introduction.