Ch.L.: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?
F.S.: A man, his songs and a guitar. I try and get through as many songs as possible in my time on stage. If its 25 minutes, its 10 songs, if its 45 minutes, its 20 songs! I figure that telling stories before your songs defeats the purpose of telling stories through your songs. Though I don’t expect the crowd to sing along to every word, there are a couple of songs I do that I usually get the audience singing along to, Worried Man Blues is my favourite for doing that with.
Ch.L.: When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?
F.S.e: Most of my touring has been in Scotland, but this May I am playing a number of gigs in Europe. I’m planning on seeing some sights, in between gigs, which I’m looking forward to, theres a lot I hope to see!
Ch.L.: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
F.S.: I’m on the internet at Myspace.com/thebigfash As per the norm, there are tour dates, a bit about me, my songs, and so on.
Ch.L.: What’s the best compliment a fan has ever given you?
F.S.: “My dad loves your songs”, or “My dad would love your songs”! These are two pretty common compliments I’ve had, not that I like to show off! I get a few compliments, which I am grateful for, but these are the best! A lot of music is generational, young people are stereotyped as being embarrassed about their parents’ taste in music, and to have broken the generation gap in at least a few families musical tastes, then you can’t get much bigger a compliment than that!
Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de ) www.MySpace.com/ChristianLamitschka
Interview with Fash Stewart
Ch.L.: Country Music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who’se never seen or heard you before.
F.S.: I’m a singer/songwriter from Scotland, and I play country-folk.
Ch.L.: What’s your latest CD and how’s it doing?
F.S.: For the past couple of years, I’ve been selling my cds after my gigs, as anyone starting out does. In August this year, I am finally releasing my album through online music stores.
Ch.L.: What’s your favorite song among all the songs you’ve recorded and what’s the story behind it?
F.S.: The Big Fish. It’s a song I wrote five years ago, after which a lot more have followed. There’s not much to it, its a song, about a Fish, who is a bit of a fighter. It started out as a bit of fun, and I entertained a lot of people at parties singing it. As I started gigging a couple of years ago, I had it in my set, and it got a few laughs, and that made me feel quite accomplished. I’ve recorded it now a few times, and it is definitely a song that keeps me going. I have a lot of great memories singing it, seeing the faces of people hearing it for the first time. It’s a fun song, and it’s been good to me, so that’s surely my favourite.
Ch.L.: Who do you look up musiccally and how deep do your musical roots run?
F.S.: As a performer, my ultimate hero is Pete Seeger. The way he can raise the roof with just his voice and his banjo is amazing. I never started listening to him until a few years ago, but his work has inspired me. Pete Seeger talks about the art of simplicity, and that’s something I’ve tried to follow. After going to a Willie Nelson concert a few years ago in Glasgow, I knew I had to do something with music. I’ve always had a guitar, and always written a few songs, but when I came out of that concert, my life changed! It was the catalyst for me to start writing songs more regularly, and it gave me a bit of direction as to how my songs should sound. I grew up listening to Scottish folk music, I guess everyone here had a Sydney Devine record in their collection, I went through a stage of listening to hip hop and the latest rock bands as every teenager does, before coming back to my first love - country music.
Ch.L.: Are you doing anything to take country music beyond it’s courrent borders or are you happy where it is?
F.S.: A few years ago, I started out playing weekly at the Doghouse music bar in Dundee, famous for giving rise to the indie band “The View” who have had great success in the past few years. A lot of people who were in the crowd were probably indie music fans, more akin to the likes of Oasis and Paul Weller than The Highwaymen and Merle Haggard, but I performed my songs, influenced by country music, and a number of covers, and people liked it. Some nights, it seemed like I was turning into a Johnny Cash tribute act, but I realised that music lovers are just that, music lovers. In a bid to get as many gigs as possible, I’ve always had one rule - play anywhere! I’ve supported everything from hard rock bands to folk groups, and the other way around. That’s where country needs to be - in amongst the rest, thats what Waylon and Willie did in the 70’s, and thats what I intend to keep doing.
Ch.L.: What inspired you to become a songwriter?
F.S.: When I was in Iraq with the Air Force a few years ago, I started writing songs, about back home, about my surroundings, when I got home, and saw Willie Nelson in concert, after meeting him, I was further inspired. I realised that I related to a lot of country songs, and if I related to them, then I could write my own. From time to time, I think that you can get new inspiration, everyday is full of new experiences and pleasures, some inspire songs, some don’t! They say everyone has a song in them, I’m lucky enough to have had a few extra!
At the start of June, seeing Willie Nelson playing in Glasgow was a highlight of the month, a hero of mine who just keeps on going, and really the reason why I started playing music! Playing a couple of mad sessions at the opening of the Cabers new pavillion at Castle Leod with Donald MacDonald http://www.myspace.com/donaldemacdonald and the rest of Achnasheen Airport holds no real memories for me, as I had too much of the amber nectar to remember much!
The next week saw us take Emma Shearer's Coffee Shop Sessions http://houseconcerthub.ning.com/profile/AcousticStrathpeffer to my hometown of Contin, playing at the Strathpuffer "Lite" 12 hour bike race, another night in a marquee and another night of fun!
At the start of July, I played Maggie's Fest in Broughty Ferry and Dundee doing three gigs in less than 24 hours, all for a good cause, raising a lot of money for the Maggies Cancer Care Centre in Dundee. http://www.myspace.com/maggiesmusicfest2010
A trip to the Lossiemouth Folk Festival coincided with my departure from the Royal Air Force, which was convenient, a chance for me to celebrate the good times I had in the Air Force, having served briefly at RAF Lossiemouth, and play with some great musicians in the process.
This past weekend was spent playing at the Coffee Shop Sessions, The Maple Court BBQ to kick off the Belladrum Festivities, Clachan Fest, doing some roading for Shearer and Sillars then back to Strathpeffer on Monday for the Monday night medicine show, where we had special guests, Nels Andrews, AJ Roach and Ian Thomas Parks, plus Mark Dean Ellen of No Comebacks, who will all be at Belladrum this week http://www.roachmusic.com/node/4909
Looking forward to the Belladrum Festival which we kick off of Thursday night with the Coffee Shop Sessions @ Belladrum, doing compering over the weekend at the Potting Shed stage, which is a great privilege and an honour, getting to see and hear and introduce some great musicians to a Highland Festival.
Then it's just coffee shop sessions and a couple of other nights across the country before heading off to college in October. If anyone is looking for bar staff over the next two months, I'm looking for work... it's worth a try on here...
I'm also working on a couple of albums at the moment, I had been working towards one album, but it turns out that I'm having twins. One will be my debut album of my own songs, whereas, the second album is going to be called R, and that's all I can say right now.
Summer 2010 update and The R Album.
Heres an update
If supporting Beth Wimmer in Strathpeffer, Esther O'Connor in Ullapool and Jim Bob Morrison (Carter USM) in Dundee wasn't enough excitement, just to add to that, I had a 12 day tour of Europe to look forward to!
European tour was fantastic, playing in Warsaw at "Warsaw Summer Jazz Days" part of the Warsaw summer jazz festival held in July - http://www.adamiakjazz.pl/home.html, it was quite an experience, playing with 50 musicians from Warsaw's music schools through Warsaw's two main streets, but I wasn't in Poland for long, that night I had to catch the train to Budapest, Hungary, where I played with Gabor Majsai and his swing band http://www.majsaigabor.hu at the Jokai Villakert in Siofok that night.
The next day, I travelled through to Austria, where I spent the evening playing at the end of the Vienna Folk Festival, meeting some interesting musicians, including the organiser of the festival, Freespirit Graham, http://www.myspace.com/freespiritgraham - and Falkirk duo Lamens Terms, who I could have actually been playing with just two weeks before in Dundee when I supported Jim Bob Morrison at the Doghouse, it's a small world!
Following that, I visited a good friend and singer songwriter, Beth Wimmer in St Moritz, Switzerland on my day off, taking in some wonderful scenery through the alps, I was truly on top of the world! The next night on the tour was Basel, before taking the train at 6am to Berlin, where I played at Rockbar Pankow, with Marceese as my wonderful support act, ( http://www.rock73.de ).
The next show was at Le China on Rue De Charenton, Paris to round things off, and though a bit under the weather, I had an amazing night, playing with French country rockers, Captain Storm who showed me a fantastic night, turning a Chinese Restaurant into a honky tonk for the night! Great food was served up afterwards, and I am thankful to them also for their great hospitality.
Great hospitality was had everywhere, and I welcome the whole of Europe to the north of Scotland!
What a great weekend at Belladrum!
Compering the potting shed stage was a great honour and I didn't stutter too many times whilst introducing so many great acts such as Michael Weston King, Anna Coogan, The Hellhounds, Forest Sun, Donald MacDonald, Shutter, Jamesbrownisannie, Dave Desmelik and so many more!
Playing a set myself was great, and went down without any bottles being thrown at me. The crowd must have figured the plastic bottles that you get at festivals will do nothing but bounce off me, so they never saw any mileage in doing so!
Meeting and playing with some great musicians was fantastic, and it was great to meet Eliza Doolittle, a lass who is doing quite well for herself at the moment, her and her band were in great form!
Got a couple of great songwriting jobs out of the festival, plenty more on that to come!
A big thanks to Rob Ellen, promoter and publicist, David Fox-Pitt, festival organiser - who helped guide one of my lost friends back to me, Isaac Sutherland and his team running the stage, and Steve and Clancy from Square wheels in Strathpeffer who put so much into the music scene up here.
What next? Well I've got a couple of places to play between now and starting college in October, and I hope to immerse myself in the Aberdeen music scene come then!
Read more: http://www.myspace.com/thebigfash/blog#ixzz0xZEm92Mv