As defined in the title of his remarkable 2015 solo debut VIP: Very Interesting Persons (No.2 in the Daily Telegraph’s top dozen folk albums that year), Scottish singer-songwriter Findlay Napier categorically commands musical VIP status.
He now turns those same supreme songwriting and storytelling gifts, allied with magpie-minded imagination and truly magnificent vocals, to his adoptive home town, on VIP’s hotly anticipated follow-up, Glasgow.
Continuing his collaboration with Boo Hewerdine, the new album combines freshly-penned originals with classics and rarities from Glasgow’s vast and colourful ballad canon, by authors as diverse as Hamish Imlach and The Blue Nile. Together, they form an extended musical love-letter to Scotland’s metropolis, celebrating 20 years since Napier first arrived as a student, swapping his idyllic Highland childhood home for the 14th floor of the city’s notorious (and since demolished) Red Road flats.
Napier’s own songcraft today vibrantly reflects this increasingly rich stylistic melting-pot – a mix he’s played no small part in creating, especially the cross-fertilisation between Glasgow’s folk and indie communities, as both co-host of a long-running open-mic night, and promoter of the decade-old Hazy Recollections concert series. In 2016, too, Napier launched the Glasgow Songwriting Festival, a weekend of workshops and performances which completely sold out its inaugural outing, and returns in 2017. In between putting the finishing touches to Glasgow, Napier also toured in spring 2017 with acclaimed contemporary protest-song showcase Shake the Chains.
Despite these ecumenical enthusiasms, Napier himself remains happy to identify as a folk singer – even if he does enjoy stretching the term’s already elastic parameters. “I do fit that one-guy-with-a-guitar template,” he says. As well as calling himself a folk singer, he simultaneously aspires to another, likewise timeless role: “I do love that old-fashioned, all-round idea of an ‘entertainer’ - I think it’s a brilliant thing,” he says. “But then that’s totally what the best folk singers are; they’ll have you in absolute hysterics, in between punching you in the gut - people like Loudon Wainwright, John Prine, Michael Marra: that’s the absolute pinnacle, as far as I’m concerned.”
Photo by Elly Lucas
LIVE performance of Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice with Findlay's trio featuring Gillian Frame and Donna Maciocia
"... one of the finest songwriters and storytellers of the contemporary Scottish folk scene." Folk Radio UK (Glasgow)
"Coming on like a Caledonian Loudon Wainwright ... A superbly crafted compilation of Songs" Acoustic Magazine (Glasgow)
“★★★★★ #2 Twelve Best Folk Music Albums of 2015: An inventive and engaging album... Findlay Napier (the sweet voice behind the beard)... an original engaging treat." Martin Chilton, The Telegraph (VIP)
"He's good and he's really funny too! He's got that classic brilliant banter with the audience as well. Lovely to hear the storytelling in the songs as well as inbetween. A wonderful cacophony of bizarre and brilliant tales of real people." Edith Bowman- BBC Quay Sessions (Live)
"An insurgent talent...a wonderful singer... [Napier] proves he has a songwriting talent to match" The Morning Star (Glasgow)
“★★★★ One of the most intriguing and enjoyable albums… a collection of cracking songs that all add up to a cracking album… his voice has a mesmerising addictive quality to it… fabulous arrangements and very classy production… It’s brave creative and a smashing listen”
Maverick Magazine (VIP)
"Napier’s stagecraft is charmingly relaxed and cultivates an engrossed and interested audience." Ravechild, Peter Johnstone (Live)
★★★★★ "Songs full of earthy humour, hopeless love and biting satire… more ‘Michael Marra meets Elvis Costello’ than contemporary tradition.” Folk Radio UK (VIP)