The Doghouse Roses - Biography

Photo: the doghouse roses. Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald started playing music together soon after meeting in late 2005. Tasker's inspiration to play the guitar came after hearing legendary guitarist Bert Jansch in a Glasgow working men's club in the early 1990s. He subsequently went on to win a 'Danny Kyle Award' at Celtic Connections in 2004 as guitarist and songwriter for Aberdeen based band Sal. Iona Macdonald's increasing reputation has led to her being much in demand as a session singer, and in 2008 she performed with Howe Gelb and the Pilgrim Road Orchestra on the Willard Grant Conspiracy Pilgrim Road tour

Tasker & Macdonald formed Doghouse Roses in 2006, after one too many nights drinking red wine and listening to Pentangle, Fairport Convention and Gillian Welch records. Since then they have played many shows in the UK and Europe. They also started their own record label, Yellowroom Music, on which they have released a single, three EPs and a full length CD, distribution being handled by Proper Distribution.

Their first recording together, the eponymous 'Doghouse Roses EP' was voted runner up in the Best Single/EP of the Year category of the Fatea Records annual awards in 2006. Subsequently, Doghouse Roses were runner up only to Spiers and Boden in the band / duo of the year category at the same awards in 2008. Most recently the duo have spent time in the studio with 1960s icon Nick Garrie, working on his new album '49 Arlington Gardens' his first in 40 years since the release of the 'lost classic', 'The Nightmare of J B Stanislas'. This recording also features Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and Duglas T Stewart of the BMX Bandits.

Equally inspired by Scottish and American folk music and the influences these have on their own writing, this relationship is being explored in a series of EPs called 'Folk & Blues'. These EPs typically feature two traditional Scottish songs, two traditional American songs and two original compositions, and showcase Doghouse Roses' unique contemporary take on traditional music. 'Folk & Blues Part 1' was recorded in two days in 2007, while 'Folk & Blues Part 2' is to be released in December 2009 containing songs such as 'Wayfaring Stranger' and 'Both Sides of the Tweed' and was recorded in a small hall on the Scottish borders, overlooking the River Tweed

A full length CD, 'How've you Been (all this time)?' was released in January 2009, and coincided with Doghouse Roses sold out appearance at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. Featuring ten original songs, the album was recorded with noted composer and producer Malcolm Lindsay, who has previously written and arranged for The Delgados and The Willard Grant Conspiracy. Among numerous credits for TV and film music, Lindsay scored the Ewan MacGregor film, 'Young Adam' along with David Byrne. Notable guest musicians featured on the record include the Scottish National Opera's principle cellist Robert Irvine, ex-Cappercaillie percussionist, Wilf Taylor, Willard Grant Conspiracy Fiddle player, Josh Hillman, and the record was mixed by engineer extraordinaire Alan Scobie. This release was supported by a month long tour of the Netherlands and Germany, including a radio session on national Radio3FM in the Netherlands and an in-store appearance at Michelle Records in Hamburg.

In 2009 alone Doghouse Roses have played over a hundred and forty live shows including a ten date tour of Slovenia and Croatia in June and a forty-five date European tour in September / October involving gigs in eleven countries. In the last eighteen months they have played at Popkomm, Berlin; Celtic Connections, Glasgow; Take Root Festival, Gronigen, Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, and collaborated with the Willard Grant Conspiracy and Chris Eckman


  • 2009 - European tour with the Willard Grant Conspiracy of Ire, UK, NL, DE, D, S, N, A, IT, SP, Be
  • 2009 - 10 date tour of Slovenia and Croatia
  • 2009 - Sold out show at Celtic Connections, Glasgow
  • 2009 - 26 date tour of Netherlands & Germany
  • 2008 - Runner up in 'Best Group' category of Fatea records end of year awards
  • 2008 - Appearance at Popkomm, Berlin
  • 2008 - Featured artist on 'Good Morning Sunday' on BBC Radio 2
  • 2008 - Headline show at Glasgow Americana Festival
  • 2007 - European Tour with The Willard Grant Conspiracy of UK, NL, DE, Be, Aus


  • 2008 - Willard Grant Touring Band (Macdonald) for Pilgrim Road Album Release
  • 2008 - Contribute guitar (Tasker) and Vocals (Macdonald) to Elefant Records release '49 Arlington Gardens' by Nick Garrie (ER-1140 CD Digipak / LP)
  • 2008 - Vocals (Macdonald), guitar, production, and engineering (Tasker) on B-side of Much Obliged Records release 'Amorino' by Ally Kerr (MOR-003)
  • 2008 - Guitar (Tasker) on Smoked Recordings release 'Tree Tumble Wake Mother' by Davie Lawson. Release autumn 2009
  • 2007 - Guitar, mandolin (Tasker) and vocals (Macdonald) in Willard Grant quartet touring band
  • 2006 - Vocals (Macdonald) and guitar (Tasker) on Loose/Glitterhouse Records release 'Pilgrim Road' by the Willard Grant Conspiracy (VJCD179)


December 2009 - Folk & Blues Part 2 (YLLWRM-006)

1. Diesel Engine
2. Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor
3. Blackwaterside
4. First of April
5. Both Sides of the Tweed
6. Wayfaring Stranger

January 2009 - How've You Been (all this time?) (YLLWRM-005)

1. Gone There
2. All I Knew
3. Greener The Grass
4. Pilgrim's Tale
5. On My Mind
6. Stalling
7. Border Hills
8. Happiness
9. On The River
10. The Earth & The Breeze

May 2008 - Greener The Grass / Years (YLLWRM-004)

1. Greener The Grass
2. Years

September 2007 - Folk & Blues Part 1 (YLLWRM - 003)

1. Sycamore Tree
2. Ae Fon Kiss
3. Nine Hundred Miles
4. Fairground
5. Ye Jacobites
6. 16 Tons

September 2006 - Doghouse Roses EP (YLLWRM-002)

1. Happiness
2. Rises & Fall
3. The Whistle Song
4. Evermore
5. Wee Instrumental
6. As The Crow Flies

Selected Press Quotes

"Tasker's soundtrack mines the best of Scottish and American musical influences, at one moment homespun and folksy, at another bluesy... Perhaps the standout track is the tender, piano-led "Stalling" which, like a great Joni Mitchell tune, leaves the listener simultaneously sated and devastated" - Trevor Raggat, Rock & Reel (UK Nov '08)

"Vocalist Iona Macdonald has an ethereal voice that gives songs like 'Gone There' an almost Clannad-like feel, while guitarists Paul Tasker and Malcolm Lindsay play with a level of expertise that immediately puts them head and shoulders above many similar bands. " - Brett Callwood, Acoustic Magazine (UK Oct' 08)

"The prefix "Nu" never promises anything good, when it refers to music. "Nu" stands for: modern adjusted habits, also for flatness. NuJazz, NuSoul, NuFolk. The British duo Doghouse Roses gladly describe themselves as the latter, however, their tunes run deeper than that and in Iona Macdonald's singing resides a loveliness which cannot be taught and sometimes reminds one of Jacqui McShee. Can't be bad." - Wolfgang Doebeling Rolling Stone, Germany (Feb `09)

"This debut makes good on the promise that they are something a little bit special. Macdonald sings with an effortless clarity and the aching expression of Natalie Merchant at her most mournful. It's atmospheric stuff that strikes an engaging balance between tradition and contemporary storytelling," - Rachel Devine, The List (UK Oct `08)

"If there were a society of the promotion for Doghouse Roses, I would propose for the membership immediately. Explicit recommendation" - Gerd Wenzel, Melodie & Rhythmus (Germany Feb `09)

"Ethereally, purely, almost angelic. With this voice singer Iona MacDonald carries flawless melodies with contemporary texts which are sweet-talked by Paul Taskers virtuoso guitar playing" - Peter Sester - Kurier Karlsruhe (Germany, Aug. '08)

"The chemistry is obvious between Scots country-blues duo Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald. Tasker's guitar plucking is perfect backdrop to Macdonald's crystalline vocals. The mood is sombre and reflective but Border Hills and the jaunty Happiness lift the mood. A great debut album. **** " - Avril Cadden Scottish Sunday Mail (UK, Oct `08)

"Doghouse Roses present a seamless mix of folk, blues, country and Americana with the folk factor ultimately pushing through. Macdonald's voice is pretty and pure, and folk trailblazers Pentangle comes to the fore on the track Happiness with its beguiling vocal melody and Bert Jansch-style guitar" - Fiona Shepherd, The Scotsman (UK, Oct `08)

"Great things are happening on the UK folk scene at the moment, and this accomplished debut album by Scottish duo Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald should be heralded alongside the best of the new releases." - Nic Oliver,

"Perhaps most surprising is "The Great Deceiver", which draws in Tasker's bluesy, Bert Jansch-style guitar before Iona Macdonald's vocals steer the song away from American country twangs toward a British Folk tradition..." - Alan Morrison, Sunday Herald (article previewing release of "Pilgrim Road")

"...a highlight is "The Great Deceiver", a gospel duet with (Robert) Fisher and Iona Macdonald pleading for God and saviour before the massed voices of a choir." - Rob Hughes, Uncut (review of "Pilgrim Road")

For general enquiries, please contact

Paul Tasker
tel: 07763 164 123

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