A Cruel Kindness New Album with Fiona Cuthill, October, 2011.
Stevie Lawrence: Was initially involved in rock bands from schooldays and was active in the Glasgow pub rock scene before turning to acoustic and roots music in the early eighties.
Influenced by a mixture of glam and prog rock, his early idols were musicians such as Zal Cleminson from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Ron and Russell Mael from Sparks, Mick Ronson from The Spiders from Mars, as well as multi instrumentalists such as Steve Howe.
While working in the recording studio of the Hospital Broadcasting Service in Glasgow, Stevie met up with then folk musician Gerry Sullivan, who presented a monthly programme with live studio guests. While working on this, he was introduced to many Scottish acts of the time such as Ossian, Tonight at Noon and The Ideal Band.
Stevie started playing the odd gig with Gerry's band "Cheap Labour" and then joined long time Scottish folk favourites Cruachan in 1986, replacing Ross Kennedy who had left to join the Tannahill Weavers
Meeting Ross Kennedy was another significant step in his career as over the years, they became involved in many live and recorded projects.
Working with Cruachan for 6 years playing Festivals and Folk Clubs all over Scotland, he then joined the ranks of The Iron Horse, once again replacing Ross. He recorded 3 albums with the band during a 3 year stint as well as touring all over the UK and Europe as well as Poland and Egypt.
After leaving Iron Horse, Stevie carved a career as session musician and producer and has worked with a diverse range of artists including Canterach, Gaelic Singer and piper Anna Murray, Tannas, Mick West, John Wright, Carol Kidd, Lena Martell, Donnie Munro, Pete Seeger, Laura McGhee, Josh White Jr, Angus Lyon, Shane MacGowan, Maddy Prior, Dascha(German Pop Idol Finalist), Sydney Devine, Keith Jack, Stuart Cassells, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and currently serves out his rock fantasies with the progressive rock of Abel Ganz.
He rejoined Iron Horse in 2003 with Ross Kennedy, releasing "The Wind Shall Blow For Evermore".
He is also currently involved in multimedia and specially commissioned projects.
Stevie currently tours and records with Big Sky artists Rallion , as a duo with fiddler Fiona Cuthill (debut album due early 2011), Mick West, Cellist Wendy Weatherby, Chilli piper Kyle Warren and Duncan McCrone.
He is also heavily involved with The Red Hot Chilli Pipers handling Bass and Bouzouki duties having performed with them on their triple platinum CD/DVD "Blast", their self titled debut release and their new release "Music for the Kilted Generation"
He also performs with Wendy Weatherby Trio, ex Clydesiders member Duncan McCrone, prog rockers Abel Ganz and fellow Big Sky artists Real Time.
January 2007 marked the release of Stevie's second solo album.
"The Hidden Gem" is released on the Big Sky label and is a follow up to his first solo album, "Standing Alone" , released by KRL in 2002.
Stevie's association with Big Sky dates back to 2000, when studio and label Director Tom Roseburgh first started the business in Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders.
While "Standing Alone" was a solo album in the true sense in that all instrumentation was played by Stevie, this release features contributions from many of the musicians that Stevie has worked with during an active 20 year career as Musician, Producer, Arranger and Audio Engineer.
The debut 'solo' album from one of the hardest-working musicians (from Iron Horse to Shane MacGowan, Donnie Munro to Lena Martell) on the Scottish scene is an all-instrumental, carefully arranged and beautifully performed offering by nine top-class musicians who share Lawrence's creative vision.
More ambient than folksy, the tracks could easily work as film soundtracks or beguiling background music in the classiest of Scottish restaurants - but their immediate easy-on-the-ear quality opens up through repeated listening to reveal hidden gems within.
The first thing that strikes you about The Hidden Gem is the front of the album booklet. I am sure that the picture is upside down. I turned it over - that was better but the titles now looked like ancient runes. Strange!!!
But there is nothing strange about Stevie Lawrence's solo recording - except that it's not solo. I counted nine other musicians providing an amazing depth. There again if you had the chance to include Wendy Weatherby, Fraser Spiers, Celine Donaghue, Gavin Marwick... then wouldn't you? And of course another ex member of Iron Horse, Annie Grace, when you add the ten plus that Stevie plays as well it could lead to an over complicated sound, but thankfully it doesn't.
It was as a member of The Iron Horse that Stevie Lawrence first reached many of our ears, but he had been playing for many years before that. His CV reads like a Who's Who as do many of those supporting him. And that is what they do because this is very much his album, as approximately two-thirds of this instrumental CD have been written by Stevie. Of the others there are contributions from Le Gop and accordionist Angus Lyon.
There are no outstanding tracks, they are all good and if I chose my favourites it would be unfair on the others. They all show a high standard of musicianship, whether low whistle on Home by Two, pipes on Tommy Kane's or guitar on many tracks. Running through many tracks, my surprise was the variety of patterns created by his percussion playing.
Top-quality stuff this and with a bit of exposure could do well. I almost added don't let it stay a hidden gem!!! But that would be too corny for such a good CD.
The Hidden Gem, his first solo album, sees him calling on the talents of cello player Wenday Weatherby, fiddle players Ruaridh Campbell, Fiona Cuthil and Gavin Marwick, and the accordion of Angus Lyon, but it's stillthe dizzying fretwork talents of Lawrence that come to the fore. Whether performing on guitar, bouzouki, cittern, mandolin, mandola or hurdy - gurdy, Lawrence is nothing less than thrilling on a collection of instrumentals that really allow the music to do the talking. Numbers like "The Back Peddler", "Megajig 2" (on which he excels on mandolin), "The Long Road", "Home By Two" and "The Delicate Delegate" are ample evidence of his musical authority and striking versatility.
October 3rd saw the release of ?A Cruel Kindness?, the debut album from Fiona Cuthill and Stevie Lawrence.
Released on the Fellside Label, the CD is already receiving glowing reviews world wide.
A hugely successful launch concert in Glasgow helped promote the CD further and with a recital concert at the Scottish Fiddle Festival in November it promises to be an exciting 2012 ahead for the Fiddle and Guitar/bouzouki duo.
?A CRUEL KINDNESS arrives as an impressive debut by a remarkable duo.? Northern Sky
?Cuthill excels, as both composer and player, in her slower material, such as the title track.? The Scotsman
The CD is available from www.fellside.com/
and various sites including Amazon, HMV, Coda, All Celtic Music and Music Scotland.