Music Matters with John Murray

John Murray
John Murray
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Songs in the key of Fife ...

You may know Vic Galloway from his DJ work, as a radio presenter or even as a freelance journalist surrounding the world of Indie music. 
As an author, his first book has been published and, this week, he was at the Edinburgh Book Festival to tell the stories. Songs In The Key Of Fife (Polygon, £14, 99), is more than a clever title. It centres on the intertwining stories of The Beta Band, King Creosote, KT Tunstall and the Fence Collective. Vic was raised in Kingsbarns, so is well placed to witness the music from that area. The prime force of Kenny Anderson as King Creosote surrounds much of the action and many readers will remember his local bands in Fife such as The Surfabillies, Khartoum Heroes and The Batfinks. James Yorkston was also from the East Neuk and, after a doomed college course , formed Miraclehead. They built up a following, playing everywhere from Cupar Festival to supporting Radiohead, then formed Huckleberry, forming a friendship with Kenny, who he had known from Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra, but was now forming a record label, record shop and an outlet for his art called Fence. James formed The Athletes, signed to Domino Records and released a single called ‘The Lang Toun’. They toured venues with David Gray and their album was Rough Trade’s Album of the Year 2002. After a radio session, John Peel called him ‘the finest songwriter of his generation’. But by far, one artist from this ensemble would take the music world by storm. She was known as Kate Tunstall then. After college she sang backing for the Skuobhies then joined Huckleberry. She formed Red Light Stylus. Known as Katie now, she signed to Relentless Records but everything changed when NAS pulled from Jools Holland’s ‘Later’ TV show. Opting for a non-album track, ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’, her life changed overnight.