Song in the key of life from funeral director

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A MUSIC-loving funeral director could soon be playing a key role in a national songwriting competition.

Distinguished figures like Sir Terry Wogan, ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris and Johnnie Walker may be casting a critical ear over a song penned for charity by Neil Brunton – if he can secure enough online votes.

Neil’s song, ‘Jacob Street’, is among 50 which struck a chord with Oldie Composers – “a UK-wide songwriting competition, open to the older generation, to showcase their talent and raise money for Barnardo’s”.

The 50 melodies are all up for public vote and the 20 which gather the most hits by January 7 will be judged by a panel of Radio 2 personalities.

After that, the leading four will be recorded in London by professional musicians and released on i-Tunes to benefit the charity.

Neil’s offering is number 25 on the list, which is available


The 43-year-old was encouraged to enter the competition by his wife Nyree – also his business partner at Anderson Funeral Directors in Methil. He said he was delighted to reach the final 50 and very grateful to everyone who had voted for him so far.

Neil’s interest in music spans a broad spectrum, from the Delta blues of the 1930s to Oasis and The Stereophonics.

As a young man, he played bass guitar with a few friends around local pubs, but never treated it as more than a hobby. Although he always had guitars in the house, he drifted out of the habit of playing for some years.

However, on turning 40, Neil joked his “mid-life crisis” prompted a return to music, as he bought himself an electro-acoustic Ibanez guitar and was given a digital recorder. Before long, he was dabbling in writing songs – and then the contest came along.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard I was in the top 50,” he said. “When you look at others who’ve entered, some of them are semi-professional.”

‘Jacob Street’ was loosely inspired by an episode at Kirkcaldy bus station, where he saw a man and a woman busking.

A couple of years later, Neil saw the man there again but the woman had gone.

“I started wondering what became of her,” he explained.

“Had she gone on to bigger and better things, while he was left at Kirkcaldy bus station?”

Neil hopes he can count on more votes before January 7, with the top 20 tunes being judged by Sir Terry Wogan, Ken Bruce, Johnnie Walker, Bob Harris and Radio 2 music producer Malcolm Prince.