Brit and Ivor Novello Award winning Scottish singer and songwriter KT Tunstall is making a special homecoming visit to Fife this week as part of a huge UK tour to promote her new album.
KT will perform at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline on Thursday (March 7) at 7pm, in support of her latest album, ‘WAX’.
KT, aka Katie Victoria Tunstall, who grew up in St Andrews, will take to the stage with an all-female band following the release of her sixth studio album in October last year.
The Scottish musician, who made it big following a live solo performance in 2004 of her song ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ on Later … with Jools Holland, is really excited about performing in the Kingdom.
She revealed what audiences can expect from the show: “Something that has been developing as I have gone on in my career is that I present my music in a lot of different ways,” KT explained.
“So sometimes I will just play completely solo which I love doing and really enjoy and the solo show feels really unique. There are not a lot of people doing that and I can still make a load of noise cause I am using all my pedals and leads and stuff.
“But this tour is extremely special because it is 100 per cent a full band so there are five of us on stage and we have just had three days of solid rehearsals so it is sounding utterly epic.
“The hard thing is you have so many songs to chose from as you go on but the massive upside is you are basically distilling it down to your favourite songs from each record and so it is a pretty banging set!
“It is a bit of a greatest hits. It’s really fun but it’s all women in the band and WAX was a very rocky record so that’s kind of the vibe of the show. It really feels like a powerful thing playing a rock show with all women, unfortunately it’s not that common.
“It’s really fun for us because we are just in there being musicians because that’s what we do and every now and then we are like - wow we are all girls!”
She continued: “None of us are used to it but everyone is of a certain calibre to even be in the room and so we have this absolute power band which is just fantastic. The drummer is Cat Myers who often plays with Mogwai, Mandy the bass player has been playing with Bombscare for years, she has come on board, Clare Uchima on keys has been out with Harry Styles on his last tour and the guitarist is a newbie called Hattie Moran who is 24 and never been on tour. She is amazing. It is hard to find female lead guitarists, it is probably the rarest position.”
KT said her latest album WAX is currently her favourite: “It is easy to say when you bring a new album out that it is your favourite album because it is the most exciting, but it has really stayed the distance for me and it is definitely my favourite.
“Even over the first record, as much as I adore it, this one is about maturing and getting to a new place. I have been working with Nick McCarthy from Franz Ferdinand who produced it and also working with My Riot. I just feel like we hit a stride that I have been looking for for a long time. It’s a mixture of rock and acoustic guitar playing. A lot of it is about electric guitar and I am such a fan of 80s power ballads which you will definitely be aware of on this tour! There is some really nice contemporary synth stuff on there as well which I always enjoy delving into.”
KT’s latest album, WAX, is the second part in the ‘soul, body and mind’ trilogy. It follows the first album, KIN.
The Scottish singer said she didn’t set out with an idea to do a trilogy set, she said it was just a natural progession after the first album was released.
The singer revealed she has already started working on the third album: “I have started working on the Mind record which is next. Part of the reason for doing it is it takes a long time between releasing records compared to back in the 60s and 70s when they would at least release a record a year. It’s not so regular now because people are touring and if a record is successful you can tour it for three years.
“It was really just an effort to get more material out in a short space of time and challenge myself. I have hugely enjoyed it so I have already got a few songs for the next one which is sounding really exciting.”
KT, who attended Lawhead Primary in St Andrews and then Madras College, said she always gets a bit nervous about coming back to perform in Fife: “I always get a bit nervous to be honest, more than anywhere else.
“It’s home gig and it’s about a Scottish thing where you just think everyone is going ‘who does she think she is?’ ‘Who does she think she is coming back here!’ and then I come back and everyone is absolutely lovely and I have a great time. I always feel there is a bit of added pressure playing home show.
“But the Alhambra is really special for me because it was one of my first big Scottish gigs. I was the first act to re-open it ten years ago and it was just so lovely because they printed out this massive banner, which they put on the balcony and it said ‘Welcome home KT’.
She revealed there will be a special treat in store for the audience at the Alhambra on Thursday:
KT said: “This time we have a special thing happening which is going to be hilarious. The Cuban Brothers are Scottish but pretend they are from Cuba and they bascially do amazing break-dancing in their pants, that’s their thing but they are very funny.
“Mike and Archie have got a new show and it’s called ‘Bridge and Allan’ and it’s basically a really funny Scottish show where they are pretending they are this massive famous duo in the 70s and they have got a bunch of musicians saying that they were their biggest influence including me! So I am on the show saying that Bridge and Allan are the reason I am a musician!
“We are actually doing some filming at the Dunfermline show in the encore. They are going to come on and do this song with us so that will be very amusing.”
KT certainly has a huge playlist and she will be performing a number of her biggest hits during this tour.
But which songs of KT’s do fans enjoy the most?
“‘Suddenly I see’ and ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ goes without saying,” she said.
“But something social media is really good for is you might do a post saying what is your favourite song and it is really interesting seeing what people post up,” she said.
“You actually get a lot of people mentioning the same album tracks that you wouldn’t necessarily expect like ‘Heal Over’ from the first record is a hugely popular song and ‘Ashes’ which is like a little fan record which really didn’t get promoted, that one is really popular and ‘Uummannaq Song’ from my third record Tiger Suit.
“It’s really great getting to know fans online and what gets them excited. That definitely plays a part when I am putting my setlist together.”
She is really excited about performing in Scotland - after the Fife gig on Thursday she is going on to perform at Aberdeen Music Hall and then the Barrowland in Glasgow.
KT said: “Scotland in general is just such a knees-up! It is just a party. Because I am Scottish there is just this injection of just party atmosphere and that’s what I always feel when I am playing Scotland. It kinda feels like an indoor festival playing Scotland.”
She added: “Not everybody comes to play at Dunfermline so it feels good when you play places where you feel like it is really appreciated that you have made the effort to come. I can’t wait.”
For tickets visit: www.alhambradunfermline.com