Stage set for Paisley tribute to Gerry Rafferty

A FESTIVAL in honour of one of Scotland’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters will include a concert starring some of the country’s leading musicians, organisers revealed yesterday.

Stars will take the stage on what would have been Rafferty's 67th birthday. Picture: Graham Jepson
Stars will take the stage on what would have been Rafferty's 67th birthday. Picture: Graham Jepson

Bring It All Home, a nine-day event celebrating the life and work of Gerry Rafferty, will also feature the late star’s family and former collaborators.

The festival will centre on the concert, held on what would have been the musician’s 67th birthday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Rafferty, who died in 2011 aged 63 after a long illness, enjoyed extended periods of critical and commercial success in a career that spanned more than four decades, but is still best known for Baker Street, with its famous saxophone riff.

A member of The Humblebums alongside Billy Connolly, he also formed Stealers Wheel – best-known for hit Stuck in the Middle With You – before embarking on a solo career.

Eddi Reader, Roddy Hart and Barbara Dickson are among those who will take the stage of to remember him.

The event is being organised by Rafferty’s daughter Martha and Rab Noakes, a friend of Rafferty who was a member of Stealers Wheel and also performed on his first solo album.

The festival, part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations, coincides with a two-month exhibition of the singer’s memorabilia at Paisley Museum, featuring artwork from his friend and another of Paisley’s best-known sons, John Byrne.

The centrepiece of the festival will be The Gerry Rafferty Concert on 16 April, described as a “special evening of Gerry’s songs performed by his friends, family and fans”. Other artists set to take part include Emma Pollock, Siobhan Wilson and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

The night will include all of Rafferty’s most popular songs as well as some lesser-known work, with many pieces specially arranged for the RSNO.

Ms Rafferty said: “I’m looking forward to marking what would have been his 67th birthday with a great bunch of musicians. Breathing new life into his songs is always a pleasure.

“It’s also fantastic to be able to stage this festival in Paisley. His hometown meant a lot to him and inspired much of his work. I’m sure he would be delighted to be able to help shine the spotlight on the town.”

The festival will also stage “From Burns to Biffy”, also at Paisley Town Hall. Billed as a celebration of Scottish songwriting, the concert will pay tribute to the breadth and depth of Caledonian hitmaking.

Veteran songwriters Midge Ure, Hamish Stuart and James Grant will be joined by contemporary artists such as Karine Polwart and Blue Rose Code. Each artist will perform their own material alongside their favourite songs from other Scottish writers.

Other shows on the bill include a concert in Paisley Abbey featuring Irish multi-instrumentalist and songsmith Paul Brady and US singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier; shows from Mercury Prize nominee Kathryn Williams and jazz performer Todd Gordon; and a series of musical masterclasses from acts including the RSNO, Donald Shaw, RM Hubbert and the Cairn String Quartet, and Stevie Wonder’s manager, Keith Harris.

Bring It All Home is being organised by Renfrewshire Council, with funding from Homecoming Scotland and Creative Scotland.

Caroline Packman, director of Homecoming Scotland, added: “Gerry Rafferty’s music brings back memories of a wonderful talent so it is fitting his success should be celebrated with a fantastic line-up of musicians in his hometown and on his birthday.”