Singing butcher to perform on stage at festival

Singing Butcher Iain Hunter,with shop staff David Winton, left, and Dean Miller. Picture: contributed
Singing Butcher Iain Hunter,with shop staff David Winton, left, and Dean Miller. Picture: contributed
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When you give up your day job to pursue a singing career, there’s a lot at steak.

But for Iain Hunter, the gamble has paid off – and he has been invited to perform at this year’s Edinburgh International Jazz Festival.

Dubbed the Singing Butcher, Iain, from Pathhead in Midlothian, was the owner of Charles F Stanleys on Gorgie Road for 15 years before he sold his business in 2008 to further his music career.

This summer he will swap his pinny for a slick suit and treat an audience at the Tron Kirk to the sounds of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Bobby Darin.

The 46-year-old, who has performed in the famous Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, will be accompanied by a four-piece band.

He said: “I would say this is the biggest concert I have done to date – it’s one of the biggest festivals in Edinburgh.

“As far as I know, I’m the only Scottish singer in the festival this year. When you get an opportunity like this, you have to take it.

“There’s going to be some pretty big names watching and that can open doors for you, so I’m really going to want to impress.”

Before Las Vegas called, Iain had performed in pubs and clubs in Edinburgh, including a weekly spot at the Ratpack in the West End, and all over the west of Scotland.

In 2001, while a guest at Loewe’s Hotel in San Diego, he took part in an impromptu performance at The Disney Corporation Conference – and received a standing ovation.

After performing in Las Vegas and selling his business, he took a year out to concentrate on his music and performances.

But his heart was still in his butchery trade.

Along with his wife Pamela, he opened a new shop – the award winning Hunters of Kinross – 50 miles from his Pathhead home.

He admits that balancing his full-time trade with that of a performing artist can be tough.

“I’m up at 5am each day, I drive up to Kinross and then I’m in the shop until 5pm.

“If I’m singing I’ll just head straight to the venue. It’s a busy life.”

Coincidentally, it was in Kinross that Iain was discovered – after he supplied sausages to Real Radio presenter Cat Harvey at T in the Park.

After hearing his CD, Cat invited him to perform live on The Real Radio Breakfast Show.

Last year, he performed to a sell-out audience in Kinross with jazz vocalist Debbie Davis and piano master Tom Finlay - while proving a chip off the old block was his 14-year-old son Ryan, who stole the show with his solo performances of Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix.

Iain said: “When I was a kid I used to sing all the time, then about 20 years ago I started performing in clubs, even though I was generally quite a shy person.

“Some people have said to me they don’t understand how I haven’t hit the big time when they’ve heard me sing. I just hope next year I’ll get to perform at the jazz festival again.”

Iain will perform at The Tron Kirk on July 25 at 7.30pm.

.. and the Chop Ten

Walk the Loin – Johnny Cash

Steak my Breath Away – Berlin

Always look on the Silverside of Life – Monty Python

Sunshine on Beef – The Proclaimers

Beverley Hills Chop theme – Axel F

(I can fillet) Coming in the Air Tonight – Phil Collins

Poultry in Motion – Johnny Tillotson

This Charming Ham – The Smiths

Live and Let Pie – Paul McCartney

You Really Got Meat – The Kinks