The Scotsman Sessions #85: Stuart Ramage

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Stuart Ramage of Castle Douglas duo VanIves performs a solo acoustic version of new track Babyshowers

Castle Douglas duo VanIves have been writing, recording and performing together for a couple of years now but singer and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Ramage and pianist/producer Roan Ballantyne go way back, first bonding as ten-year-old skateboarding obsessives before cementing their friendship helming drum’n’bass parties on a homemade sound system in the depths of the Galloway forest.

Forget teenage kicks though: Ramage has mined a far more sobering adolescent memory – that of a girlfriend’s miscarriage – for his Scotsman Sessions number Babyshowers, which Ramage says is “the bravest I have ever felt writing a song. It has been overwhelming to receive so much support for the song, especially when it is a subject matter that is not generally discussed by young men.”

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The song came out of their self-styled “Beat Challenge” where the pair would film and record themselves making music from scratch, while driving from city to city on tour. Their audience would subsequently send in sounds and lyric ideas and Ramage and Ballantyne would pull the elements together in real time.

Stuart Ramage

Inevitably, their touring plans with drummer Kyle Sharp and Ramage’s sister Ailsa on strings are currently scuppered. “Our whole year has pretty much been postponed until next year,” says Ramage, “but we have tried to re-appropriate the time to create more and keep moving forward. We are fortunate that we do the studio side of it by ourselves anyway so we didn't need to wait around for an engineer.”

Following Babyshowers, their latest lockdown release is new single Heartstuck and there are plans to issue a couple of other tracks before the end of the year.

“Other than making music, I have been eating beans and rice,” Ramage reports. “My saving grace has been the fact I am able to get out and skate with a couple of friends and on my own. It gets me in a different headspace and keeps spirits up.”

For more on Vanives, visit www.facebook.com/VanIvesMusic

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