The Scotsman Sessions #128: Cloth

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, from their home in South Lanarkshire, twins Rachael and Paul Swinton of Scottish Album of the Year-shortlisted band Cloth perform a stripped-back version of their song, Old Bear

This year’s Scottish Album of the Year shortlist is notable for featuring eight debut outings in its list of ten contenders, including albums by electro duos The Ninth Wave and Comfort, indie rockers Declan Welsh & the Decadent West, DJ/producer Nova – and mellow alt.pop trio Cloth, whose assured self-titled debut has been attracting admiring glances, not least from broadcasters such as Lauren Laverne and Vic Galloway, since its release last November on prolific not-for-profit label Last Night from Glasgow.

For their Scotsman Session, twins Rachael and Paul Swinton, who front the band alongside drummer Clare Gallacher, have chosen to perform Old Bear. This former single featured on the soundtrack to the hit TV adaptation Normal People alongside the likes of Nick Drake, Elliot Smith and Frank Ocean, and the Swinton siblings have filmed a beatific version at their home in South Lanarkshire with “some very precarious homemade tripods” (and a copy of their album artwork on the wall).

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“Before the drums were added to this track, this is the stripped-back way we would play it,” they say. “It felt really nice to return to playing it in this way as it reminded us of the time we spent writing this song.”


While the trio await the results of the SAY Awards they have already begun work on a follow-up to their acclaimed debut.

“We’ve tried to keep busy during lockdown and to keep creating, as it’s a great focus for the mind in these uncertain times,” they say. “We’re excited that the new tracks are beginning to take shape.”

The winner of the 2020 SAY Award will be announced at an online ceremony, featuring performances by Happy Spendy, Kapil Seshasayee, Vlure and Zoe Graham, to be broadcast as a YouTube premiere at 7pm on 29 October

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