The Scotsman Sessions #265: Dot Allison

Welcome to the award-winning 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 the Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland, singer-songwriter Dot Allison performs her recent single, Long Exposure

Edinburgh-born and based singer-songwriter Dot Allison is one of Scotland’s most sought after yet selectively spotted musicians. Since launching her career 30 years ago, fronting electronica trio One Dove, she has sung and co-written with the likes of Massive Attack, Paul Weller and Pete Doherty and was a longstanding collaborator with the late Andy Weatherall. Her solo outings, however, have been sporadic as Allison took time out to raise a family with her composer husband Christian Henson.

Happily, her first new album in 12 years, Heart-Shaped Scars, lands around the same time and from the same location as her atmospheric Scotsman Sessions recording of recent single, Long Exposure – both were recorded in the legendary Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland, where The Blue Nile made their seminal albums A Walk Across the Rooftops and Hats with producer Calum Malcolm.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The first album I bought was A Walk Across The Rooftops,” says Allison, “so there is a sort of symmetry about being there for me. I coincidentally ended up being neighbours and have remained friends with Paul Moore from the band, and he messaged me on the first day of recording this album there to wish me luck…I shed a tear!”

Dot AllisonDot Allison
Dot Allison

As it turns out, this is a bountiful summer for Allison fans. In contrast to the wistful languor of Heart-Shaped Scars, she has also collaborated with Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre on the score for a new TV crime drama to be screened in August – Annika stars Nicola Walker as the head of a Marine Homicide Unit operating along the Scottish coast.

“It’s the first 'score to picture’ I have done and has been a really interesting and enjoyable process,” says Allison. “I think the show is brilliant, and obviously Nicola Walker is a fantastic actress.”

Heart-Shaped Scars is released by SA Recordings on 30 July and will feature on Tim’s Twitter Listening Party at 9pm on 5 August

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription at

Related topics: