The Scotsman Sessions #402: Broken Chanter

Welcome to the Scotsman Sessions, a series of short video performances from artists all around the country introduced by our critics. Here, from their practice space in Dalmarnock, Glasgow, David MacGregor and Charlotte Printer of Broken Chanter perform their new single, The Rain Doesn't Only Fall On You

The song Broken Chanter’s David MacGregor has chosen as his band’s Scotsman Session is The Rain Doesn't Only Fall On You, taken from their forthcoming third album, Chorus of Doubt. Performed with Charlotte Printer in the band’s rehearsal space in Glasgow’s East End, the song’s theme echoes the album’s.

“If you're suffering, you're not the only one, and you can reach out for support,” says MacGregor. “It’s a love letter to the power of collective action and looking out for one another, a reminder you don't have to take the world’s shite. Sometimes I think the people with the best intentions feel the most isolated.

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“Charlotte and I recorded it at our practice space in Dalmarnock – we all spent a lot of time in that unit between 2020 and 2022. There were points where we were standing several metres apart with an air purifier and masks on, learning the songs for the second record. It's a place we’re comfortable with, we’ve made a lot of good noises there.”

For MacGregor and Broken Chanter this album is the first taste of normality after the pandemic. Once his former band Kid Canaveral amicably split in 2017 (“competing priorities in everyone’s lives put it to bed… we toured solidly for three records and pretty much ten years – it just didn't work for everyone anymore”), the self-titled debut album was released in September 2019, just in time for COVID to stifle touring.

The follow-up, Catastrophe Hits, was released in October 2021, when touring still wasn’t an option, but it appeared in a number of the specialist official charts, including Scottish Albums and Independent Albums. “It’s quite something to end up in the charts for the first time in your thirties, it was lovely,” says MacGregor. “It also helps communicate to your family how you’re doing, because you do get some people going, ‘you still doing the music, aye?’”

On this record his band is Charlotte Printer, Bart Owl and Martin Johnston; regular drummer Audrey Tait was on tour with her other band, Franz Ferdinand, at the time. Meanwhile Chorus of Doubt is the band’s debut on Glasgow label Chemikal Underground, a formative influence on the Glaswegian MacGregor, he says, when he realised bands as good as Mogwai and Arab Strap were being released by a label along the road.

“As Billy Bragg said, music’s not going to change the world,” he says, returning to the new album, “but it’s important to say that things could be better, and to remind people we’re not all living in wee silos. A lot of things over the past few years have made people feel powerless, but the theme of the record is, you're not alone in your upset at the state of the world.

Broken ChanterBroken Chanter
Broken Chanter

“The ambition is to get this record out as far and wide as possible, and to make up for lost time. There’s been a lot of stopping and starting in the past four years, and I really miss the joy of playing.”

Broken Chanter’s new album Chorus of Doubt is out on 5 April. Broken Chanter play Summerhall, Edinburgh, 11 April; Tunnels, Aberdeen, 12 April; Beat Generator Live, Dundee, 13 April; Stereo, Glasgow, 20 April, see