Since forming in the early 1990’s, Old Blind Dogs have stood on the cutting edge of Scotland’s roots revival. The band has developed its own trademark style with an energetic mix of songs and tunes. Dynamic percussion, polished vocals, soaring fiddle and stirring pipes fuel the delicately-phrased melodies and traditional songs.
“The Old Blind Dogs play with a compelling energy and intoxicating rhythm,” says The Scotsman, “as players and audience seem to share a wild ecstasy of emotion.” Sixteen years is a long time in the life of any band and most who reach that milestone are content to rest on the tried and true formulas that have worked in the past. Not so for Scotland’s Old Blind Dogs whose newly released Four on the Floor takes them bravely in many new directions.
The Dogs, one of Scotland’s most highly touted traditional folk bands, are not known for shying away from change. A strong, shared musical vision has allowed the group to ride out inevitable line-up changes to the extent that the only original member still with the band is Jonny Hardie (fiddle, guitar and vocals). The Dogs popularity has never dimmed though and the current foursome of Hardie, Aaron Jones (bouzouki, guitar, vocals), Ali Hutton (Border pipes, whistles, vocals) and Donald Hay (drums, percussion) have proven more than capable of carrying on the tradition of the band that the Montreal Gazette called …a Scots neo-traditional supergroup with a bracingly modern musical attack.
Together, in varying line-ups along with past members Buzzby McMillan (bass, bouzouki, vocals), Davy Cattanach (percussion, vocals), Fraser Fifield (saxophone, small pipes), Paul Jennings (percussion), Fraser Stone (percussion), Rory Campbell (Border pipes, whistles, vocals) and singer/guitarists Ian Benzie and Jim Malcolm, the Dogs have released eleven albums and have won numerous awards including the prestigious title of Folk Band of the Year at the 2004 and 2007 Scots Trad Music Awards. Their album ‘Four On The Floor’ picked up the IAP ‘Best Celtic CD’ Award and their last CD, ‘Wherever Yet May Be’ was nominated for the same award.
“A Scots neo-traditional super group, with a bracingly modern musical attack.” (Montreal Gazette)
“The skill, talent and verve with which they played, belied their laddishness and the crowd responded with thunderous applause. Folk is the new rock and roll.” (Evening News)
The Old Blind Dogs play with a compelling energy and intoxicating rhythm, players and audience seem to share a wild ecstasy of emotion. (The Scotsman)
“Old Blind Dogs have mastered the tricky art of innovating within a musical tradition while faithfully revealing its essence.” (Acoustic Guitar)
“Old Blind Dogs bring freshness and colour to acoustic music steeped in centuries of Scottish folklore and history.” (The Los Angeles Times)
Jonny Hardie, based in beautiful Strathdon in Aberdeenshire, is a founding member of Old Blind Dogs. Twenty-five years of performing has seen him tour with The Chieftains, The Unusual Suspects, Alyth McCormack, Annie Grace Band, NUSA, Ronan Martin, Rory Campbell and Shona Donaldson. He has appeared on, and produced, countless traditional recordings and also appears regularly on stage as an actor. The production ‘The Tailor of Inverness’ which saw Jonny feature as a performer and musical director, won several awards including a Fringe First, The Holden Street Theatre Award and the Stage Award in 2008. Jonny is also actively involved as a music teacher in his region working for Fèisean nan Gàidheal, The North East Folk Collective and Aberdeen City Music School.
Voted Scots Trad Music Awards ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in 2005, Aaron Jones has performed on over seventy albums and continues to tour the world and record with many of the top names in traditional music. A member of Old Blind Dogs (Scots Trad Music Awards ‘Band of the Year’ in 2004 and 2007) he is also accompanist for the Mercury nominated and multi award winning singer Kate Rusby and the double ‘Scots Singer of the Year’ winner Siobhan Miller. Aaron was official accompanist for the BBC Young Traditional Scottish Musician of the Year Awards for ten years and is a passionate Regional Committee Member of the Scotland and Northern Ireland Musicians Union.
Ali Hutton, from Methven in Perthshire, was inspired at the age of seven to take up the bagpipes and came up through the ranks at the Vale of Atholl pipe band. He was taught alongside Ross Ainslie by the late, great Gordon Duncan and has gone on to become a successful multi-instrumentalist on the Scottish music scene. He has produced and co-produced several albums including Treacherous Orchestra’s ‘Origins’, Maeve MacKinnon’s ‘Don’t Sing Love Songs’, The Long Notes’ ‘In the Shadow of Stromboli’ and Old Blind Dogs’ ‘Wherever Yet May Be’. Ali is currently a member of Treacherous Orchestra, Old Blind Dogs, the Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson Band, and the Ross Ainslie Trio.
Donald Hay is a drummer/percussionist with an exceptional ability to play with power, empathy, delicacy and drama. Over the last twenty years he has become one of the most highly sought after percussionists in the Scottish and English folk scenes appearing on recordings by Sting, Eliza Carthy (including her Mercury Award nominated ‘Anglicana’ ), Kate Rusby, Martin Carthy, Kathryn Tickell, Gordon Duncan, The Battlefield Band and The Nuala Kennedy Band. He is currently performing with Old Blind Dogs, The Nuala Kennedy Band and harpist Mary MacMaster. He also does live session work for Shooglenifty and has appeared on the highly successful TV show and Celtic Connections concert ‘The Transatlantic Sessions’ performing with Joan Osbourne, Jerry Douglas, Donal Lunny, Ali Bain and Phil Cunningham.