Pete Scott walking at the coast Listen to an extract from Celtic Heartbeat

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Pete Scott

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Review - Hexham Courant
Something awesome in the heat of the night

It was almost too hot to enjoy anything at all on Friday last - the Queen’s Hall was attempting to enter the Guiness Book of Records for the highest humidity in Britain. But we, a packed audience, mopped each other’s brows and got on with the pleasure of enjoying an evening of traditional and contemporary North-East music, courtesy of the Northumbria Anthology...

...what followed was a wonderful surprise. I’ve known and read the lyrics of the songs written by the Tyneside bard, Joe Wilson, but have rarely heard them performed. Wilson died a century and a half ago at the ludicrously early age of 33. For most of the time since then, his reputation has been preserved by academics and musicologists. He probably wrote his lyrics to fit popular tunes of the day, but nobody is sure which tunes they were.

Now, Walker-born musician Pete Scott has made new settings of the songs. And they are a total delight and revelation. They don’t sound quaint and antiquarian, but are in their tone and subject matter, frighteningly up to date. The perils of drink and poverty, the horrors of wife beating are simply expressed in the most sublime of secular poetry.

I was much taken too with the self-effacing wry personality of Pete Scott. Coming to Tynedale was scary, he told us. “I’m a townie and terrified of trees.” Listing 19th century poverty and misery, he paused and said: “But at least they didn’t need to grout a shower - or shop at Ikea.”

We were moved when he spoke of his pride in being at last able to sing in his own dialect rather than the mid-Atlantic twang of modern singers. Then he gave us, as a parting gift, one of his own songs - stuff that compares with Joe Wilson’s best. He has much to be proud of and us to be grateful for. I could have listened to him all evening.

Peter Lewis

more reviews

Pete's latest album:

CD - Sweet Dreams Of Contentment

CD - Songs To Sing & Jokes To Tell

Songs To Sing & Jokes To Tell
available online from:

    CD Baby

Hear tracks from the album

CD - Why Sing Goodbye Songs

Why Sing Goodbye Songs
available online from:

    CD Baby

Hear tracks from the album

Read the album launch review

Watch Pete on YouTube:

    He Said She Said Yeah
    Eddie's Dead
    William Smith and Pauline Jones
    Fantastic Pasty
    Pity The Poor Baritone

Send an email to Pete Scott
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