We’d like you to meet Sandy Wright, a longtime underground hero in his native Edinburgh, latterly championed by the likes of Eddi Reader, Kris Drever, Karine Polwart and folk/pop favourites Aberfeldy and last year nominated as Composer of The Year at the Scot’s Trad Music Awards. He’s been a civil service clerk, an army bandsman and a balloon-tying children’s entertainer. He’s played in covers bands, ceilidh bands, country bands and jazz combos, meanwhile building a reputation as Scotland’s finest undiscovered songwriter bar none. And now, at long last, in his 60th year, he’s made his first solo album.
That long-awaited debut, The Songs of Sandy Wright, is a treasure-trove twice over, firstly comprising a hand-picked selection – from a catalogue of some 250 compositions – sung by the man himself, recorded with half-a-dozen pals (The Toxic Cowboys) in the stone-built cottage outside Edinburgh that he currently calls home. The companion volume features a crème-de-la-crème array of fellow singers and songwriters, among them the aforementioned Reader, Drever and Polwart, plus the likes of Boo Hewerdine, Chris Wood, Roddy Woomble, New Yorker’s Gramercy Arms and Kendall Meade, Lau’s Martin Green with recent Bonnie Prince Billy collaborator Inge Thomson, upcoming talent such as William Douglas and Lori Watson and acclaimed duo Macmaster/Hay performing new versions of Wright’s material.
“I’ve tried out loads of different styles and ways of writing things in my time – and I still do,” he says. “But basically what I do now, corny as it sounds, is just write about my own experiences, or things they spark off, folk I meet – I love people’s stories. All the stories in those songs are kind of like my diary: there’s a thread through them other people wouldn’t necessarily recognise; all these little markers and bus-stops where I remember when and why I wrote them.” As a chronicle of a life exceptionally well-told, The Songs of Sandy Wright is your introduction to a truly singular talent.
Excerpt taken from a biography written by Sue Wilson