RECORD STORE DAY 2018 (6 Mar)
We are delighted to announce the first ever release of Thomas Fraser's music on vinyl. As part of Record Store Day we are releasing a special verison of the 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues' album. Limited to 500 copies it is pressed on 180g vinyl and features new sleeve notes from Duncan McLean. The audio has been given an amazing treatment from Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio. Record Store day is on 21 April 2018. Reserve your copy now! See the Record Store Day official website for more info.
Break (21 Mar)
We are on a break just now. Future projects include a Thomas Fraser compilation CD (possible release November 2018) and of course, the next Thomas Fraser Festival. Dates? We're not sure yet but possibly 2017, probably 2018!
FESTIVAL TICKETS ON SALE NOW! (10-Oct)
Festival tickets are on sale now at the Hamnavoe Shop, Burra and Peerie Shop Lerwick.
2015 LINE UP CONFIRMED (10-Oct)
The confirmed line up for the 2015 Festival is: April Verch, Scott Icenogle & A11, Ags Connolly, Kansa, Martin Pottinger, Laeverick, Arthur Pottinger, May and Mackie and Robbie Cumming.
2015 Memorial Festival (13-Apr)
We are delighted to confirm that 2 North American acts will be coming over to Shetland for the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. As well as April Verch and her band, Scott Icenogle and A11 will also be making the trip. Scott has been to the Festival once before as part of the Scruggs, Tanner and Icenogle trio. We are delighted to welcome him back in this new sensational line up. More news on local acts soon.
Exciting news for Lisa (17-Feb)
Burra lass and great niece of Thomas Fraser, Lisa Ward, will appear on 'The Voice' this weekend. Read all about it here. We wish her all the very best.
The return of the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival (24-Mar)
The Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival will return in November 2015. Stay tuned for details as we get them. The preliminary dates are Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th November.
Best of CD (24-Mar)
There are plans, in the very early stages, to produce a definitive 'best of' Thomas Fraser CD release. Suggestions on your favourite tracks are welcome!
Iain Anderson BBC Travelling Folk (22-Nov)
Thomas Fraser's first CD 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues' is archive album of the week on BBC Radio Scotland's Travelling Folk programme. Listen again here.
Festival build up! (28-Oct)
The final preparations are being made for the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival which takes place on the 8th November and goes on through to the 11th November. Karl Simpson will present a special Festival preview radio prgramme on BBC Radio Shetland on Wednesday 31st October. The 50 minute show will feature an interview with Faroe star Hallur Joensen and Sharon Skaggs of The Whites. The programme starts at 18:10 GMT. Meanwhile Festival Commitee members Adalene Fullerton and Sylvia Jamieson will present a special Thomas Fraser Give us a Tune on Friday 2nd November.
Festival tickets (28-Oct)
Tickets for the Saturday night show sold out within hours of going on sale. However, there is still some tickets left for Friday 9th and Thursday 8th November. Tickets are now only on sale at the Hamnavoie Shop and the Peerie Shop in Lerwick.
Michael Marra (28-Oct)
We were saddened to hear of the death of Dundee singer-songwriter Michael Marra. Michael appeared at the 2005 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival and shortly after he recorded a song called simply 'Thomas Fraser'. The song appeared on his 'Quintet' EP which was released in 2007. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.
Festival line up (28-Oct)
The line up for the 2012 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival is top Nashville based and Opry Stars The Whites, Faroese country star Hallur Joensen, the 2010 Young Shetland fiddler of the year Liza Fullerton, Alison Kay Ramsay, Laeverick, Alan Tulloch, Robbie Cumming, Arthur Pottinger, Eddie Williamson and of course May, Mackie & Rhonda.
New Thomas Fraser CD (28-Oct)
The new Thomas Fraser CD 'For the Sake of Days Gone By' is now completed and will be launched in Shetland at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival on 8th November. A UK release will be on 21st January 2013. The album is a double disc affair with no less than 50 tracks. More details on the album soon.
The Whites (17-Mar)
We are delighted to confirm that the US act The Whites are the first confirmed act for the 2012 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. Click here to see the full story on The Shetland Times.
Without doubt the US tour of 'Long Gone Lonesome', the story of Thomas Fraser's life, is the most significant happening since the project to release the recordings began in 2002. 2012 has got off to a great start and it sets the tone for an exciting year. The sixth Thomas Fraser CD is slotted for release in November 2012. At present, the track listing for this two disc release is being compiled - there is the small matter of over 5 hours of cassette tape recordings to go over before the listing can be finalised! It is also hoped that the line up for the 2012 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival will be announced soon.
USA TOUR CONCLUDES (19-Feb)
The National Theatre of Scotland's US tour of 'Long Gone Lonesome' concluded last week at Tallahassee in Florida. The tour has been hailed as a great success with all venues reporting high ticket sales, indeed most performances were sell-outs. The tour has been critically acclaimed in the US media. Here are some links to a few of these reviews:
Chicago Hideout Club : Purdue University : Austin University of West Texas : Seven Days Tallahassee
The Lone Star Swing Band, led by writer Duncan McLean, have been keeping a blog on the US tour. The blog can be accessed here: http://lonestarswingblog.wordpress.com/
Jimmie Rodgers book released on paperback (19-Feb)
Barry Mazor's superb bio on Jimmie Rodgers has been issued on paperback. Available at all good retail outlets.
Lucky programme (30-Nov)
The Lucky Programme number, drawn at the Thomas Fraser Festival on 11th November is '30'. The lucky winner was Stefanie Pottinger of Hamnavoe.
Long Gone Lonesome tour of USA announced! (5-Nov)
Duncan McLean's musical tribute to Thomas Fraser takes to the road in the USA in January and February 2012 . Long Gone Lonesome, directed by Vicky Featherstone, is playing at venues in Chicago, Texas, Florida, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
This poignant tribute to Thomas Fraser has been beguiling audiences across Scotland and beyond since 2009, having toured the Scottish Highlands and Islands, played to sell-out houses at Celtic Connections and travelled to Galway. The band heads back out on the road again to the USA, to the places Thomas sang so fondly about. Duncan McLean on guitar and vocals is joined by Dick Levens on lap steel guitar and mandolin, Iain Tait on electric bass and Shetlander Lynda Anderson on fiddle.
Karl Simpson said "there have been a few honours bestowed on a select group of Shetland musicans and this is right up there with them. It is one of the biggest things ever to happen during the Thomas Fraser project".
The venues and dates are as follows: Texas Performing Arts, The University of Texas at Austin , from 19 to 21 January 2012, Purdue Convocations for Purdue University at the Mallett Theatre, Indiana, from 26 to 29 January 2012, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre at the Hideout Club, Chicago, from 2 to 4 February 2012, Juniata College, Pennsylvania, from 8 to 10 February 2012 and finally the Seven Days of Opening Nights Festival for Florida State University at the Fred Turner Auditorium, Tallahassee Community College, Florida from 12 to 14 Feb 2012.
2011 Festival update (5-Nov)
Tickets for the Saturday night show are sold out. There are still tickets for the Thursday and Friday shows. Once more there will be a Gospel concert at the Bridge End Church of Scotland, starting at 3pm on the Sunday. The weekend will see the Festival welcome some special guests among the audience. Australian DJ Tubby Dyer and his son Christopher are making the long journey while top Faroese country singer Hallur Joensen is also making the trip.
2011 Festival line up announced (18-Sep)
Final preparations are being made for the tenth Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. The Festival will be held from Thursday 10th November to Saturday 12th November at the Hamnavoe Public Hall.Very special guests for this year's Festival are The Malpass Brothers who hail from Goldsboro in North Carolina. A Festival spokesperson said: "we have really pushed the boat out to bring the Malpass Brothers to Shetland. It's a long way to come for a large group and I hope that the Shetland audience will enjoy them. They really sound very special indeed - real old-time country. It will be a special treat to see them live".
Also new this year is Lynda Anderson. The Yell fiddler has been instrumental in securing some of the US acts for the Thomas Fraser Festival over previous years. From Orkney, Duncan McLean brings his Driftwood Cowboys up for their first appearance in their new three-piece guise. Meanwhile the Glasgow based outfit the Moonshiners return for their first appearance in Shetland since 2008. Whiteness fiddle virtuoso Gemma Donald will accompany them north. Laeverick will also make a welcome return, having gone down so well in their last appearance in 2009. Brian Nicholson also returns after his spellbinding performances at last year's shows. Alison Kay Ramsay will make her third consecutive appearance at the Festival. Festival stalwarts Robbie Cumming, Arthur Pottinger, Eddie Williamson, Alan Tulloch and May & Mackie complete the line up.
Tickets for the Festival are priced at £12 for the Thursday and £14 for Friday and Saturday nights.Tickets will be on sale from Saturday 15 th October at the Hamnavoe Shop in Burra, Yealtaland Books & Post Office in Scalloway and Da Peerie Shop in Lerwick.
New CD release pushed back to 2012 (21-Mar)
The sixth Thomas Fraser CD release has been pushed back to November 2012. The date has been changed due to the discovery of another batch of cassette tapes which were found in January 2011. Thirty one cassettes were found and although it is unlikely that the tapes will feature any new material, each must be gone through just in case.
POST FESTIVAL ROUNDUP (20-Nov)
The ninth Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival and the latest Thomas Fraser CD 'Just Call me Lonesome' were both given great reviews by the Shetland Times this week. Check out the CD review here and a feature on the CD launch night here. The Press & Journal also had a feature on "Shetland's King of Country" which can be seen here. Look out for a photo feature in the new 'I I Shetland' Magazine next month and a special feature in the Yule issue of the New Shetlander. Meanwhile, work has already started in earnest on Thomas Fraser CD 6! Release date: November 2011.
NEW CD READY TO PRE-ORDER (03-Nov)
The new Thomas Fraser CD 'Just Call Me Lonesome' is now ready to pre-order. The CD will be launched at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival on Thursday 11th November.
FESTIVAL TICKETS ON SALE (29-Sep)
Tickets for the 2010 Thomas Fraser memorial Festival go on sale on Thursday 30 September. The tickets will be available from 'Da Peerie Shop' in Lerwick, Hunter's Fish Shop in Scalloway and the Hamnavoe Shop in Burra. The full line up is: Chris Scruggs, John Lilly, Eddie Williamson, Arthur Pottinger, May, Mackie & Rhonda, Robbie Cumming, Allan Tulloch, Alison Kay Ramsay, The Wisharts, Brian Nicholson & Maggie Adamson and Gemma Donald. Tickets are £12 each for the Friday and Saturday nights and £10 on the Thursday. See recent press releases on the event by searching the Shetland Times and Shetland News.
CHURCH PERFORMANCE (29-Sep)
As part of the Festival, there will also be a special gospel performance at the Bridge End Church of Scotland on Sunday the 14th November. This show will be led by John Lilly and will also feature Geordie & Mhari Pottinger and Caroline Simposon and Stefanie Pottinger. The show starts at 15:00 and donations are to the RNMDSF at the door.
NEW CD ALMOST COMPLETE (07-Sep)
Well the new Thomas Fraser CD is now in the final stages of production. We can confirm that the title is 'Just Call me Lonesome' . The release will consist of one disc containing 25 tracks. Originally it was planned to release a second disc with a range of alternate tracks included but it was decided to hold these back for one more future release. At present the master disc is being finalised and we hope to have the final package on sale at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival in November. A track listing and cover will be available to see soon.
FESTIVAL NEWS (26-Jul)
Progress on the 2010 Thomas Fraser Festival is gearing up. The Festival is being held from 11th to 14th November. We are delighted to welcome back John Lilly from West Virginia. Meanwhile Chris Scruggs, riding high on the success of his latest album 'Anthem' is making a return as a solo artist. A full line up will be released soon.
'LONG GONE LONESOME' AT GALWAY ARTS (26-Jul)
The National Theatre of Scotland's performance of 'Long Gone Lonesome' will play the prestigious Galway Arts Festival from 20th to 24th July. Click here for ticket details.
NEW ALBUM ON SCHEDULE (20-Apr)
Work on the new Thomas Fraser album is progressing well and on schedule. The album, provisionally named 'For the Sake of Days Gone By', will be a 2 disc affair with 50 tracks in total. For the first time it will feature Thomas's mandolin playing, some guitar instrumentals and some tracks featuring Thomas's daughter May. May would often harmonise with her father as a child. Some alternate tracks are also expected to be included. The disc will be released in November 2010.
NATIONAL THEATRE: LONG GONE LONESOME (20-Apr)
The National Theatre of Scotland's production on the life of Thomas Fraser will play three nights in Orkney in May 2010. Check the National Theatre website for more info. We also can reveal that a series of dates in Ireland are being arranged. Stay tuned for more info.
BBC CULTURE SHOW FEATURE (06-Jan)
The BBC's Culture Show will air a special feature on Thomas Fraser on Thursday 21st January at 7pm on BBC2 to tie in with the final two dates of the National Theatre of Scotland's production of 'Long Gone Lonsome' at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.
FESTIVAL REVIEW (21-Nov)
The latest issue of The Shetland Times features a full page review of the Thomas Fraser Festival held last weekend. Check out the review by clicking here.
MAVERICK MAGAZINE REVIEW (21-Nov)
The latest December issue of Maverick Magazine features a great review of Thomas Fraser's 'That Far Away Land' album.
FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN! (03-Nov)
The 8th Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival gets underway in a little over a week. BBC Radio Shetland will have a special preview of the weekend on this Friday's 'Give us a Tune' programme.
FINAL DAY FEATURES (25-Oct)
Last night saw the final Scottish mainland show of 'Long Gone Lonesome'. North of Scotland DJ Rob Ellen caught up with writer Duncan McLean just before the show. Check out the interviews here. Meantime, the BBC's Culture Show programme were at the gig and are planning a feature on the Thomas Fraser story soon.
FINAL WEEK FOR 'LONG GONE LONESOME'! (19-Oct)
The Long Gone Lonesome National Theatre tour enters its final stretch this week with shows at Fraserburgh on Tuesday 20th , Aberdeen on the 21st , Lossiemouth on the 22nd , Dingwall on the 23rd and Ullapool on the 24th . The show has received great critical acclaim in the national press with the Daily Record, Scotsman, Herald, Times and Guardian all carrying reviews. The show has been selling out and we hear there are only a few tickets left for the dates this week so hurry to book! The final performance of 'Long Gone Lonesome' will be at the Thomas Fraser Festival on Wednesday 11th November.
However, there will be a special set of performances at Celtic Connections in Glasgow on 21st and 22nd January 2010.
'SHETLAND LONE STAR' UK RELEASE! (14-Oct)
The acclaimed BBC TV documentary on Thomas Fraser is being given a nationwide UK release on 19 October. As well as the documentary itself, the DVD features extra tracks, interviews and highlights of the 2008 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival.
Meanwhile, the 30 min documentary will be repeated on BBC 2 Scotland on 24 October at 9pm.
CHRIS SCRUGGS TO APPEAR AT FESTIVAL! (06-Oct)
The name Scruggs is one of the most famous in music and many Shetland houses have been entertained through the years by the brilliant banjo playing of Earl be it with Bill Monroe or his musical partner Lester Flatt. Chris Scruggs is Earl’s Grandson. If that family history wasn’t enough, Chris’s mother is the hugely influential Gail Davies. Unlike his grandfather, Chris’s favoured instrument is guitar but in addition to the role of guitar slinging singer & songwriter, Scruggs is a master steel guitarist, playing his instrument without pedals. An all but lost art form, Chris does what he can to promote this playing style, preserving the older techniques and developing new ones that fit his own musical needs. Chris will join his friends David Tanner and Scott Icenogle on the stage at the Thomas Fraser Festival.
NATIONAL THEATRE 'LONG GONE LONESOME' COUNT DOWN (01-Oct)
The National Theatre's production on the life of Thomas Fraser will open in Orkney on Tuesday 6th October and will tour Scotland throughout the month. Check out You Tube for a special trailer on the show. The press have begun to cover the event with The Herald carrying a 2-page feature in their Arts supplement last Sunday. The Scotsman will cover it this coming weekend. Meanwhile, to coinicde with the show, the BBC TV documentary on Thomas Fraser 'Shetland Lone Star' is being given a nationwide release.
NEW TAPE FIND! (12-Sep)
A reel to reel tape of Thomas Fraser material, long thought to be lost, has surfaced in Lerwick. The tape was given to musician Allan Anderson in the 1970s. Allan's daughter discovered the tape last week. The tape will be sent for immediate restoration. The tape is the first new find in over three years.
Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival line up complete (12-Sep)
The performer line up for the 2009 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival is now finalised. The Festival will be held from Wednesday 11 November through Saturday 14 November 2009. The Festival features three performers who will be making their debut appearances. Firstly, Peter Rowan from the USA is now confirmed as appearing. Peter needs no introduction and will be familiar to many Shetlanders from his appearances in the Islands over 20 years ago. See www.peter-rowan.com. Also from the USA, Nashville to be more specific, is David Tanner and Scott Icenogle. David and Scott are well established musicians on the Nashville scene and are making their first visit to Shetland. Their old-time blend of music is sure to be a hit. From Orkney we welcome the Lone Star Swing Band. The western swing outfit features Duncan McLean, Fiona Drever, Iain Tait, Graham Simpson and Dick Levens. See www.myspace.com/lonestarswing for more information.
Meanwhile, local artistes Robbie Cumming, Arthur Pottinger, Alan Tulloch, Laeverick, Eddie Williamson, May and Mackie and Martin Pottinger complete the line up. As reported earlier, the evening of Wednesday 11th November will be devoted to the Shetland premiere of the National Theatre stage production on the life of Thomas Fraser.
Tickets for the Festival will go on sale in early October. Tickets for the stage production of 'Shetland Lone Star' will be sold via the Shetland Box office. We will inform you of the dates as soon as they are confirmed.
Twitter page (05-Aug)
We have set up a Twitter page for regular Thomas Fraser Music information updates. The page can be found at www.twitter.com/thomasfraserfan.
National Theatre - 'Long Gone Lonesome' (20-Jul)
The dates for the eagerly anticipated National Theatre production of 'Long Gone Lonesome', the Thomas Fraser story, have been announced:
Tue 6 October, Cromarty Hall, Orkney; Wed 7 Oct, Clashmore Hall, Dornoch; Thu 8 Oct, Mill Theatre, Thurso; Fri 9 Oct, Lochinver Village Hall; Sat 10 Oct, Applecross Village Hall; Tue 13 Oct, Tarbert Village Hall; Wed 14 Oct, Craignish Village Hall; Thu 15 Oct, The Tolbooth, Stirling; Fri 16 Oct, Birnam Institute; Sat 17 oct, Boat of Garthen Community Hall; Tue 20 Oct, Dalrymple, Fraserburgh; Wed 21 Oct, Lemon Tree, Aberdeen; Thu 22 Oct, The Warehouse, Lossiemouth; Fri 23 Oct, Dingwall Town Hall; Sat 24 Oct, Ullapool Village Hall.
The final show will be staged as part of the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival on Wednesday 11 November at Hamnavoe Public Hall in Thomas's native Burra Isle. For more details on the shows please visit the National Theatre Scotland homepage where ticket details will be posted.
Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival 2009 line-up (20-Jul)
We will have news very soon on the list of performers scheduled for the 2009 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival which runs from Wed 11 to Sat 14 November.
National Theatre - 'Long Gone Lonesome' (09-May)
Details are emerging on a major theatrical production on the life of Thomas Fraser. The National Theatre of Scotland will tour the country through October and November 2009 with 'Long Gone Lonesome'. The production will be a musical story of Thomas's life and will be directed by John Tiffany and Vicky Featherstone. The music will be performed by Duncan McLean's 'Lone Star Swing Band'. Duncan McLean, the renown Orkney music historian and writer (not to mention contributor the the TV documentary on Thomas Fraser), wrote the play over the course of the past year in his home island of Orkney. The production is expected to premiere in Orkney in October and in line with the National Theatre's outreach policy, will tour village halls from Aberdeen to Thurso. McLean said to 'Orkney Today': "Thomas Fraser was one of Scotland's musical heroes and we will try to bring to life his performances for an audience he never had. it is not an imitation of his music but our interpretation of the spirit of the music". A Shetland performance is of the play is being discussed at present. As soon as more details on dates are finalised, we will let you know.
'Meeting Jimmie Rodgers' (09-May)
Barry Mazor's new book on the life and legacy of Jimmie Rodgers is now completed and will go on sale in July 2009. Portions of the book can be viewed by clicking here. The book is the first major work on Rodgers since Nolan Porterfield's 'Jimmie Rodgers' in 1978. Thomas Fraser is referenced several times in the new book.
Shetland Lone Star DVD (21-Apr)
The DVD release of the BBC TV documentary on Thomas Fraser is now available! The DVD contains the 30 minute TV documentary, 90 minutes of highlights from the 2008 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival, additional interviews, backstage footage, previously unseen archive footage of Shetland in the 1950s and 1960s and unreleased tracks featuring Thomas singing with his daughter May. The DVD has been produced by Hopscotch Films in conjunction with the BBC. The RRP is £15. The DVD is available in Shetland and by mail order from this site. News on a nationwide release is expected soon.
Back in stock (14-Feb)
After a sell out of CDs over the Xmas period and the closure of Pinnacle Entertainment, one of the UKs main distribution companies, all Thomas Fraser CD releases are now back in stock and full circulation.
Shetland Lone Star (20-Dec)
Last night's documentary on Thomas Fraser can be seen on BBC's i-Player; please click here to watch again. Meanwhile Friday's 'Daily Mail' ran a 2 page article on Thomas Fraser. The 'Daily Express' also covered the programme as did the "Press & Journal' and 'Daily Record'.
Radio Cafe (11-Dec)
Thomas's grandson Karl Simpson will be interviewed on the BBC Scotland 'Radio Cafe' programme on Wednesday 17th December between 1 to 2pm. The programme is featuring the new Thomas Fraser documentary 'Shetland Lone Star'.
Scotland on Sunday to preview 'Shetland Lone Star' (11-Dec)
The Scotland on Sunday newspaper will on Sunday 14th December preview the upcoming Thomas Fraser documentary 'Shetland Lone Star'. The programme is the 'pick of the week' among next week's TV programmes.
'Shetland Lone Star' DVD (11-Dec)
The new documentary on Thomas Fraser is set to get a DVD release in 2009. The DVD is expected to include extended interviews as well as a 70-minute programme of the 2008 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. More news as we get it.
Sunday Times feature on Thomas (08-Dec)
The Sunday Times ran a story on Thomas Fraser and the upcoming BBC TV documentary in their Sunday 7th edition. View the article here. Meanwhile last week'e edition of the 'Orkney Today' newspaper featured a review by acclaimed writer Duncan McLean on the new CD 'That Far Away Land'.
Thomas Fraser Documentary 'Shetland Lone Star' on BBC TV! (04-Dec)
BBC Scotland will air a newly completed documentary on Thomas Fraser on the 19th December at 10pm. The documentary will be shown on BBC 2 Scotland. The half hour programme was shot on location in Shetland by Hopscotch Films and, given the quality of the previews, promises to be a real treat. Shetlanders have the added bonus of being able to see the premiere of the film, entitled 'Shetland Lone Star' in the Shetland Museum auditorium on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th December. There are plans for an extended version of the documentary to be released on DVD along with footage of the 2008 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. See the Shetland News link for more info.
Plans for National Theatre production on life of Thomas Fraser (04-Dec)
News has just broken of a major new project which is to be undetaken by acclaimed writer Duncan McLean. Duncan is in the early stages of writing a theatre treatment on the life of Thomas Fraser. The production will tour the National Theatre for Scotland, possibly in 2010. More news as we get it.
'That Far Away Land' success (04-Dec)
The release of the 4th Thomas Fraser CD 'That Far Away Land' took place on the 6th of November at the 7th annual Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. The CD has been lauded as the best so far in the series of posthumous releases. The CD is on sale nationwide. We wil update the discography and order pages with the new information soon. Check out CD Baby for soundclips!
Apologies for the delay in update! (04-Dec)
Due to an office relocation and internet connection problem we have been unable to update the website. Please accept our apologies; we will be attempting to get you up to speed on all the latest developments in the next few days. There has certainly been plenty since our last update - the eagerly anticipated BBC documentary, the release in November of the 4th Thomas Fraser CD 'That Far Away Land' and news of a national theatre production of Thomas Fraser's life.
Festival tickets on sale Friday 3rd October (26-Sep)
Tickets for the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival will go on general sale on Friday 3rd October. The venues for ticket sales will be the Hamnavoe Shop, Scalloway Meat Company and Da Peerie Shop in Lerwick.
The line up for the Festival is complete. Special guests Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan are making the long trip from the USA while the Moonshiners return from Glasgow. Surprise guest is Roberto Cassani who travels with the Moonshiners. Exiled Shetlanders Eddie Williamson will travel north with his son Edwin while Arthur Pottinger returns from Orkney. Local representation is in the form of Laeverick, Freda & Friends, Robbie Cumming, the Alan Tulloch Band, The Pottinger Bros, Gemma Donald, May Mackie & Rhonda and The Wisharts.
Fourth Thomas Fraser CD tracks finalised! (23-Aug)
The selection of tracks for the forthcoming Thomas Fraser CD to be released in November 2008 have been finalised. The fourth volume will once again contain 25 tracks, many of which were only recently unearthed. The track listing is as follows:- 1) With This Ring, 2) My China Doll, 3) Mother the Queen of My Heart, 4) Jimmie's Mean Mama Blues, 5) That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine, 6) Irish Hornpipe/Da Burra Man's War Dance, 7) Mexicali Rose, 8) Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, 9) Rattlesnakin' Daddy, 10) All for the Love of a Girl, 11) Gamblin Polka Dot Blues, 12) I Want You to Know I Love You, 13) Traditional Reel, 14) The Hobo's Meditation, 15) Someday You'll Call My Name, 16) Winchester Cathedral, 17) Now and Then (A Fool Such as I), 18) I Get the Blues When it Rains, 19) Bucket's Got a Hole in It, 20) Daydream, 21) Traditional Reel, 22) There's no Room in My Heart (For the Blues), 23) With Tears in My Eyes, 24) This Song is Just For You, 25) That Beautiful Land. The title of the new CD will be 'That Far Away Land'.
More Festival news (31-May)
Just confirmed as appearing are
The Moonshiners, who return for their third appearance and the newly re-branded Laeverick. Laeverick combine the vocal talents of Burra women Jenny Keldie (nee Napier), Mhari Pottinger and Thomas's Granddaughter Rhonda Simpson.
Festival line-up takes shape (23-Feb)
The first acts to be confirmed for the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival are Amercian duo Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan and Glasgow bluegrass outfit, the Moonshiners. It will be Tom and Kenny's first appearance at the Festival although they have been in Shetland before, for the Folk Festival. The ever-popular Moonshiners make their third appearance at the Festival. More acts will be confirmed through the Spring. This year's Festival will run from 6th November through 9th November.
30th Anniversary (06-Jan)
Sunday 6th January 2008 marks the 30th anniversary of Thomas Fraser's death, at his home in Setter, Burra Isle.
Merry X'mas (22-Dec)
We would like to wish all fans a very merry X'mas and a prosperous, happy new year. In 2008 we hope to complete and release the fourth Thomas Fraser posthumous release, provisionally entitled 'For the Sake of Days Gone By'. At present 25 tracks are being graded and selected for inclusion on the album.
Photograph feature (22-Dec)
The latest edition of the Shetland magazine 'i i Shetland' (issue 13) features a 4 page section of photographs taken by Ivan Hawick at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival.
Festival success (17-Nov)
The latest Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival has been a resounding success. We would like to extend a massive 'thank you' to all those who took part and attended over the course of the weekend. It has been another truly magical experience. For an overview of the Festival, please click the Shetland Times link. Until next year!
Concert build-up (05-Nov)
Final arrangements are now in place for the sixth annual Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. Amercian artist John Lilly arrives by plane on Wednesday 7th November just in time to perform a solo gig at the Voe Pierhead. The gig and his performances at the Festival will see him promote his new album 'Haunted Honky Tonk'. John was featured on Archie Fisher's BBC Travelling Folk Show on Thursday 1st November. The Thomas Fraser Festival was discussed in detail and Thomas's version of 'Blue Yodel No5' was aired.
Meantime, the first night of the Festival on Thursday 8th will see local Burra country singer Arthur Pottinger release his new archive CD collection 'The Setter Sessions 1962'. The CD is an 18 track compilation of songs performed by Arthur and recorded by Thomas Fraser at home in Setter. The tracks were discovered during the process of restoring the Thomas Fraser material. The CD is available to buy locally in Shetland but can also be ordered by mail, see the orders page for details.
Concert tickets go on sale (14-Oct)
Tickets for the 2007 Thomas Fraser memorial Festival were held up in the aftermath of the UK postal strike but they went on sale on Friday 12th October regardless. Tickets for Friday and Saturday sold out almost immediately. At time of writing, there is still good availability for the Thursday evening.
Michael Marra 'Quintet' (18-Sept)
Michael Marra has just released a 5 track EP CD entitled 'Quintet'. The CD features five special tracks about five musicians, played and sung by five musicians and recorded in five days! The tracks concern musical figures which have inspired Michael through the years. Track 3 sees the long awaited official release of 'Thomas Fraser', Michael's specially composed tribute. Also featured is 'Schenectedy Calling Peerie Willie Johnson'.
2007 Concert line-up announced (06-Sept)
The line-up for the 2007 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival has been announced. John Lilly is making a welcome return from West Virginia. Renown Shetland group The Wisharts are new to the Concerts as is popular Shetland singer Freda Leask who will join Thomas's granddaughter Rhonda. Fiddler Gemma Donald will get her own slot for the first time. John William Ward, Martin Pottinger and the Jenny, Mhari Rhonda Trio are back for their second appearance. Regulars Eddie Williamson, Arthur Pottinger, Robbie Cumming, Allan Tulloch and The Pottinger Bros are welcomed once more while Thomas's daughter May completes the bill. Tickets are expected to go on sale in mid October.
Concert extras (06-Sept)
Jonh Lilly has just confirmed an extra concert date at the Voe Pierhead on Wednesday 7th November, the night before the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival kicks-off. Meantime, plans are afoot to hold a gospel matinee performance on Sunday 11th November. More news as we have it.
Peerie Willie Johnson (23-May)
We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Shetland guitarist 'Peerie' Willie Johnson. Willie died on the 22nd of May aged 86. Thomas and Willie were pals and could often be seen in and around Lerwick in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Please click this link for a full obituary.
Thoms Fraser Commemorative Guitar on display (03-May)
Arthur Pottinger CD (27-Apr)
The Thomas Fraser Commemorative Guitar built by Moon Guitars in Glasgow is on display at the Islesburgh Centre in Lerwick for one week. The guitar is showcased as part of the Shetland Folk Festival.
In his youth, Burra musician Arthur Pottinger was a regular visitor to Thomas Fraser's house at Setter. Arthur made a batch of recordings at the house and now, 40 years later, they are being released on a special 18 track CD due out in November 2007. The CD will be available from this site. See the full article in Shetland Times for more details.
John Lilly's Thomas Fraser Podcast (16-Feb)
Acclaimed West Virginian artist John Lilly can be heard in an exclusive podcast in which he tells the story of Thomas Fraser. The Podcast can be heard here. We are delighted to announce that John will be returning to Shetland for the 2007 Thomas Fraser Festival!
Maverick Feature (21-Jan)
Maverick Magazine features as review by Rob Ellen on the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. The review is in the February issue of the mag out now.
Festival interviews (13-Jan)
Medicine Music have posted a collection of interviews and soundclips covering the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival last November. The links to these can be found here. The clips include interviews with John Lily and Thomas Fraser's daughter May.
John Lilly 'a Transatlantic wonder' article (16-Dec)
John Lilly has written a wonderful article on Thomas Fraser and his recent experience in Shetland performing at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival. Click here on the Middle Atlantic Folklife Association pages to view.
Thomas Fraser goes digital (21-Nov)
The Thomas Fraser Recordings are now available via digital distribution. The albums 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues', 'You & My Old Guitar' and 'Treasure Untold' can be purchased as downloads from most popular sites such as itunes.
Festival Thoughts (21-Nov)
The Shetland Times carried a 2-page review of the 5th Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival in their Friday 17 November issue. In addition, Rob Ellen of Medicine Music posted a review of the festival on the crooked rain website. Click the link to view.
Review of new Thomas Fraser Commemorative Guitar (15-Nov)
Highly respected Shetland guitarist Brian Nicholson has reviewed the new Thomas Fraser Commemorative Guitar. To view Brian's thoughts click on a special section in the new Shetlandmusic.com website. Brian's review is also due to appear in the Shetland Times on Friday 17th November.
Memorial Festival hailed as huge success (14-Nov)
The 5th Thomas Fraser festival helf over 9-12th November has beenhailed as a huge success. The general conclusion is that this year's show has been the best so far with stunning performances from local and international acts alike. West Virginia's John Lilly was a great hit with the audience while local debutants the Jenny, Mhari & Rhonda trio went down a storm. A 55 minute programme of highlights from the Saturday night concert was aired on BBC Radio Shetland on Monday 13th November. The Shetland Times plans to cover the Festival in detail in the Friday 17th Issue.
New Shetland Music Website (05-Nov)
Shetland Arts are launching a brand new website for Shetland Music. The new-look site www.shetland-music.com was launched on Thursday 2nd November 2006. As well as a section on Thomas Fraser, there will be a section for Thomas' daughter May who sings in the May & Mackie duo. Click here for the Thomas Fraser feature and here for the feature on Thomas's daughter May. There is also a section dedicated to the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival - click here to view.
Press clippings (05-Nov)
As anticpation mounts in the lead up to the Memorial Festival, there has been quite a lot of Thomas Fraser press in the media of late. The Shetland Times 'Views from the Scord' column by Catherine Emslie contains a feature on the new Thomas Fraser Commemorative Guitar. BBC Radio's 'Global Gathering' programme featured Thomas's unique rendition of 'Wedding Bells' last week.
Guitar exhibition (31-Oct)
The new Thomas Fraser Commemorative guitar is on display at a unique exhibition of guitars being held at the Bonhoga Gallery in Weisdale, Shetland. A guitar inspired by Thomas's daughter May is also on display. The exhibition, the brainchild of David Smith, runs until 26-November.
Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival tickets (31-Oct)
Tickets for the annual Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival went on sale on Friday 20th November. Both Saturday 11th November and Friday 10th are now sold out. There is still limited availability for Thursday 9th. Tickets are available only from Hamnavoe, Scalloway Main Street and 'Da Peerie Shop' in Lerwick. The full line up of artistes is as follows: Rick McWilliams, John Lilly, The Moonshiners, Eddie Williamson, Arthur Pottinger, May Mackie & Rhonda, Robbie Cumming, Alan Tulloch Band, The Pottinger Brothers, Jenny Mhari & Rhonda, Duncan & Angus Cumming, John William Ward, Martin Pottinger, Erin Sandison and Ian Stewart. The weekend's entertainment will be closed by a special exhibition of Thomas Fraser memorabilia on the Sunday afternoon. The new Thomas Fraser Commemorative guitar will also be on display.
Musical Tradition (01-Sept)
Ray Templeton writes a superbly crafted review of all three Thomas Fraser releases in the latest edition of the online music magazine Musical Tradition. The review offers fresh insight into Thomas Fraser's recorded legacy. The review can be found online at http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/fraser.htm
Commemorative Guitar in honour of Thomas Fraser (08-July)
A special commemorative guitar is being built in honour of Thomas Fraser. The guitar will be a replica of the Levin Goliath model purchased by Thomas in 1961. The instrument is being built by Moon Guitars in Glasgow and will be unveiled in November at the Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts. Thomas will become the first Shetlander to have a 'signature' guitar produced in his name. The guitar is being bult with full co-operation from Thomas's family. The story was featured last week in the Shetland Times - click here to read the article. Stay tuned for further updates on the guitar and see exclusive pictures in the images gallery.
Observer Music Monthly - The Tale of Thomas Fraser (18-Jun)
Peter Culshaw reports from Shetland on the 'Tale of Thomas Fraser' in today's Observer Music Monthly magazine. See the article online at http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0,,1795962,00.html
Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts 2006 (03-Jun)
The line up for the annual Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts is taking shape. The concerts are being held this year on the 9th, 10th and 11th of November at Burra Isle. Already booked is Jimmie Rodger's relative and nephew of Elsie McWilliams, Mr Rick McWilliams, from Meridian, Mississippi. Rick makes his second journey across the pond, having featured last at the 2004 concerts. Also from the USA - Charleston, West Virginia to be precise - is John Lilly, a multi-talented acoustic music performer specializing in Americana, roots country, and traditional folk music. His creative original songs recall the sounds of earlier generations, while his innovative treatment of early country and traditional music is timeless. According to one reviewer, "If Hank Williams had a sunny disposition, he'd be John Lilly." Also due to appear is Burra exile John William Ward, who makes his first appearance at the concerts. Crack Glasgow bluegrass outfit the Moonshiners are scheduled to play their second consecutive Thomas Fraser concert while Arthur Pottinger and Eddie Williamson complete the list of performers flying into Shetland in November. The line-up will be enhanced further with local Shetland musicians including Robbie Cumming, The Pottinger Brothers, May & Mackie, Alan Tulloch and Thomas's grandaughter Rhonda who will perform with friends. Stay tuned for more details on the line-up and some surprises to be announced soon!
Folk Roots (11-Apr)
The April issue of Folkroots magazine carries a review of 'Treasure Untold'. "Absolutely superb" is their verdict!
Country Music People review (24-Feb)
The March issue of Country Music People features a review of Thomas Fraser's Treasure Untold'. Reviewer Al Moir gives the disc 4 stars.
Maverick Magazine feature! (20-Feb)
The popular UK country music magazine 'Maverick' will feature a lengthy article on the life and music of Thomas Fraser in their March issue. The article is penned by Larry Kelly.
The Cowboy and The Spaceman (29-Jan)
On Friday 10th February, the exhibition 'The Cowboy and the Spaceman' opens in Aberdeen's Peacock Visual Arts Centre. The new film is made by celebrated Orkney artist Colin Kirkpatrick. References to the real and imagined Wild West are found throughout Kirkpatrick's work. His Orkney childhood made him realise "that you were living in what your elders often saw as a parallel frontier to the Wild West". The film explores two very different views of planet earth. Punctuating the film - which contains many stunning shots of Orkney's landscape - area series of vignettes in which a number of islanders are asked to consider their impact on the planet - are they a cowboy or a spaceman? The film contains music from Thomas Fraser. In a curious aside, cowboys and spacemen were two of Thomas's favourite subject matters. Thomas Fraser CDs will also be on sale at the Peacock exhibition which runs from 11th February to 18th March, Tuesday to Saturday, 09:30 to 17:30.
The Sunday Post (23-Jan)
The Scottish Sunday Post featured Thomas Fraser in their Sunday January 22nd issue. The article entitled 'How the world is getting a taste of the Shetland blues' tells the story of Thoma's life and of an unlikely success story of an island fisherman, 28 years after his death.
Another Thomas Fraser Concert??! (15-Jan)
We can confirm that a special one-off Thomas Fraser music night will be held in the Bridge End Hall in Burra Isle on Saturday 4th February 2006. The event is being put together as a special treat for a visiting party from the The Observer. Tickets will be on sale from the Hamnavoe Shop only from 21st January and are priced at £8.00 each. The event will feature Arthur Pottinger, Eddie Williamson, May, Mackie & Rhonda, Alan Tulloch and the Pottinger Brothers.
Living Tradition Review (15-Jan)
'Living Tradition' Magazine reviews the new Thomas Fraser CD 'Treasure Untold' in its January 2006 issue.
Radio Shetland interview (15-Jan)
BBC Radio Shetland will air a special country music programme on Up Helly Aa night - 31st January. Thomas's daughter May and Grandson Karl will be interviewed by Sheila Manson and Jim Pearson for the show which will air four Thomas Fraser tracks.
Thomas programme on BBC Radio Scotland (22-Dec)
BBC Radio Scotland plan to repeat the acclaimed half-hour radio documentary on Thomas Fraser at the New Year. The programme 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues' was first aired in December 2003. The programme will be updated to include the recent release of 'Treasure Untold'. Date to be confirmed soon.
Pete Smith review (06-Dec)
Country music expert Pete Smith comments on the new Thomas Fraser CD in The Advertiser. Pete says that Thomas Fraser deserves to be recognised as Britain's finest country performer and that Thomas is the only performer to truly reclaim Britain's country music heritage. Also out and about, the Daily Mail ran a feature on Thomas Fraser last week entitled "Nashville honour for country & western crofter".
Daily Telegraph (26-Nov)
Helen Brown reports on the Thomas Fraser phenomenon in today's Saturday Telegraph. The feature can be read online here.
Observor Music Monthly (20-Nov)
'Treasure Untold is reviewed in the latest Observor Music Monthly magazine roundup of best new releases (Sunday 20th November, No.27) Reviewer Casper Llewellyn Smith describes it as "played beautifully, and truly otherworldly".
Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts take on Nashville! (19-Nov)
"For one weekend, a small island off the west coast of Shetland gave Nashville a run for its money" - that was the verdict of reviewer David Gardner after witnessing another fantastic set of Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts on Friday and Saturday 11th & 12th November. Read the full review here .
'Treasure Untold' - album of the week (05-Nov)
The new Thomas Fraser CD 'Treasure Untold' is album of the week on Iain Anderson's BBC Radio Scotland show. Iain played a Thomas Fraser track every night from Monday 31st October to Friday 4th November.
Treasure Untold - Radio Faroe feature (02-Nov)
Radio Faroe's Roots & Rhythm radio show hosted by Petur Rouch will feature an exclusive look at the new Thomas Fraser CD 'Treasure Untold' on Saturday 5th November. The programme will be repeated on Wednesday 9th November. Petur will be spinning 'Wedding Bells' and 'Lonesome Road Blues'.
Another amazing tape discovery...
At a recent exhibition to mark the centenrary of the Burra Public Hall, a new Thomas Fraser reel-to-reel tape was discovered on one of the exhibits - an old 'Murphy' tape machine. The tape was recovered and played back before being sent for immediate restoration. The tape has 23 Thomas Fraser songs on - 6 of which are to date unreleased. Three of the songs are the only known Thomas Fraser versions available. The consistency of new tape finds is remarkable and all on the eve of the latest Thomas Fraser release 'Treasure Untold' due out on 11 November 2005.
Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts 2005: latest news!
The new CD 'Treasure Untold' is set to be launched with the biggest tribute to Thomas Fraser so far. A host of musicians are now booked to appear at the concerts on Friday 11 th and Saturday 12 th November. Banjo player Eddie Williamson is confirmed as making his long-awaited return to Shetland along with his son Tom. Jimmy Moon and the Moonshiners are also making their first trip to Shetland since their appearance at the Shetland Folk Festival in 2002
Local favourite Kenny Johnson has formed 'The International Bluegrass Band' especially for the concerts. The band consists of ex-Billy Connolly, Barbara Dickson and Gerry Rafferty banjo player Noal Rocke, Bjork's current slide & dobro player Soren Venema Duch, Denmark-based mandolin maker Victor Smith, Jimmy Moon on bass and Kenny himself on Mandolin. The Scots folk singer Michael Marra is also booked to appear. Michael is a firm Thomas fan - so much so that he wrote his own tribute to Thomas Fraser back in 2004.
The line-up is bolstered by local favourites Robbie Cumming, the Pottinger Brothers and Arthur Pottinger who travels from Orkney. Thomas's daughter May and Grand-daughter Rhonda complete the bill.
Thomas Fraser feature in 'De Gitarist'
Thomas Fraser and his Levin Goliath guitar are featured in the latest July 2005 edition of 'De Gitarist' in Holland.
'Treasure Untold' - 3rd CD release well on the way...
March 19th 2005 and the third Thomas Fraser CD is nearing completion. The family are at present putting the finishing touches to the track listing. Producer Karl Simpson is looking forward to the release: "we are having a tough time choosing the tracks so that is an excellent sign of the quality to expect from this release. A number of exciting tape discoveries have provided us with a wealth of additional material to include so I am really looking forward to November - we now have a tight schedule to maintain so in the next few weeks I will be finishing the sleeve notes and preparing more rare photographs for the booklet."
The working title for the next Thomas Fraser release is 'Treasure Untold'. The disc will be another bumper 25 tracks and the release date is scheduled for 11th November 2005. The launch of the first disc in 2 years will be celebrated with the now annual Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts.
Thomas Fraser was featured on Laura Cantrell's radio show in January. Thomas's cut of 'Brakeman's Blues' was aired as part of a programme looking at Jimmie Rodgers cover versions. http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/13362
Happy New Year!
2005 promises to be another very exciting year for Thomas Fraser. There will be news on the next CD release very soon. The master tapes are being processed at the moment and a final decison will be taken on the tracklisting early in the new year. The third Thomas Fraser CD release was given a great boost in November when friend Robbie Cumming found a small suitcase of reel to reels on his loft. Around 3 of these reels had previously unreleased and unheard Thomas Fraser material on them!
Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts - better every year!
Look out for a special feature in this Friday's Shetland Times on the Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts held on 12th and 13th November. Both nights were packed to capacity and the audience heard some great acts from all over Shetland and beyond. Topping the bill was the much anticpated appearance of Rick McWilliams from Meridian, Mississippi. Rick, the grandson of Elsie McWilliams and Grand nephew of Jimmie Rodgers did not dissapoint. Stunning renditions of 'California Blues', 'T For Texas' as well as tracks from his recent album 'Cold Winter Rain' went down a treat and ensured the audience was sent home happy for the third year in a row. As well as Rick, standout performances were gleaned from Thomas Fraser's Grandaughter Rhonda Rawlinson and Shetland country singer Robbie Cumming. The Thomas Fraser Tribute Concerts are now an annual event and becoming bigger and better every year. Some very special acts are being lined up for 2005 when there will be a new CD release to celebrate. Indeed, the third Thomas Fraser CD is in the planning stages as we speak!
New Thomas Fraser profile
Checkout the link below for a great profile of Thomas Fraser:
Nashville Radio special
BBC Radio Shetland aired a special 50 minute documentary on the recent trip by Thomas Fraser's family to Nashville to promote his music. The documentary can be heard online by cliscking on the link and choosing Thursday's programme. http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/radioscotland/view/show.shtml?news
The October 2004 issue of the 'Shetland Life' magazine features Karl Simpson's diary of his visit to Nashville to tell the story of his Grandfather's musical legacy. Three pages are devoted to how the Thomas Fraser story was received. The magazine is out now.
Thomas Fraser Tribute Concert - Jimmie Rodgers relative to appear!!
Rick McWilliams, the Grandson of Elsie McWilliams, will perform at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Concert in November 2004! Rick hails from Meridian, Mississippi and has released two CDs 'Cold Winter Rain' and 'Rick McWilliams'. Jimmie Rodgers' fans will know his Grandmother well. She was Jimmie Rodgers Sister in Law and the main songwriting talent behind The Singing Brakeman's biggest hits. The McWilliams-Rodgers songwriting partnership has gone down as one of the most important in American musical history and Elsie is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville. Tickets for this unique show are expected to sellout earlier than usual - details of how to buy will be announced soon...
Thomas Fraser creates a stir in Nashville
The Thomas Fraser story created genuine interest at the recent International Country Music Conference in Nashville last month. Thomas's Grandson Karl took many questions from the delegation which was full of Country music writers and fans alike. The trip created widespread media interest in the UK with 'The Sunday Times', 'The Sunday Herald', 'The Times', 'The Press & Journal' and 'The Daily Record' all covering the trip and Thomas Fraser's unique story in detail.
International Country Music Conference - Nashville, May 2004
Thomas Fraser's Grandson Karl Simpson presented a Paper on 'The Legend of Thomas Fraser' to the annual International Country Music Conference in Nashville. The Conference is attended by worldwide authorities on country music. Karl also answered questions at the Country Music Hall of Fame while a visit to the descendents of the late, great Jimmie Rodgers and Elsie McWilliams took place afterward.
Thomas Fraser CDs available at Red Lick
This from Red Lick Records in England: "Two absolutely brilliant CDs! Recorded from 1953 to 1977 by a crofter/fisherman from the Shetland Islands, these are stellar performances of old time music in the style of Jimmie Rodgers, The Delmore Brothers, Hank Williams etc. Just one man and his guitar having a whoopiní good time wailing out the good old songs into his reel to reel tape recorder for no better reason than he loved the music and loved to play it! After his death, aged 50, in 1978, the tapes of his stunning legacy lay undisturbed for years until his grandson found them and decided they should be heard. Damn right! These great CDs contain music filled with all the power and passion of the originals . A truly fabulous release that will leave traditional country music fans in ecstasy!"
Thomas Fraser - 'You and My Old Guitar' reviewed in Independent on Sunday Magazine
Thomas Fraser's 'You and My Old Guitar' is reviewed in the latest Independent on Sunday Magazine (18 April 2004). Reviewer Nick Coleman gives it 4 stars and says: "You don't have to swallow the anti-hype or submit to the blandishments of your sentimental old heart to hear what's good about this Shetland fisherman's home recordings of the classics of hillbilly America - I feel a cult coming on".
'You and My Old Guitar' - review in '3rd Coast Music'
Thomas Fraser's 'You and My Old Guitar' is reviewed by Stateside DJ John Conquest in the March issue of the Texan '3rd Coast Music' magazine. John says: "
Regular readers need no more than the assurance that this second instalment is every bit as wonderful as 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues'.
Fraser is one of the great, almost unbelievable, discoveries of the 21st century.
The combination of Fraser's abilities and the absolute purity of his art makes his music magical".
Folk Roots Magazine Review
Thomas Fraser's 'You and My Old Guitar' is reviewed in the April edition of 'FolkRoots' magazine. Reviewer Maggie Holland says: "his singing is superb and his performances have utter authenticity. The lo-fi effect of the music somehow only adds to the atmospheric quality".
Fans from The Netherlands! - Thomas Fraser's 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues' is reviewed at the Dutch website alt-country run by Bart Ebisch.
Thomas Fraser fan Mike Harding
'T for Texas', the opening track of Thomas Fraser's 'You and My Old Guitar' CD, was aired by Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2 in February. Mike said it was "a fantastic album". He added that Thomas Fraser's 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues' was one of his most favourite albums of 2003. Click here for the Radio 2 Review of 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues'.
Shetland's early Jimi Hendrix!
The Beeb's Mel McClellan reviews 'You and My Old Guitar' and compares Thomas Fraser to an "early Shetland Hendrix'! Find out why by clicking into the BBC Folk & Acoustic site