Timeline

1927

Thomas Fraser born in Utterabrake, Burra Isle, Shetland.

1935

Thomas begins to learn the fiddle.

1939

Thomas begins to learn the guitar.

1945

Thomas becomes obsessed with music – he sources it from records brought back to Shetland from Merchant Seamen and via the American Forces Network Europe, broadcasting from Germany.

1953

Electricity comes to Burra Isle. Thomas immediately invests in a Grundig reel-to-reel tape machine. His recorder was reputedly the third to arrive in Shetland. He sets to work taping his own renditions of his favourite country songs.

1956

Thomas upgrades his reel-to-reel machine to a TK35 Grundig.

1961

Thomas purchases a new Levin Goliath guitar.

1973

Thomas is almost drowned following the sinking of his lobster boat.

1977

Thomas has a serious accident at sea. He is struck in the head and flown south to Aberdeen hospital.

1978

Thomas Fraser dies in January, aged 50.

1983

Local release on cassette of Thomas Fraser music – ‘Memories of Yesterday’.

1985

Thomas’s wife Phyllis dies.

1999

Thomas’s Grandson Karl hears Thomas’s version of TB Blues. Karl decides he must archive the recordings and save them for the family.

2001

Work begins in earnest to document the Thomas Fraser archive. Astonished by the quality and depth of the material,¬†Karl decides that a more formal CD release of Thomas’s music is necessary.

2002

The first Thomas Fraser CD release ‘ Long Gone Lonesome Blues’ is launched at a special concert in November.

2003

Second CD release follows in November, ‘You and My Old Guitar’.

2004

The family are invited to Nashville to present the life and music of Thomas Fraser at the International Country Music Conference. Thomas’s daughter and close friends perform at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Thomas Fraser Festival becomes an annual event, held in November.

2005

Third CD release ‘Treasure Untold’.

2008

Fourth Thomas Fraser CD release, ‘That Far Away Land’.

The BBC airs a special Thomas Fraser documentary on TV – ‘Shetland Lone Star’. The programme is also released on DVD the following year.

2009

Fifth Thomas Fraser CD release, ‘Just Call Me Lonesome’.

The National Theatre Scotland produces a play based on Thomas’s life. Directed by Vicky Featherstone, ‘Long Gone Lonesome’ tours the UK and Ireland.

2010

Moon Guitars make a special ‘Thomas Fraser Model’ guitar built to the exact specifications of his Levin Goliath.

2012

Sixth Thomas Fraser CD release (a double album), ‘For The Sake of Days Gone By’. 175 tracks are now released.

The National Theatre of Scotland’s ‘Long Gone Lonesome’ production tours the USA.

2018

On the 40th anniversary of Thomas Fraser’s death, ‘Long Gone Lonesome Blues’ album is re-mastered for vinyl and released for Record Store Day.

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