Friday, 12 August 2022

Great reviews for Jimi's new album



Jimi's new album 'Hills Where I Began' has been warmly received by UK media.

Latest articles and reviews can be read in full at this site's 'Reviews' section or by clicking the links below. 

Friday, 5 August 2022

Jimi's latest album to soundtrack new TV drama series?

Songs from Jimi's latest album have been setting the mood for a new TV drama series about the Border Reivers and their legacy.

'Hills Where I Began' is the first of two releases planned by Jimi this year inspired by the Scottish Borders where he grew up.

Featuring original songs and also reinterpretations of traditional Border ballads, at first listen Jimi's latest offering marks quite a departure from previous instrumental releases.

Pipes still feature in the mix, however, they are not the centre piece of the music anymore. Like the Border ballads Jimi's new songs are driven by lyrics.

The proposed new TV drama series has been conceived and co-written by acclaimed Scottish director Justin Molotnikov whose recent CV includes 'Outlander', 'Poldark', 'Dr Who' and 'Merlin'.

Jimi and Justin first met at primary school in Galashiels, Glendinning Terrace primary school in the town's old 'Fifth ward'.

Justin moved to Kelso in his early teens, however, their paths crossed again in Edinburgh in the 1990's when Justin was starting out on his career as a director and Jimi was making his mark with the pipes.

Later on, and both now parents, they discovered they were living within half a mile of each other near Loanhead, Midlothian. The bonds of friendship were renewed.

"We'd meet up occasionally for a wander in the Pentland and Border hills when time allowed" said Jimi. "Justin was always interested in what I was up to musically and I enjoyed hearing about his latest filming exploits. Nice to have a connection like that with someone you went to primary school with".

One day Justin asked Jimi if he could recommend any music about the Border Reivers. "He said he was gathering ideas for a script and was interested in music he could listen to which might help set the tone" said Jimi.

"I recommended a few artists, some contemporary, some from further back like the Corries. Next time we met up he said he'd listened to them but was unimpressed. None of my suggestions cut it for him. 'Why don't you have a go' he said."

So Jimi went to work in his DIY home recording studio producing a couple of demos which Justin loved.

"Straight away I decided to go for a rocky vibe, a wee bit bad-ass with a swagger perhaps" said Jimi. "The Reivers certainly had a swagger to them according to contemporary acccounts and they were hardened and very tough, what some folk might describe nowadays as bad-assed!"

Jimi called upon another old friend, Edinburgh and Fife guitar maestro Neil Warden, to add his talents to the creative process and the music really began to flow. 

To date Neil and Jimi have written and arranged 14 songs together, with more music on the way. Six of the tracks feature on 'Hills Where I Began'. A second release is planned, hopefully before Christmas.

 "Neil has been making a lot of great music with slide guitar in recent years" added Jimi. "I had a hunch his sound would really lend itself to the project, hopefully adding to the 'Wild West' vibe. 

"Arguably the Reivers were the original cowboys. Indeed a number their descendants went on to become notorious cowboys and outlaws in America. Some even became Presidents!"

For professional recording, Jimi enlisted fellow Gala man, drummer/percussionist and 'Soundstation' studio owner David Little - known as 'Dottle' to many - to help with the project.
"I'd already recorded three albums with Dottle in Gala and always enjoyed working with him" said Jimi. "He is very experienced in the studio and I think he did a grand job coaxing decent performances out of me."

All songs were recorded, mixed and arranged at Soundstation studios in Galashiels. Final mastering took place at Precise Mastering, Hawick.

 'Hills Where I Began' is available to stream and download at Spotify, Itunes, Amazon and other online music stores. Search for Jimi McRae and 'Hills Where I Began'.

Alternatively it can be listened to and downloaded at Jimi's 'Bandcamp' page:

A limited number of old style 'cd' copies have also been pressed. These are available directly from Jimi and via his website

Justin is currently in Ireland filming a new TV suspense drama. A final draft script of 'Reivers' season one, will be submitted to sponsors/financial backers for approval before the end of the year.

"We've all really enjoyed working on this project and there's still a lot more music to come" said Jimi. "Perhaps a potential backer will love the music as much as Justin does, perhaps not. I do realise there is a pecking order to this type of thing, particularly in Scotland, however, we've all had a great time and hopefully that shines through in the music."

Jimi added: "It's been great going in a new direction, certainly with regards to lyrics. Also, I now have plenty new material to use in music/video projects of my own. Should keep me busy for a wee while!"

Check out for more info.


                                     At Carlisle Castle filming music video for album opening track 'Hughie Graeme'


                                                                Justin Molotnikov on one of our rambles in the Border hills

                                                                                   Neil Warden and his 'Weissenborn' slide guitar

                                                            David Little at work in Soundstation Recording Studio, Galashiels



Tuesday, 2 August 2022

New Music video

Jimi has released a new music video to coincide with the launch of his new album 'Hills Where I Began'.

Song is 'Hughie Graeme', opening track from the album. It tells the tale of an unlucky but defiant Border bandit who was caught by authorities, accused of poaching and taken to Carlisle and hung.

The video was filmed in the Cumbrian capital by Jimi over two days, April 2022.

"It was grand being back in Carlisle again, first time for a few years" said Jimi. "Really enjoyed looking round the castle, museum and city centre. Carlisle is a fascinating place with history around every corner. Friendly people too. I'd recommend a visit to anyone".



Tuesday, 26 July 2022

New Album Release.

 New Album Release on 26/07/2022

Listen to free, download/buy at 

Or purchase directly from this web-site (check out shop page) 

It will also be available to download via Itunes, Spotify, Amazon and all established online music platforms by the end of this week. (July 31)




A new music vid to accompany opening track 'Hughie Graeme' is ready and scheduled for release once all upload links are completed in the next few days.

'Hills Where I Began', a collection of six songs, is part one of a two album project focusing on songs, stories and musical adaptations inspired by the Scottish Borders where Jimi grew up. A third release drawing upon influences and subject matter from further round Scotland and the British and Irish Isles is also planned.
 'Hills Where I Began' features original material and also 21st Century reinterpretations of traditional Border ballads. Jimi decided to go for a rocky/bluesy vibe because that was the music of his youth.
He hopes you enjoy and would like to thank everyone involved especially his wife Carole, co-writer Neil Warden and producer David Little.
Credits -
Jimi McRae: Vocals, pipes, jaw harp, keyboards, piano.
Neil Warden: Electric and acoustic guitars, Weissenborn, Dobro and electric lap steel guitars.
David Little: Drums, percussion, bass programming.
Additional bass Gavin Dickie.
recorded and mixed by David Little at Soundstation Studios, Galashiels. Mastered by Precise Mastering, Hawick.


Friday, 1 July 2022

On Ladhope Brig


Big shout out to everyone in my home town of Galashiels.
It's the week of the Braw lads (and Lassies!) Gathering, the first in three years because of the pandemic.
Events involving the whole community have been taking place all week. These culminate in the 'Gala Day' on Saturday (Juy 2nd) when an elected Braw Lad and Lass mount trusty steeds and lead a cavalcade of riders and horses around the streets, dales and hillsides of this proud, Scottish Borders town.
The Braw Lads Gathering has been held annually since 1930 and is a celebration of the town's history and traditions going way back to medieval times.
My late father Kenny McRae was a braw lad in the 1950's. He was elected to carry the Burgh flag 'worthily' and to return it 'unsullied and untarnished' when his ceremonial duties were fulfilled. 
His 2022 successors Braw Lad James Turnbull and Braw Lass Abbie Hood will be doing the same.
The song shared here, 'On Ladhope Brig' is a poem written by my Dad lamenting the demise of the UK textile industry, once the life blood and main source of employment in Gala, and many other towns besides. It ends on a positive note though, for, as he often told us growing up, 'the future is bright and full of possibilities'. Music is by myself.

'On Ladhope Brig' features on one of two new albums by myself scheduled for release this year. Meantime here's hoping the 2022 Braw Lads Gathering is one of the most successful yet. Safe oot and safe in. Hip hip!

Monday, 7 February 2022

New Facebook 'Music' Page for Jimi.

Jimi has just launched a new Facebook 'music' page.

The aim is to help fans and first-time visitors connect with Jimi and his various projects.

2022 is set to be a very busy year for Jimi with two, possibly even three, new music albums in the pipeline for release.

Here's the link:

''As some will know my original 'artist' page disappeared quite abruptly late last year'' said Jimi.

"Tis a longish story but in essence I was on holiday with Carole in Tenerife and tried to log on, at which point 'Facebook' started behaving strangely before totally weirding out, eventually refusing me access. Apparently they thought I was a hacker or something, up to no good!''

According to Jimi matters went from bad to worse and "after a day or two of shouting down the bottomless well that is FB public relations ('hello, is there a human in there to talk to somewhere?') I just gave up and deactivated the page. 
''However, with a lot happening musically this year and having received some nice messages asking what happened to my 'artist' page, I have decided to reinstate it.
''Unfortunately all my old posts were lost when I closed it down. Not all is lost though as I still have the original pics so will upload a good few of them along with accompanying stories over the next wee while. 
Jimi says the new page is open to everyone on Facebook.
''Please feel free to join me on pictorial journeys across Highland mountain tops, Lowland dells and fells, city streets, gorgeous beaches, Border hills, misty isles and stunning sunsets. The best of Scotland really, with visits to wonderful parts of Wales, England and Ireland too. Oh aye, not forgetting music videos from current projects and some from a year or two back.''
Please feel free to check in anytime for a chat and a look around.


Saturday, 5 February 2022

New song and vid kicks off a busy 2022 for Jimi. At least two new music albums planned for release this year.

Jimi has released another song from his forthcoming new album releases.

Entitled 'Johnnie Armstrong' it tells the tale of the legendary Borders Chieftan who was betrayed by Scottish King James V and lured to his death at Carlenrig Kirk near Teviothead south of Hawick in the Scottish Borders.

The song was co-written by Jimi and guitarist Neil Warden and will feature on Jimi's new album, his first in eight years, to be released this Spring. This will be followed up with a second new album in the second part of 2022, with the possibility of a third release after that.

"To date we have over 15 new songs and we're still composing" said Jimi. "The first album release will be focusing on the Borders, where I grew up with tales of the landscape, people and the Border Reivers who, of course, dominated the area for hundreds of years when Scotland and England were independent states. 

"The second release, planned for early Autumn, will have similar themes but perhaps a broader historic appeal. Pipes will feature on both albums where appropriate."

Keep watching this page for up-to-date news and info as it happens.

Here's Johnnie!

Hope you enjoy.