REVIEWS OF JIMI ALBUMS....
Praise from Australia!
'Bush review' from Newcastle, New South Wales (north of Sydney) - review of 'Hills Where I Began' by Rob Irvine (November 2022)
"Jimi McRae's new cd arrived this morning and we've had it on for several spins. Brilliant. Everyone here loves it.
As I've said before if I were teaching Scottish history I'd start each lecture/seminar with a song taken from one of McRae's albums. If his music failed to spark the majority of students' interest, nothing would.
Great to see McRae back working alongside and composing with guitarist Neil Warden. Every track on this release just highlights Warden's versitility as a guitarist. Also brilliant.
David Little's recording and work on the mixing desk brought out the power of the music too. I understand Little has commenced work on another eight, new McRae/Warden tracks for release next year. Can't Wait!
'Hills Where I Began' is an altogether fine sound and listening experience. I'd love to hear McRae in concert. Maybe one day he'll come to Oz"
Wullie Dowling - top UK theme song and soundtrack composer and arranger - gives his thoughts on 'Hills Where I Began' (October 2022)
"Cracking tracks, really well put together and produced. I was particularly impressed by the opening number 'Hughie Graeme', a very unusual but immensely enjoyable blend of styles from a Scottish rap/poet, a Hendrix type guitar riff and great sounding bagpipes. It left me wanting more. Very cool stuff"
(Over the years Willie Dowling has composed underscores and songs for shows and films starring luminaries such as Steve Coogan (‘Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible’, ‘I’m Not An Animal’), Rob Brydon & Julia Davis (‘Human Remains’), Stephen Fry and Rik Mayall (‘Snow White, The Sequel’), Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer (‘Catterick’), Stephen Spears & Muriel Lipman (‘Caught In The Act’) Lenny Henry, Armstrong & Miller, ‘The Amazing World Of Gumball’, ‘Fireman Sam’, and many, many others.)
John Wilmott 'Celtic Ways' - Review of 'Hills Where I Began' (September 2022)
Another ‘work’ worth posting about is Jimi McRae's new extended EP release. Very different to the Jimi The Piper you
may be familiar with. Jimi has spread out a lot more with his music,
less pipes, more story, and more swagger. This is very Scottish border
tales with super production and editing, and quite intense stories
really. I am thrilled Jimi is back with guitarist Neil Warden, as I find
Neil’s approach to guitar quite unique and imaginative and a perfect match
to Jimi’s music, sounds and ideas. This is apparently the first of three new releases planned by Jimi in the coming months. I must say on this form I am very much looking forward to the next instalment.
SOUTHERN REPORTER, SCOTLAND - Review of 'Hills Where I Began' (August 2022)
Jimi sings of Reivers
Galashiels piper Jimi McRae is perhaps best known for taking his own particular brand of music all over the world, but his latest project has seen him set his focus much closer to home.
He earned himself millions of new fans in 2017 as he played in Beijing for the Chinese New Year, however. his new album is all about where he came from.
His latest album “Hills Where I Began” is the first of two releases planned by Jimi this year, and features original songs and reinterpretations of traditional Borders ballads.
Jimi went to work in his DIY home recording studio, producing a couple of demos which Justin loved.
He told us: “Straight away I decided to go for a rocky vibe, a wee bit bad-ass with a swagger perhaps.
“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 “Dottle” Little to help with the project, while final mastering took place at Precise Mastering, Hawick.
He also worked with Edinburgh guitar maestro Neil Warden, adding his talents to the creative process.
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'.
A limited number of old style 'cd' copies have also been pressed.These are available directly from Jimi and via his website.
A FAMOUS Scottish piper and songwriter has released a brand-new music video filmed in Carlisle.
Jimi McRae, known as Jimi the piper, has released a song called ‘Hughie Graeme’ which is set in medieval Carlisle, so Jimi filmed the music video in Carlisle to give it a ‘contemporary update’.
"I was only in town for a couple of days but could easily have stayed longer," Jimi said. "Carlisle is a fascinating place with history around every corner. Nice, friendly folk too."
The song is a traditional child ballad about a man called Hughie Graeme who is sentenced to hang after stealing the bishop’s horse.
The song is part of the Galashiels piper’s new album ‘Hills Where I Began’ which is the first of two planned releases this year and will feature some of Jimi’s original music alongside reinterpretations of traditional Borders songs.
The music still features pipes, but the new album allows the lyrics to take centre stage having been inspired by Border ballads.
Songs from the new album have also been setting the stage for a new TV show about the Border Reivers and their legacy.
The new programme is the brainchild of Jimi’s childhood friend and acclaimed director Justin Molotnikov, whose recent CV includes 'Outlander', 'Poldark', 'Dr Who' and 'Merlin'.
"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!"
'Hills Where I Began' is available to stream and download at Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and other online music stores and a limited number of CDs have also been pressed and are available through Jimi’s website.
VOLK WELT (folk world) GERMANY Review of 'Last King of Pictland' (January 2015)
Great album!! If you like bagpipes and rock music - a bit dark and mystical - try it. I received my copy last week and have been playing it non stop since. All the songs are brilliant. *thumbs up*
CELTIC WAYS.COM - Review of 'Last King of Pictland' (February 2016) by John Wilmott.
I really enjoyed this album. An immensely enjoyable listening experience. Plenty rocking bagpipe music here, kicking off with 'Na Criochan' and title track 'Last King of Pictland'. There is also some surprisingly absorbing reflection on ancient mythology that allows Jimi to take the bagpipes in barrier breaking directions. Nine outstanding tracks. My favourite changes with every listen.
MUSICSCOTLAND.COM - Review of 'Last King of Pictland' (April 2014)
A sixth studio album by Scottish piper Jimi McRae, with his unique creative flair blending traditional bagpipes with many different genres.
This album comprises six original compositions and three traditional arrangements, Jimi remains respectful of traditions but continues to push the boundaries of the instrument.
The CD featues a variety of styles including heavy metal, progressive rock, traditional Greek, Scottish and Irish and more all combined with a modern edge.
Jimi McRae (aka Jimi The Piper) is based in the Edinburgh area and he started playing bapipes at the tender age of 10. Three decades on Jim continues to bring his music to audiences and has toured Europe, North America and Asia with dynamic live shows. Solo, with a band, or simply 'jammin' with pals, a Jimi performance is never to be missed..
Musicians on this album are: Jimi McRae (highland, lowland, border, arabic and electronic pipes, keyboard, chanting), Rob Wrong (lead guitar), Eric Clark (drums, guitar), Crispin Caunter (didgeridoo), David Little (drums, percussion), Dave Haswell (percussion), Rod Christie (guitar/bass), Simon Hay (bass).
Recorded at studios in Scotland and Portland, Oregon, USA. ENJOY!
CELTIC MUSIC MAGAZINE - Review of 'Global Gathering' (February 20 2012) by Catherine Tulley
'A great collection of tunes. If you're looking to add a truly original cd to your collection, this would qualify in a heartbeat. The arrangements are carefully done to make sure that the sound comes off smoothly. What could be jarring is interesting instead as he explores a range of sounds and styles. McRae has found himself a unique niche and filled it well. I have never heard anything quite like McRae and I doubt I will down the line. Some people just see things differently and it comes out when they play. It's the mark of a true artist, and I can say with conviction that Jimi the Piper fits this category'.
CELTICMP3.COM - Review of 'Scottish Pipes & African Drums' (January 2011)CelticMP3.com
'Get ready for something different! Jimi McRae teams up with Sam Okoo on African Drums for a blended sound that has great depth and a unique flavour. The steady pulsing rhythm of the drums works nicely with the power of the pipes.
McRae brings his usual energy to the CD and is willing to stretch the bounds of traditional arrangements - but without losing the traditional sound and feel of the pipes that so many people love.
He just makes you think about things a little differently. A most enjoyable CD'
BBC RADIO SCOTLAND - Review of 'Scottish Pipes & African Drums' (Februay 2010)
"Uplifting, unpretentious and happy music played with great skill. Feel good music from Scotland"
FROOTS MUSIC MAGAZINE - Review of 'Global Gathering' (March 2010)
"Another engaging CD from the globetrotting bagpiper and legendary busker. Traditional tunes and Jimi's own compositions are performed with rhythmic, cosmopolitan flair on pipes (Highland, Lowland, Arabic and electronic) plus didgeridoo, cittern, keyboards, djembe, udu, bongos, shakers, tambourine and drums.
THE SCOTSMAN NEWSPAPER - Jim Gilchrist on 'Global Gathering' (July 2009)
"A very satisfying listening experience. It features exuberantly Jimi-esque layerings of Highland and small pipes, percussion, drums, electronics and the odd digeridoo. Deserves to be a big success"
ALLCELTICMUSIC.COM - 'Global Gathering' review (Jan 2010)
'Big, lively, stridently stirring pipes and drums that get the blood coursing through the veins. Geared up as a tribute to the Clan MacRae, the music can and will travel much further than that.
Well worth hearing."
INVERNESS COURIER - Review of 'Earthdance' (July 2002)
A piper for the 21st Century, fusing modern influences and ancient instruments better than most of his peers"
THE LIST - Review of 'Earthdance' (September 2002)
"Tartan stereotypes are tossed aside as McRae's skill proves the pipes as powerful, moving and diverse as any instrument"
FROOTS - Review of 'Earthdance' (2002)
'Jimi the piper (on highland, lowland, border, Arabic and electronic pipes) and lotsa friends with string instruments; tripped out bagpipes collide with Pink Floyd at a world music convention. Excellent"
SCOTTISH MAGAZINE CALEDONIA - review of debut 'Pipedreams' (1999)
"You get a great feeling of energy and commitment from his music. McRae plays a combination of traditional and new stuff but it is his own tunes which really are the belters"
GREENMAN MAGAZINE - review of Pipedreams (2000)
"Well crafted adventurous pipe music that blends the traditional and the modern, the exuberant and the haunting. I can highly recommend Jimi's music for fans of the Highland pipes who enjoy creative, playful approaches to the tradition"
EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS - (November, 2004)
'Renowned Edinburgh based piper Jimi McRae has won a coveted music award after coming tops in a nationwide search for new UK composers.
The 38-year-old former busker was one of 45 emerging UK recording artists to be nominated for an Atom award by the Performers' Rights Society Foundation. His prize will be a cheque for two thousand pounds. Stuart Fleming, PRS representative in Scotland, said he nominated Jimi after seeing him perform at T-In-The-Park in 2003. 'The strength of Jimi's original compositions which, in my opinion owe as much to the piping traditions of Turkey, Bulgaria and Morocco as they do Scotland, have won the imagination of almost all who have heard him'. Jimi began writing music after being involved in a serious motorcycle accident more than 10 years ago."
THE STRANGER ENTERTAINMENTS MAG - Seattle USA (Sept 2001)
"Appearing all week at Mulleady's, The Irish Immigrant bar and Pike Street Market is strongly contemporary and dashing Scottish piper Jimi McRae who sites as musical influences, among others, Seattle bands Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains...All hail the grunge King of Scots!"
THE DAILY ASTORA - USA (Sept 2001)
"Topping the bill at the River Theatre last night was Scots piper Jimi McRae. Here promoting his latest recording McRae wasted little time winning over any doubters in the full house with a finely crafted set of exquisite pieces of music, modern backing sounds and down to earth humour. Very entertaining.
THE WHITEHORSE COFFEE REVIEW MAGAZINE USA (2003
" I met Jimi at the Highland Games in Winston, Oregon. He piped effortlessly all day - for the crowds and for the Highland Dancing Competition. It was quite an experience".
ABERDEEN EVENING EXPRESS - (November 2004)
"Jimi takes the High Road - A piper who used to busk on the streets of Aberdeen is supporting Lulu at a massive Hogmanay concert at Stirling Castle.
Jimi McRae, also known as Jimi the Piper, cut a colourful figure on the streets of Aberdeen and other Scottish cities for several years. He made his living busking after being involved in a near fatal motorcycle crash. 'It will be a tremendous honour to play with Lulu" said Jimi. "She is such a big Scottish star".