Teaching Old Dogs new tricks

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There’s a treat in store for lovers of Scottish traditional music in the form of Old Blind Dogs, whose energetic mix of songs is enough to fuel any audience into a frenzy.

Playing the Woodend Barn in Banchory on Friday, February 11 (8.00pm), the band promises an evening of tight, carefully crafted sound with dynamic percussion, polished vocals, soaring fiddle and stirring pipes. Since forming in the early 1990s, allegedly on a busker’s holiday in the Highlands, Old Blind Dogs have stood on the cutting edge of roots revival and are hailed as one of Scotland’s most highly regarded traditional folk bands. However, unlike bands who are content to rely on tried and tested formulas, the Dogs are happy to embrace change. A strong, shared musical vision has allowed the group to ride out inevitable line-up changes to the extent that the only original member still with the band is Jonny Hardie (fiddle, guitar and vocals).

The Dogs’ popularity has never dimmed though, and the current foursome of Hardie, Aaron Jones (bouzouki, guitar, vocals), Ali Hutton (Border pipes, whistles, vocals) and Fraser Stone (drums, percussion) are still picking up awards worldwide for their innovative take on the traditional. Such is their collective skill that they are all in demand as guest musicians with the likes of The Treacherous Orchestra, Youssou N’Dour and The Chieftans. Their latest album, Wherever Yet May Be expands upon the very traditions that they celebrate, harnesses the resonance of roots music and welds them to new rhythmic frameworks, producing a unique sound that reflects their rich musical heritage, yet comes across as resoundingly fresh and immediate. They are living proof that you can teach an Old Dog new tricks after all. Old Blind Dogs at Woodend Barn, Banchory, Friday 11 February at 8pm, tickets from the box office on 01330 825431 or online from www.woodendbarn.co.uk