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Songs in the Key of Fife: The Intertwining Stories of the Beta Band, King Creosote, KT Tunstall, James Yorkston and the Fence Collective Paperback – 1 Aug 2013
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Paperback of the Week - an involved saga with fascinating characters criss-crossing each others paths over many years...The story has the advantage of being told by Vic Galloway who has been there since the start and knows the dramatis personae, better than a Johnny Come Lately journalist ever could. --The Herald
'A remarkable insight into the pitfalls of the music industry... I'd go so far as to say it's essential reading for any young musician in Scotland thinking about trying to make a go of it - not least for the rude awakening it may offer before their dreams are shattered. But it also shows how success can be achieved against seemingly insurmountable odds' --The Scotsman
'A great read for any up and coming artist determined to make a go of it' --The Scots magazine
'DJ turned author Galloway does a superb job of documenting the lives of these artists, misfits and 'heads', not least because he is a Fife lad himself' --Mojo
About the Author
Vic Galloway is a BBC Radio broadcaster and TV presenter whose radio programmes have been broadcast for more than a decade on Radio 1, Radio Scotland and 6 Music. He has presented the T in the Park coverage and other music shows and documentaries for BBC1 and 2, and his music journalism has appeared in a number of publications, including the Times and The Herald. Vic is also a musician and member of the Fence Collective, having grown up in the village of Kingsbarns in the East Neuk of Fife. As a childhood friend of many members of the Fence Collective, he is well placed to tell this fascinating story with personal insights and anecdotes.
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Vic's enthusiasm and love of the Fence collective and various people who helped bring The FC to life ,runs throughout the book. He is close friends with many of protagonists and I was wondering if this might result in a slight rose tinted view of events. However, Vic uses his close relationship with them and gets some revealing and often candid observations. While it is not a warts and all story, some difficult stories are covered The fractious relationship between the Anderson brothers, Kenny ( King Creosote), Gordon ( Lone Pigeon, Aliens, Beta Band) and Een ( Pip Dylan) reveal the occasional love/loathing relationship with music and Fife it self. Vic also details the Gordon Anderson's mental breakdown, which is quite a harrowing read. Steven Mason ( Beta Band, King Biscuit Time) James Yorkstone and KT Tunstall and many others also give insights into how this small scene gave them the chance to develop their music and their creativity.
Anyone who thought the Fence Collective were a bunch of rag tag hairy folkies need to read this book, as they will be surprised to find that behind the DIY ("Dae It Yersel" as they say in Fife) lay very business savvy group of individuals, helmed by Kenny Anderson and Johnny Lynch ( Pictish Trail) Vic details how they managed to create an environment where creative people can play and release music as diverse from trad folk, high energy disco pop, ambient electronic through to kraut rock. This was all done on the acts own terms; away from the London centric music business scene and its often fickle hype.
At the end of the book Vic does mention the Kenny and Johnny being slightly at odds as to the direction of the TFC. The Fence Collective has finally splintered ( ouch pun) Lynch has recently announced that he has formed Lost Map Records which will continue with the DIY approach run from his base on the Isle of Eigg. Kenny Anderson is running his own music events in Fife with Alter Ego Trading Company.
One wee thing I would of likes was a name Index for all the people (there is lot of them!) a Fence Family Style Rock Tree would have been good.
Go read the book and then go and discover the music!
Songs in the Key of Fife: The Intertwining Stories of the Beta Band, King Creosote, KT Tunstall, James Yorkston and the Fence Collective).
It takes a lot of like minded individuals to make the community ethic work. It was a good balance and it's a great story. This wonderful book is like ten separate biographies of artists whose life and work intertwine as part of the greatest biography of all....Fence itself. The shop, the lable and the collective. The authors close relationship with many of the subjects has allowed him to explore far deeper than conventional biographies and reveal many frank and deeply personal insights into the lives and movements of this unique and inspirational organisation. This wonderful book is particularly relevant because it's release coincides with a new chapter as the original Fence reaches the end of it's natural life and is about to evolve in to two new and exciting futures.
I loved this book and it left me revisiting so many of my treasured albums and seeking out new ones, all of which are covered in this exquisitely researched work. Highly recommended!!
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