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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Glasgow-Based Rory Matheson & Graham Rorie To Release Duo Album

We Have Won The Land is the new duo album from Glasgow-based folk musicians Rory Matheson and Graham Rorie set for release on Friday 22nd April. The rousing trad album is inspired by Rory’s local area of Assynt in the north-west Scottish Highlands and the crofters’ buy-out of the North Lochinver Estate by the Assynt Crofters’ Trust.

The album celebrates the unprecedented success of the Trust in buying back the estate’s 21,000 acres of land on the west coast of Sutherland from a Swedish land speculator in 1993. The crofters’ efforts inspired many other communities to pursue similar projects and eventually own the land they live and work on.

The triumphant and uplifting album is the first collaborative release from Rory and Graham, who have previously worked together as session musicians and are both former finalists of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of The Year.

Assynt-born Rory Matheson has toured throughout Europe, the US and Australia, despite only being a recent graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is a founding member of Glasgow band TRIP and can also be seen touring with fiddle-led quartet Fara.

Orcadian fiddle and mandolin player Graham Rorie is a founding member of the three-time MG Alba Scots Trad Music award nominated band Gnoss and has toured extensively with the group. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alum was recently nominated for Original Work of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards for his solo album, The Orcadians of Hudson Bay.

Rory Matheson said: “The crofters’ buyout of the North Lochiver Estate means a lot to me because my family supported the campaign and were heavily involved in the process from the beginning. It’s a really powerful story and an important part of Highland history that I was very inspired by. We Have Won The Land is the first time Graham and I had composed together and we had such a great time putting the album together.”

We Have Won The Land follows the story arc of the North Lochinver Estate buyout, from the plan first being set in motion, told through the track The Whitbread Case, to the sweet and melodic finale We Have Won The Land, representing the community’s historic win.

Graham Rorie said: “This was an album born out of lockdown - normally we are both away touring and writing with other bands, so the fact we have had the time and space to write and record together has been very special, especially for such an interesting theme. The Assynt Crofters’ Trust have been an inspiration to so many communities and we hope the album will help to raise awareness and celebrate the work they did to achieve the unimaginable.”

Rory, who plays piano and keyboards, and Graham, who plays fiddle, mandolin and tenor guitar, are joined by an impressive team of musicians on the album. This includes Anna Massie on guitar, Charlie Stewart on bass, Craig Baxter on bodhrán, Fraser Stone on drums and percussion, Kristan Harvey on fiddle, Tiernan Courell on flutes and whistles and James Graham on vocals.

The record, which features all newly composed instrumental tracks and two songs with new arrangements of traditional material, was recorded and mixed by Gus Stirrat at Solas Sound in Glasgow and mastered by Nick Cooke in Bristol.

Babiche from Graham Rorie's solo album

Rory Matheson Performs at the City Halls in Glasgow.


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