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  • Writer's pictureAnne Connor

Laura-Beth Salter and Ali Hutton Present Cinematic Love Letter To Nature, From The Ground

By Anne Connor. Photo Credit: Paul Jennings photo with overlays by Elly Lucas.

From the Ground is the exceptional new self-titled album from two musical forces of the Scottish folk and roots music scene, set for release on Friday 29th March.

Laura-Beth Salter (Kinnaris Quintet, The Shee) and Ali Hutton (Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton, Treacherous Orchestra) have come together to create a Scottish soundscaping masterpiece with a powerful message at its core.

Cinematic, contemporary and captivating, From the Ground is an ode to nature and its infinite power to heal. It carries an urgent message for its listeners – we must cherish our planet – and celebrates how connecting with our natural environment can benefit our mental health.

Samples of whistling winds from Skye, crashing waves from Harris beaches, sounds of the forest from the outskirts of Glasgow and the crackling fire from Ali’s own home are layered with bold organic instrumentation and poignant lyricism to create a stunning self-composed piece of work which is intricate and epic in equal measure.

Laura-Beth and Ali were drawn together in mutual admiration of their musical talents and by a shared passion for using music to draw attention to important environmental and social issues.

The record has been years in the making, as the pair painstakingly sculpted this body of work together in a way which is markedly different to their usual individual creative approaches and typically acoustic sounds.

Laura-Beth said: “This album is our ode to nature and the solace we and so many others find in it.  We have tried to capture the hope we feel towards changes being made  to save the environment for the future, while at the same time reflecting on the reality of the damage that has already been done. Developing our sound took a lot of time and patience but it’s been well worth the effort and we hope it's music that will provide a journey for each listener in the way it has for us.”

Ali Hutton said: “From the Ground has been a huge learning curve for both of us. We’re used to writing, arranging, rehearsing and then recording material with bands but here, we wanted to create something a bit different. We spent a lot of time developing samples and soundscapes that would reflect the moods and themes we wanted to get across. Where it wasn’t possible to capture sounds on location, I combined synths and audio samples to replicate natural sounds. All of these noises were used to paint a picture, tell a story and capture feelings that we associate with nature, environment, culture and human connection. The tracks are sonic narratives, laid out in a way that hopefully will help people visualise the themes and emotions that we intended to convey.”

The album’s sensational title track From the Ground is written by Laura-Beth from the perspective of a mighty old tree, rooted to the earth and unable to move away from the fires burning ever around it. Hope and desperation dance around one another in this powerful song, arranged by both Laura-Beth and Ali, which would sit easily over the most dramatic of videography.

Another record stand out comes in the form of the instrumental number, Boreal. Consisting of two tunes, Paper Boats and Taiga, the track is inspired by the Boreal Forests - also referred to as snow forests and taiga. This mighty expanse is the world’s largest ecozone, stretching across Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden and the USA and holds 20% of the world’s carbon emissions. Its splendour and significance, full of life and growth, is encapsulated in this atmospheric and buoyant track.

Ali Hutton lends his consummate skills across Highland bagpipes, whistles, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, synths, piano and programming and sound design on the album, while Laura-Beth Salter provides impeccable vocals, mandolin and tenor guitar.

The pair are joined by Patsy Reid on fiddles and Paul Jennings on drums, while Duncan Lyall is on double bass, electric bass, moog and provided some additional programming.

Spoken word is also woven throughout the record, with poignant readings from Perthshire poet Jim Mackintosh, musician Danny Schwarze, Gaelic songstress Kim Carnie, award-winning writer Jeremy Raison and sea kayaker and advocate for good mental health Nick Ray.

From the Ground was recorded by Barry Reid across Gorbals Sound, Gran’s House Studio and Ali’s home studio. It was mixed by Duncan Lyall at Red Deer Studios, mastered by Nick Cooke and produced by Ali Hutton. 

From The Ground will be available to buy, download and stream on Friday 29th March.



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