SCOTTISH TRADITIONAL SINGER
Allan Carr is one of Scotland’s finest traditional singers with a unique repertoire of songs, ballads and stories that reflects the culturally rich region of his native North East of Scotland. Born and raised in Aberdeen, Allan grew up in a musical family of singers, fiddlers, pipers and accordion players and he picked up many songs from such singers as Lizzie Higgins, Stanley Robertson, bothy ballad singer Jimmy McBeath and Tom Spiers. Allan’s “resonant vocals have a depth found only in the rarest of singers” (Boston Globe) and he sings in an easy relaxed style with fine accompaniment on guitar and mandocello. Combined with a deep knowledge and understanding of the songs he sings, Allan is an authentic traditional Scottish singer-Plus he is really funny!
In August 2012, Allan released his long awaited solo recording, Songs of Northeast Scotland. The CD features a selection of traditional songs and ballads from the Northeast of Scotland and one original song in the traditional style written by Allan. With simple accompaniment on guitar and mandocello, the CD reflects Allan’s fine singing, his ability to interpret the old songs of Scotland and the culture and history of his native land.
Allan Carr was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland a region known for its rich musical traditional musical heritage. He began singing traditional songs in his teens, learning from such source singers as Jeannie Robertson, Lizzie Higgins, Jimmy McBeath and Stanley Robertson. He performed regularly at the Aberdeen Folk Club, and at festivals in Scotland, winning several traditional singing competitions. Allan’s easy singing style and subtle interpretations of the old ballads quickly established him as one of the finest younger generation traditional singers. His knowledge of the music and background to the songs he sings brings the songs the life and relevance to present day!
In the early 80’s Allan teamed up with American fiddler/banjo player Jane Rothfield, moved to Edinburgh, Scotland and with Rothfield, recorded “There and Back” on Temple Records. They developed their signature combination of American and Scottish traditional and original music creating a unique sound not heard on the folk scene at that time.
Allan and Jane toured the folk clubs and festivals in the UK and USA until 1984 when they were joined by Silly Wizard bassist/guitarist, Martin Hadden, to form the groundbreaking Scots/American fusion band, Hadden, Rothfield and Carr. The trio pioneered the fusion of American and Scottish traditional styles for a whole new “world music” sound. Hadden, Rothfield and Carr recorded 2 critically acclaimed records (“When these Shoes Were New” on Shanachie and “Atlantic Bridge” on Green Linnet), toured extensively at clubs and festivals throughout Britain and the United States, and appeared on nationally broadcast radio shows such as The Flea Market (Chicago) and Mountain Stage (W. Va).
Allan and Jane returned to the US in 1988 settling in upstate NY and continued to perform as Atlantic Bridge with pianist Selma Kaplan and bassist Alan Bradbury. In 1992, Allan produced a recording of Traditional Scottish Melodies featuring Jane Rothfield, Selma Kaplan and Sarah Bauhan on Sampler Records titled The Northern Lights of Aberdeen). They added contra dance music to their repertoire and formed Jane’s Gang playing contra dances up and down the east coast from Vermont to Florida! In 2006, Allan and Jane formed the New Old Time band, Red Hen Stringband (www.redhenstringband.com) with singer/guitarist Linda Schrade and banjo master/singer David Kiphuth. Red Hen Stringband recorded 2 acclaimed cd’s (Crossing in 2009 (Red Hen Records), and Birds of a Feather in 2011(Wepecket Records) and has performed at Café Lena, The Sounding Board, Minstral Coffeehouse, Old Songs Festival, Champlain Valley Folk Festival, New Bedford Summerfest, Jay Ungar’s Dancing on the Air, Rich Warren’s Folk Stage in Chicago, WXPN with Gene Shay and more.
Currently, Allan performs concerts as a solo, with his wife Fiddler/Banjo player Jane Rothfield, and with Coracree (www.coracree.com) playing innovative bass for contra dances and as the lead vocalist on traditional and original songs. Allan also plays bass with Philadelphia based contra dance band Raise the Roof.
Fiddler extraordinaire, Donna Hebert says
“Allan Carr is the real deal - a Scottish singer from Aberdeen who sings the old songs utterly from the heart. His renditions of "Northeast Scots Songs" on his new CD of the same name showcase his lifelong immersion in and his love for the tradition. Thoughtfully arranged, each song sits like a jewel in its own setting. My personal favorites are "Eence Upon A Time," a cautionary tale of the lass who had a bit too much fun at "the threshin' time," and Allan's original "Rosy Through the Glass," where the Scottish immigrant's memories of home get happier as the evening lengthens and the drink flows. After the CD finished, I hit 'play' again. That says it all!”
Listen to Hadden, Rothfield and Carr from their 1985 release When These Shoes Were New-Bury Me Beneath the Willow!
Listen to tracks from Allan's New CD, Songs of Northeast Scotland
Captain Ward (Trad)
Eence Upon A Time (Trad)
Clerk Saunders (Trad)