Nothing Concrete:Pyranees based international lineup release 3rd album, 'The Haberdashers Voyage'
NOTHING CONCRETE – New Release: ‘The Haberdasher’s Voyage’
International line-up release third album. (CD, Download and vinyl)
Release Date: 1st April 2021
Available from: https://fergusmckay.bandcamp.com/.../the-haberdashers-voyage
Playing an effervescent blend of Folk, Swing, Blues and Americana, this six-piece international band (featuring two French members, one English, one Scot, one Italian and one Belgian) is based in the rolling countryside of the French Pyrenees. Add to the mix an unforgettable live show, you have all the necessary ingredients for Nothing Concrete. With an eclectic all-original repertoire written by award-winning Scottish composer Fergus McKay, described as "brilliant" by the Sunday People newspaper. Now add three saxophones and a fiddle, tap and swing dance choreographies and even a puppet that plays with the audience, you’ll see for yourselves when the world ‘wakes up’ again to ‘live’ music, what an exciting experience Nothing Concrete are.
Sometimes compared to the late, great Ronnie Lane' s 'getting back to nature-gypsy, travelling circus' 'Passing Show' lifestyle, hundreds of Nothing Concrete performances over the last few years - including a tour as support for the iconic Joan Armatrading - have not only honed their performance skills, but also nurtured the songs of group founder, Fergus (an avowed Lane fan who has also recorded with Edwyn Collins) - drawing from the experience of these strange times we all live in, to deliver to us their third album, ‘The Haberdasher’s Voyage’.
So, what was Fergus’ story about his own ’voyage’ from Scotland to France?
“I was working in Edinburgh in a bit of a dead-end job after having gone bankrupt with my own business (a whole other story!!) and was playing my songs at all the open mic nights I could. During a dark Edinburgh winter I decided to save up enough cash to get a rusty old van and leave for the next Summer and busk around Europe”. On the road, he met Gaia (now his wife) and it was while busking on the bridge in her hometown of Padova that she asked Fergus where he was going and if she could come along? “So, we busked together round France and Spain… by the end of the trip we were pretty close, so instead of moving back to Edinburgh I went to Rome, where she was studying. Then, when she graduated, we looked at the map of where we had busked and where the money was good, and the South of France seemed a good option, so we went there!”. When Gaia became pregnant, they decided that busking in the city was not a long-term plan, so they found an old farm building in a rural area near the Pyrenees and started to work out how to make a living there. Eventually forming the band (after several line-up changes), they built a recording studio and in their barn…“bloody hard work for a while with two toddlers around, finding enough gigs and tours etc to sustain us, but worth it!”.
Released by independent label, Round Flat Records their 2015 album ‘Ever the Forager’ received glowing reviews and radio play, and in 2018 they released ‘Jumble Shop Tales’ which was described as "strikingly original and completely essential" by Darryl Sterdan - Canada's most followed music critic.
In 2018, Sonic News declared of Nothing Concrete: “Fergus McKay and his renegade band have broken free of the rattrap and have set up something between a travelling funfair and a healthy living commune in the remote regions of the foothills of the Pyrenees. Without televisions, growing their own crops and raising their children, as well as being a fully-fledged touring and recording entity, it’s the kind of lifestyle many dream of, but few take the plunge and actually commit to. If there’s anything to take away from Fergus’ doctrine for living it should be that you should always follow your dreams, however preposterous it may seem.”
Amen to that.