You may remember that some months ago, I mentioned a fund-raising campaign to pay for long term care for Andy M. Stewart, former lead singer for Scottish folk group Silly Wizard. Sadly, he died yesterday from the effects of his long illness and failed surgeries. The Herald reports:
Born in Alyth, near Blairgowrie in Perthshire, Stewart emerged as a passionate singer and upholder of traditional songs as a teenager when he formed the group Puddock’s Well with singer, songwriter and fiddle Dougie Maclean and bassist Martin Hadden.
Invited in the mid-1970s to join Silly Wizard, who needed a Scottish singer to lend weight to their fiery instrumental sound, Stewart became known across Europe and particularly in the US with the band as an authoritative singer and an entertaining raconteur.
His original songs including The Queen of Argyll and the Valley of Strathmore became staples of the band’s live concerts and he toured with them until they broke up in 1988.
. . .
He was inducted into the Scots Trad Music Hall of Fame with Silly Wizard in 2012.
There's more at the link.
I'm personally saddened to hear of Mr. Stewart's passing. His voice was golden, and his interpretation of Scottish folk and traditional music, exemplified in his own compositions, was superb. To commemorate his contribution, here are three examples of his work. First, 'The Queen of Argyll', his own composition.
Next we have a non-Silly Wizard performance: 'Fire in the Glen', performed with Manus Lunny and Phil Cunningham.
Finally, the classic 'Donald McGillavry' (a curious piece which we discussed at some length earlier). This recording was the last song of Silly Wizard's farewell concert in Atlanta in April 1988, and it's therefore a fitting way to "play out" Andy Stewart. May his soul rest in peace.
There are many more of Andy's and Silly Wizard's performances on YouTube.
Thank you so much for your music, Mr. Stewart. You will be missed.