FolkWorld #74 03/2021
© Findlay Napier

Who Were Back of the Moon?

Twenty years ago, in the spring of 2001, a newly formed band began recording their debut album. The band comprised four young friends who were drawn to making music together and shared an equal love of traditional song and instrumental music.

Back of the Moon

Artist Video Back of the Moon @ FROG

They named themselves Back of the Moon after a modern pipe tune they were arranging at the time by Archie Kenneth. The initial line up included the newly crowned (inaugural winner) of the Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year, Gillian Frame on vocals and fiddle, highly acclaimed piper Simon McKerrell and the multi talented Napier brothers, Hamish and Findlay on piano and guitar.

Findlay Napier

The four-piece band, plus equipment, somehow squeezed themselves into Simon’s tiny red Ford Fiesta “Noddy” and drove to near enough every folk club the length and breadth of the UK. The band won Best Folk Band at the Loriant Festival Interceltique, France (a trophy won previously by Capercaillie and De Dannan).

Simon left the band to pursue a career in academia. In this time the band made two albums, spent three great summers touring Canada and won Up and Coming Band at the Scots Trad Music Awards.

Simon left big shoes to fill, but the band soon bumped into a force to be reckoned with in the form of young virtuoso piper/multi-instrumentalist Ali Hutton. To anyone who knows Ali, it will come as no surprise that at this point the band shifted up a gear. With the help of some great agents, Back of the Moon started to tour extensively throughout Europe and the UK, appearing at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and main stages at several major North American music festivals. They played live sets on national radio and were filmed by the BBC performing the songs by Robert Burns at a festival in Slovenia.

In 2005 they released their third album, Luminosity which was nominated as Album of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards and won Folk Band of the Year. They performed four times at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall - one highlight being their Celtic Connections 2007 show 'Back of the Moon and Friends’ with Simon McKerrell and others joining them as guests.

Back of the Moon came to the difficult decision to disband in 2007. The members are all still in touch and often collaborate on other projects. Now, for the first time, all three albums are available to buy on Bandcamp.

Photo Credits: (1) Back of the Moon, (2),(5) Findlay Napier, (3) Gillian Frame, (4) Hamish Napier, (6) Ali Hutton (unknown/website).

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