The Jammer of the Month for October, 2009 is Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers.
Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers began playing together in October 2007. The project was inspired by a song, The Bar Room Mountaineers, that Findlay had learned from Scots singer Geordie MacIntryre while studying Traditional Music at the RSAMD in Glasgow. The story goes that with his former band Back of the Moon splitting up he needed a new project. Whilst running on Tinto Hill in South Lanarkshire he was caught in a rainstorm. Wearing nothing but shorts, T-Shirt and running shoes he bemoaned the fact that his fellow musicians were warm in Wiston Lodge below doing a bit of Bar Room Mountaineering he thought. At that moment the Bar Room Mountaineers were born.
Gillian Frame, Douglas Millar and Paul Jennings had worked with Napier before on many projects including Back of the Moon and Queen Anne’s Revenge and were his first choice for band members. Angus Lyon was drafted in to produce the bands demo and later their debut album Out All Night. By sheer coincedence the album was recorded in Lyon’s studio “Grans House” at the foot of Tinto Hill.
In 2003 Napier had begun working with producer and recording engineer Nick Turner as a song writing partnership. They had already produced two albums with their project under the title Queen Anne’s Revenge. None of the songs had been played live so it seemed only sensible for Napier to mine this rich seem of songs.
The band’s debut album, Out All Night was launched at Cambridge Folk Festival in 2008.
“Napier has been emerging as a songwriter of increasingly impressive stature for some years now... His overall stylistic palette, and that of the band's arrangements, took in elements of folk, rock, pop, country and even a touch of jazz, united by a voice whose rugged, vibrant, superbly commanding accents remain entirely his own.” Sue Wilson, The Herald 2008
“ The sound is as tight as you could wish for with piano/organ, fiddle and a particularly solid percussion from Paul Jennings accompanying Findlay and his guitar. Song themes are varied and run from a relationship between Charles Darwin and a tortoise ("Harry met Charlie"), flat sharing ("Such a Sweetie") and night-time drunken fighting ("George"). It will be interesting to see the reaction of the "Folkie" audience to the Bar Room Mountaineers. The band were surmising as to whether the titles "Acousto-Funk" or "Melodramatic Popular Song" might be better applied to them than "Folk" but your average open-minded folkie should certainly find little to dislike. There could even be something here for those less familiar with the folk scene...this was in essence a fabulous gig from a band on their way up.” 5 Star Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Murray
All Night Our Reviews
“It makes for unmistakably Scottish folk music but with a sophistication that distances itself from your average pub sing-along and marks the Bar Room Mountaineers out for distinction.” The List 2008
“The songs have irresistible hooks, especially George, Point of no Return and The Note, all conjured up by the magical playing of Findlay himself on guitar, Gillian Frame (fiddle and viola) Douglas Millar (keyboards), Paul Jennings (cajon, percussion) and Duncan Lyall (electric and double bass). The lively fare is counterbalanced by some gorgeous ballads (Wee Drapie O't and Lambkin), which suggests there's still better to come from this outfit" David Burke, Rock and Reel, Jan/Feb 2009
“It's a sharp and dryly humorous meditation on life.” Spiral Earth, Review of the Year 2008
“The folk roots are clear, but the themes are contemporary. 'He's such a Sweetie' is an early highlight, bitterness laced with humour in the face of losing the girl to a new man (Been there). Then comes the beautiful Mo's All Night Café, a song which seems to ooze melancholy. Indeed, and I mean this in a good way, a gentle melancholy is the overwhelming feel of most of the album.” Bright Young Folk 2008
“Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers are going to finish near the top of the pile with a brilliant album that that brings together a fantastic writing team, a charismatic singer and three superb musicians; the result is a dynamic, colourful and vibrant collection of modern songs with a traditional twist. Exceptional.” Fish Records 2008
Findlay Napier on Jammer Direct