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Ally MacLeod

Ally MacLeod’s formative years were dominated by the sounds of country music. Nothing strange in that, you might think, but coming from a small village in the Highlands of Scotland you wouldn’t necessarily expect Hank Williams and Patsy Cline to form the soundtrack of a Scottish childhood. But her country-loving roots took her to her first guitar lessons and, before long, she was performing at local music nights, at the tender age of eleven.“I decided when I was four years old that I wanted to be a singer and was ALWAYS singing for Aunts and Uncles and anyone who would listen! I wanted to be in a band from the age of eleven. There really wasn’t much else in my early life but singing and the song.”However, a love of theatre took Ally into a career in acting, writing and directing, never thinking that people would actually want to pay to hear her sing her own songs. Her theatre work took her all over Britain, Ireland and Holland and several tours were spent in many and various parts of America and Canada. She lived in New York in the late 1990s working with a number of experimental theatre companies but found herself gravitating more and more back to her first love and over the last decade she has been able to amass a fairly large catalogue of self-penned material.By this time she had returned to the north of Scotland where she began working with local musicians and, through a very happy happenstance, met singer songwriter Martin Stephenson (Martin Stephenson and the Daintees) who had moved into producing, as well as sustaining an extremely successful career as a singer and highly renowned guitar player. She began recording her first album “Astor Place“ in Martinâ’s studio in the spring of 2010. The album has already received a great deal of attention both in Britain and on the continent.In the summer of 2010, Ally teamed up with fellow musician Donald Forbes, from Inverness, to form acoustic Americana outfit Red Hook Rapids. Over the following year they supported, among others, Suzette Lawrence – a rockabilly gal originally from Texas, now residing in Nashville, Viper Central – a bluegrass band from Vancouver, the Lush Rollers, Michael Weston King, the Wynntown Marshals, Christine Collister and, in September 2011, Martin Stephenson at the infamous Jazz Café in Camden Town, London. Donald and Ally share a love of country, Americana and ˜anything that twangs” music. As well as performing their own songs, they cover “Anything that’s good“ which means, for us, the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Gram Parsons. All the people we’ve dreamed of being like. It’s a joy to work on, let’s say, a Robert Plant or a Patty Griffin song “ you know that you’re working with real quality. Ally has already recorded enough songs for a second album, which will be released sometime in 2011.

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