The Railway is on track to capture some history

In 2016, Hamish Napier was commissioned by Karen Blessington of the Grantown East: Highland Heritage and Cultural Centre, to compose and record a soundtrack encapsulating the essence of the once derelict Grantown East railway station and the people whose lives were dominated by its existence.

Not an easy task, but a challenge Hamish has surely risen to with his original music perfectly capturing the bouts of calm and bustle besetting many a rural halt.

Following a restoration programme, the old station will be given a new lease of life when its doors open once more in November and Hamish sets the scene with a couple of brisk tunes, The Speyside Line, casting a nostalgic look back over the days of steam travel and Double Header that propels us down the line with a frisson of excitement, stoked by the sublime piping of Ross Ainslie.

Being able to call upon his brother Findlay for a couple of specially created songs, the fabulous Jocky the Mole and The World Came in by Rail, merely dust more sparkle on what is a wonderfully evocative album laced with reminiscences of the past.

Helen’s Song, supported by Patsy Reid’s sublime fiddle, is a beautiful tune and the delightful Cheery Groove heralds the advent of diesel and the ultimate demise of steam power, celebrated in a stonking tune, Diesel (or 1000 Horsepower).

A gentle puff-puff along the rails was no match for the power, economy and efficiency of heavy oil and times were indeed a-changing, the closing three parted Railwayman reflecting a sense melancholy for the ghost of a station that had become a playground for inquisitive youngsters and a way of life, now a distant memory.

Hamish has brought together a veritable Pullman carriage of musicians to help bring the tales and memories of those who worked the line to a wider audience and, in doing so, has filled the recording with many enjoyable nuggets, each track being as solidly laid as the iron rails that bore the weight of those monstrous engines belching soot and grime into the very being of those whose livelihoods were dependent upon them.

The Grantown East launch is at the end of October and Hamish is planning to tour with The Railway early next year, dates of this and other concerts can be found HERE.