The more Robert Robertson travels, the more he feels at home. Having established a burgeoning fan base in Scotland, his band Tide Lines are now winning new followers in Europe.
The four-piece ended 2017 playing to audiences in Germany, France and Switzerland and found the traditional music of their homeland travels well.
“Audiences in Europe are great fun”, said Robert, the band’s lead singer. “Countries like Germany and Switzerland in particular have a real passion for Scottish music and turn out in their thousands to hear bands from the Highlands like ourselves.
“It’s amazing to be so far from home and play in front of an audience that is so keen on Highland music, particularly the Gaelic songs.”
Tide Lines were launched on social media in 2016 and their debut single, ‘Far Side of the World’, entered the UK download charts less than 24 hours later.
Since then have released their first full-length album and been shortlisted for Live Act of the Year in the 2017 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, while their fervent online fanbase has ensured their gigs sell out in minutes.
Robert, who was named Gaelic Singer of the Year at the Trad Awards last year, was frontman with supergroup Skipinnish until 2016, when he left with multi-instrumentalist Ross Wilson to form Tide Lines with Alasdair Turner (guitar & bagpipes) and Fergus Munro (drums).
After a stunning debut at the Hebridean Celtic Festival last year, they are returning to the multi award-winning island event next month.
“HebCelt last year was one of the highlights of 2017”, said Robert. “We did a lovely gig in Breasclete Hall and then a slot on the Islands Stage on the Thursday night. Two very different gigs but both really enjoyable.
“This year, we’re on the Main Stage on the Friday, so we’re really looking forward to that.”
The HebCelt audience will be among the first to hear some new material the band have been working on, Robert revealed.
“We’ve got a fair bit of new stuff in the pipeline, but no concrete plans to get anything recorded as yet. We’ll maybe be introducing one or two new ones into our live sets, though and gigs like HebCelt will be a good test to see how they’re going down.”
With success following success for the band, it seems everything is going to plan: “We’ve never really had a master plan, other than just to keep playing and writing music. We’ve had lots of great experiences and a lot of good fun over the last two years, so long may it continue.
“We don’t really think too deeply about plans or formulae when it comes to our music. We just work on new material as and when we get new ideas.
“I suppose all bands are always looking to improve and adding new material, or even wee bits of new arrangement into our set, is something we find immensely enjoyable and satisfying.”
This year’s HebCelt runs from 18-21 July with headliners Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, Eddi Reader, Skipinnish and Roddy Woomble.
Day tickets for HebCelt are available exclusively from the festival website. See www.hebceltfest.com