Sitting atop Arthur’s Seat with the vast, expansive view of Edinburgh below, Sam Shackleton’s banjo twang and voice ring out over the landscape and across time in this video for the ancient ballad ‘House Carpenter’. The song is hundreds of years old and, like Shackleton’s music , it has travelled from Scotland to America and back again. The combination of Shackleton’s vocal, the old tale of tragic love and this epic location – where people have lived and gathered for so many centuries – truly give a sense of the universal and unchanging nature of humanity. For everything that changes, so much remains the same. Clawing out a foot-tapping rhythm on his banjo, his performance is timeless and authentic. With his busking background, Shackleton brings an infectious energy to the song. Shackleton, also known as Sorley the Bard, is a scholar of traditional Scottish folk and, like a custodian caring for the music for future generations, he is a conduit for these sounds from the past and folk’s oral traditions. He plays with a freshness and joy that shows it’s very much alive and well.
The video for ‘House Carpenter’ was featured on GemsOnVHS, a Nashville channel dedicated to great roots music that has also championed the likes of Josh O’Keefe and Colter Wall. Their videos aim to show artists away from the stage, intimate performances that get to the heart of their music. The choice of locating the video here, at Arthur’s Seat with the cool wind blowing and the sun setting in the distance is inspired and reinforces the tradition and magic of Shackleton’s music.
‘House Carpenter’ is taken from Shackleton’s brand new album ‘Causeway Recordings’. This, his first full-length release, was recorded in his flat in Causeway, Edinburgh, and retains an independent spirit, reflecting his reputation as a dynamic live performer and the only banjo-playing busker on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Thanks to Shackleton’s loyal and steadily growing fanbase, his songs have already been streamed hundreds of thousands of times. This bard is definitely one to watch.
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