Constant Follower sound fabulous atop The National Wallace Monument. If they have passed you by so far then check this out. A bit of a tonic after all that Glastonbury overkill. There’s live dates below too.
Constant Follower have unveiled a gorgeous live session filmed from the top of The National Wallace Monument, overlooking their hometown of Stirling. Since releasing their critically acclaimed debut album Neither Is, Nor Ever Was last year on the legendary Shimmy Disc / Joyful Noise label, the outfit have been busy touring, including playing what the Austin Chronicle described as an “atmospheric tapestry” of a set at this year’s South By Southwest Festival in Texas.
Now, the band have treated fans to this unique recorded live session. Directed by Martin J. Pickering, the stunning new video was filmed earlier this year thanks to support from PRS Foundation, and features the tracks ‘I Can’t Wake You’, ‘Weave of the World’ and ‘The Merry Dancers On TV’ as the band play atop The Wallace Monument in a setting as serene as the songs themselves. Frontman and songwriter McAll’s delicate finger-picked guitar sounds crisp against his warming baritone, pushing back against the chill winter air.
Constant Follower’s drifting, heart-rending sound is a dreamlike reflection of McAll’s own life. He was randomly attacked on his way home from his girlfriend’s house one evening near his 17th birthday in Glasgow The catastrophic head injuries left him partially paralysed, unable to write or play guitar, and with all of his childhood memories up until that point gone. He spent the next decade on Scotland’s windswept West Coast, recovering, and gradually re-learning how to play guitar. He began reading the poetry of Norman MacCaig, as it was the only prose he could follow, and eventually the songs that make up his stunning debut began to emerge. The writing on the album breathes the salt spray, and the gentle beauty of the Scottish expanse.
The critically acclaimed work has featured on 17 ‘Best Albums of 2021’ lists so far. A triumph after tragedy, in some ways.
Constant Follower frontman McAll said: “I don’t remember my childhood, but my mum took lots of photographs. I look so happy in the pictures of us at the Wallace Monument. I see how magical it is for my own children – the building, the mythology, the huge sword – and can only think it must have been the same for me. I see it every day when I open my curtains and wondered what it would be like to play up in the crown overlooking the city, and why no one had done it already. So it was a great surprise and an honour when Stirling Council made it happen. To be able to play while stretching our eyes over this beautiful landscape… sometimes it was hard to sing for the lump in my throat.”
Filmmaker Martin J. Pickering said: “Filming my oldest best friend’s live set at the top of The Wallace Monument was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. On a good day, Stirling has the most beautiful light too. It’s shimmery, golden and silver and just amazing for photography and film. It was a physical and brutal shoot because it was freezing and extremely windy but that all lent itself to an amazing end result on camera. I cried when I watched my edit back.”
As well as a handful of July dates, Constant Follower are currently gearing up for a string of ‘Scotland on Tour’ dates, starting on 20th October in Tighnabruaich and ending on 30th October at Lochinver. See below for full dates:
20/07/2022 – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
21/07/2022 – Broadcast, Glasgow
22/07/2022 – Secret Location, Stirling
20/10/2022 – The Hollies, Tighnabruaich
21/10/2022 – An Tobar, Mull
24/10/2022 – River Garden Auchincruive, Ayr
25/10/2022 – River Garden Auchincruive, Ayr
26/10/2022 – The Glad Cafe, Glasgow
27/10/2022 – Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling
28/10/2022 – The Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
29/10/2022 – Inverness Cathedral, Inverness
30/10/2022 – Village Hall, Lochinver
17/03/2023 – Town Hall, Jedburgh
18/03/2023 – Regal Connect Theatre, Bathgate
31/03/2023 – Freckfest, Harbour Arts, Irvine