Craig and Charlie Reid spent most of 2006 writing with a view to recording their seventh studio album early in 2007. They will now embark to the legendary Rockfield Studios in South Wales during the spring, with the album being released in the autumn.
The Proclaimers and live band (Stevie Christie, Ross McFarlane, Garry John Kane and Zac Ware) will be back on the road with summer European festival shows. A 40-date UK & Ireland tour is planned for October/November, a Benelux tour in December with tours of Australasia and North America to follow in 2008.
2007 sees the premier of Dundee Rep Theatre's musical based around songs of The Proclaimers, Sunshine On Leith written by Stephen Greenhorn and performed by a cast of 15 performers from the award-winning Dundee Rep Ensemble plus a nine piece live band. The show's initial run takes in Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow from April 18th to June 9th. Info attached.
In between the writing, 2006 saw The Proclaimers enjoy a fantastic summer with a string of live dates, highlights included Ayr Burnsfest, Newcastle Evolution, Isle of Wight Festival, Reprieve 'An Evening for Human Rights' benefit (charity that fights for the lives of people facing the death penalty) at London's Shakespeare Globe Theatre, T In The Park, their first ever gig in Moscow, Big Chill, Summer Sundae, Beautiful Days, Liverpool Matthew Street Festival, Solfest and Bryn Terfel Faenol Festival in Wales. Notable mention also for their appearance in a new episode of Family Guy.
2005 saw The Proclaimers release their sixth studio album 'Restless Soul' and undertake an extensive seven-month tour. November/December saw a mammoth 36-date UK & Ireland tour (their biggest ever tour of England) then ending the year in style at Aberdeen's Hogmanay concert in front of 30,000+ happy revelers. This tour followed hot on the heels of a six-week September/October 26 date tour of USA & Canada.
Earlier 2005 highlights included a stonking gig at Glastonbury earning them 5 star NME and Q reviews. The Proclaimers were then a major highlight of Edinburgh Live8 concert at Murrayfield Stadium as they had the privilege of opening the evening to typically rapturous acclaim. Major festival appearances to packed crowds and rave receptions continued over the summer including Guilfest, Galway Arts, Cambridge, Feile an Phobail, Belladrum and V2005 festivals. The JJB Arena Tent at V2005 was so overwhelmed with thousands unable to enter for The Proclaimers appearance, that extra security and barriers were brought in to try and bring some order to the chaotic scenes
The Proclaimers recorded their sixth studio album 'Restless Soul' in London with producers Mark Wallis and David Ruffy. Mark Wallis is regarded by his peers as having the best pair of ears behind any studio console and is one of the most experienced and versatile producers around, having recorded classic cuts for The La's, The Smiths, U2, Talking Heads, Travis, Go-Betweens and Rooster amongst others. David Ruffy has teamed up with Mark on productions for the last two years. Recently his beats CD's have been used by likes of Dr Dre. His previous musical exploits saw him drum/MD with The Ruts, Atzec Camera, Sinead O'Connor, Prefab Sprout and Kirsty McColl.
Craig and Charlie Reid said, "We really enjoyed the experience, Mark and David were great to work with. Their technique for making the instruments sound big by recording them at a low volume was new to us and helped us develop as musicians in the studio. The atmosphere was very relaxed and we believe they got the best out of us and the other guys in the band".
The songs on Restless Soul offer lyrics of uncommon honesty and depth and speak eloquently to listeners everywhere. According to Charlie, "When you become specific, you become universal. You write about your own life and make your own observations. People who worry too much about appealing to everybody miss the point. If you write sincerely, and identify with the feelings of other people, you'll catch the ears of people who want to go beyond our accents or our points of view, whether they're inside or outside of Scotland."
About the Restless Soul title, Craig adds that it reflects how the Reid brothers see themselves. "I think the song 'Restless Soul' is about myself and other people who can't chill out and just sit back and relax and not worry about the next thing. "The album continues what we have done in the past - traditional song structures and varied subject matter - but the production is slicker," continues Craig before pausing. "I never thought I would have used those words to describe a Proclaimers' album. More time was taken over the arrangements and it's a bit more controlled than previous albums."
Mark Wallis and David Ruffy commented "What a great musical journey recording the Restless Soul album was, we would keep 'raising the bar' musically speaking and every time we did the band would respond by taking it even higher. What a blast!"
The Proclaimers live band who feature on the album are, Stevie Christie on Keyboards, accordion, Zac Ware on guitars, pedal steel, Ross McFarlane on drums and Garry John Kane on bass.
It's 20 years since The Proclaimers made their legendary TV debut on The Tube, performing the classic song Letter From America. Back then, the charts were dominated by the likes of Rick Astley and Sinita and the response to Craig and Charlie Reid, two impassioned brothers singing their hearts out in their own accents about serious political issues was extraordinary. The Proclaimers were unlike anything we had seen before and Channel 4's switchboards jammed with curious callers. It was the beginning of a phenomenon.
Within a month they were signed to Chrysalis Records and recording their debut album nine days later This Is The Story was finished. Another six weeks and it was in the shops. By December Letter From America was Number 3 in the UK singles chart and the album went Gold. A year of constant touring to sell-out crowds and an album of electrifying acoustic energy had paid off. A song about Scotland, its emigration, politics, industrial closures and the Highland clearances had reached the top of the pop charts.
The teenage twins musical passion began after a childhood spent in Edinburgh, Cornwall and Auchtermuchty in Fife. At home it was Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams and Ray Charles. At school they formed punk bands. Out of this collision of styles and attitudes came The Proclaimers in 1983. Over the next three years the duo built up a fervent following in the pubs of Edinburgh and Inverness.
People identified with these two characters. Straight (jeans, jumpers, glasses) but individual (traditionalism meets radicalism), songs that opened your ears and hit your heart. Kevin Rowland of Dexy's Midnight Runners gave inspiration, advice and demo time. The Housemartins, then topping the UK charts, heard a demo and offered the unsigned band the support slot on their UK tour live on Radio 1.
The Proclaimers followed the massive success of their debut album with Sunshine On Leith in August 1988. The Reid brothers' raw delivery was complemented by the country/rock scope of a full band. Pete Wingfield, the man behind Dexy's was brought in to produce. As ever with The Proclaimers their politics and passions were palpable, but never brow-beating. If their songs spoke of troubled soul-searching, they still bore a dignity at heart. If their songs were euphoric, it was a communal joy. These were selfless songs.
Over the next ten months they performed 145 times in 18 countries. Sunshine On Leith became a million seller, a hit throughout Europe and America, platinum in the UK, Canada and New Zealand and triple platinum in Australia, where I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) stayed at number for six weeks. The single was a worldwide success. A lifetime's ambition was fulfilled as Craig and Charlie make their first visit to North America, touring for three months as I'm Gonna Be went top ten in the College Modern Rock Charts. The album and single refused to lie down well after the world tour had ended. Four years later, both would be back...
1990 saw a Europe wide top 10 hit with the classic song King Of The Road. But back in Edinburgh, the Reids' break was disrupted by a crisis at Hibernian Football Club. Diehard fans, they were to spearhead the Hands Off Hibs campaign against the threatened take-over by local rivals Heart of Midlothian. After a long fight the campaign was won and The Proclaimers were free to return to the business of writing songs.
It was as they prepared to record their third album, Hit The Highway, that The Proclaimers success in the USA was to explode. Out of the blue, via the sterling efforts of actress Mary Stuart Masterson, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) became the theme song to the film Benny & Joon. In the summer of 1993, the song went from silver screen to small screen to airwaves to record shops. Over 28 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) climbed to number 3 nationally, sitting at number 1 in over half the States and selling a million copies. The climax of a three-week, coast-to-coast promotional tour was an appearance before 22,000 New Yorkers in Madison Square Gardens, along with TV performances on all the most popular shows, including Letterman and The Today Show. America had fallen for two down-to-earth punters from Fife. The parts of the world that missed out first time followed suit.
A gold album was to follow in the USA as sales of Sunshine on Leith passed the 2 million copy mark worldwide. And there was new material on the way.
By the time of their American success, most of Hit The Highway was complete. Personal upheaval - marriages, divorce, children - played its part in the lengthy gestation of the third album. But more than that, it was pride in their work that caused the gap between albums.
Hit The Highway was recorded in six weeks in the late autumn of 93. Producer Wingfield's Hammond playing added resonant soul. A three-piece brass section gave R'n'B punch. The band brought a solid rock drive. And above it all is the voices and the words of The Proclaimers, with their unique take on the spiritual, on romance, on family and friends. Hit The Highway is their naked truth. On its release in 1994 the first single, Let's Get Married, went Top 20 in the UK. The Proclaimers toured constantly, with Craig and Charlie ecstatic to be back on the road. 116 live shows followed including a coast to coast tour of the USA and Canada.
When they came off tour in early 95 after 18 non-stop months, Craig and Charlie kept a low profile. They made a one-off live appearance in 1996, performing from the centre circle at Murrayfield Stadium prior to a Scotland v Australia rugby encounter. They also recorded Chuck Berry's No Particular Place To Go and Buddy Holly's Maybe Baby in 1997, for long time admirer John Byrne and the film adaptation of his play, The Slab Boys.
Hollywood continued to knock on The Proclaimers door. They contributed a version of The Temptations Get Ready to the soundtrack of the hugely successful Dumb and Dumber, Over and Done With to cult movie Bottle Rocket and their version of The Everly's Bye Bye Love to the movie of the same name. Their music has also appeared on numerous advertisements worldwide, to promote everything from IBM's 'Hot Products' to South Korean mobile phones, Canadian beer to Swedish meatballs.
The Reids put music on hold when their father became critically ill. He passed away in August '97 and Craig and Charlie returned to writing. The tunes built up though the lyrics took time. Family life had been busy, Craig now with four children, Charlie with three. Finally in early 2000, the brothers were happy that they had a collection of songs fit for an album and they headed to Minneapolis to begin recording. With EMI's closure of Chrysalis as a stand-alone label and failing to see eye to eye with the new proprietors, The Proclaimers very happily parted company with the new regime. After heading to Minneapolis in August 2000 to record their fourth album, Craig and Charlie, along with manager Kenny MacDonald, subsequently seized the opportunity to form their own label, 'Persevere' Records.
They drafted in a wealth of international talent for their most ambitious recordings to date, headed by Chris Kimsey, legendary producer of a plethora of classic albums including seven from the Rolling Stones. Musicians included Chuck Leavell (of The Allman Brothers fame and keyboard player with The Stones for the last 20 years); drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis's Attractions) and Hutch Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt's band, and many more.) Persevere was engineered by Tom Tucker Snr, Prince's house engineer at Paisley Park for the past 15 years.
Fans' patience was rewarded in May 2001 with the release of the album Persevere, a highly acclaimed collection of beautiful and exhilarating songs, which won them a new audience. After an inexcusable (in their words!) absence of seven years, The Proclaimers reformed a world class band and took to the road for over 100 gigs in the UK and North America. They proved that they are still among the most dynamic and energetic live acts in the world, stirring passions on both sides of the Atlantic. Highlights of an exceptional year included a rousing set at Scotland's major music festival T In The Park, an arena tour of the USA with the Barenaked Ladies, I'm On My Way featured in the smash movie Shrek and a headline performance for 100,000 revellers before the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle as the highlight of the city's legendary Hogmanay celebrations. They kicked off 2002 with a month of dates in Australia and New Zealand, and their first ever dates in the United Arab Emirates.
2002 saw The Proclaimers return to Australia & New Zealand for a month long tour and their first ever gigs in the United Arab Emirates.
May saw the release of The Best of The Proclaimers 1987-2002 in conjunction with EMI. The 20 tracks were chosen by Craig and Charlie and includes three new songs they recorded earlier this year, produced by Edwyn Collins, 'Lady Luck', 'Ghost of Love' and a cover of legendary Scots rocker, Frankie Miller's 'The Doodle Song'. The album has since soared past Gold status in UK and Ireland.
Being huge soccer fans, May was very special for Craig and Charlie as they proudly performed 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) on the pitch, five minutes before kick off at the UEFA Champions League Final at Glasgow's Hampden Park. As well as the 55,000 Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen fans who sang along in rousing fashion at the stadium, there was an estimated worldwide TV audience of over 1 billion viewers.
May also saw the The Proclaimers continuing to tour around Scotland, England and Ireland followed by another North American tour. The touring finally concluded in California late July, the previous 15 months having seen them clock up 168 shows around the world.
October saw the release of EMI/Persevere Records 15 track DVD of promotional videos filmed between 1987-2002. The month also saw The Proclaimers record a version of The Vogues 'Five O'clock World' for inclusion on Warner Bros /ABC TV's 'The Drew Carey Show'.
After coming off the road in August 2002, Craig and Charlie focused on writing new songs, and by early 2003 were delighted to have written an album's worth of songs that passed their own strict quality control test. Having enjoyed working with Edwyn Collins and his retro valve studio so much last year, The Proclaimers headed back there in April/May to record their fifth studio album.
June saw The Proclaimers and band back on road with a Scottish Five Isles Tour to Bute, Skye, Lewis, Orkney and Shetland. July saw a triumphant main stage appearance pre Flaming Lips and REM at T In The Park where organisers DF Concerts claim that the 40,000+ crowd who descended upon the stage for The Proclaimers appearance, equaled that of any major headliner in the festivals 10 year existence. The month also saw The Proclaimers perform to immense acclaim at Galway Arts Festival, The Stockton International Riverside Festival, Trowbridge Music Festival and Womad Rivermead 2003.
A plethora of fantastic reviews welcomed the UK and Ireland release of the new album 'Born Innocent' on September 15th.
With dates selling out fast, The Proclaimers toured UK and Ireland in October. Then in November, having been invited by the Rugby World Cup 2003 organisers to headline outdoor shows at Sydney's darling Harbour after the second semi-final and at Perth's Arena Joondalup at the Final closing party, further Australian tour dates were added.
December and The Proclaimers headed back home for more sell out shows in Scotland and then go down an absolute storm to over 2000 The Coral fans at Liverpool's Royal Court. Performing an hour long set as surprise special guests at The Corals home town end of year show.
The Born Innocent album appeared in a number of year end Album of the Year choices including MOJO and LA Times.
The old year ended and the new one began in memorable style, headlining Glasgow's Hogmanay celebrations in front of 25,000 people at the city's George Square, amidst 70mph gales and torrential rain. As outdoor events across the land were cancelled, miraculously the rain in Glasgow stopped for 80 minutes as The Proclaimers took to the stage and soaked Glaswegians celebrated gleefully.
2004 saw The Proclaimers tour USA & Canada in March and April and then Craig and Charlie spent the rest of the year concentrating on writing songs for the next album that would become 2005's Restless Soul.