Chris Stout (SCO) is a master fiddler and composer, a member of Fiddlers’ Bid, a frequent collaborator with harpist Catriona McKay, a solo artist and a guest musician on countless trad and folk artists’ albums. A very busy guy, in other words.
And such a great one, too. His fiddle technique is amazing, of course, and his style is often more robust than most of his colleagues’. I love the slight roughness and sometimes dark-ish tone of his sound; there’s a special edge to his playing that occasionally gets pretty wild, even borderline aggressive, especially in certain more modern McKay-Stout pieces. That is not the whole story, of course: for example, his first solo outing, First O’ The Darkening (2004) is full of joyful, lucid and beautiful music – it’s one of my favorite fiddle albums, actually – and his Chris Stout Quintet album Devil’s Advocate (2007) showcases a very versatile musician indeed, a quality I admire most highly.
A special mention has to be given to The Cauld Wind, a stunning 2013 album he did with piper Finlay MacDonald. With only an acoustic guitar backing them up on a few tracks, these two top musos created a tour de force of both traditional and original tunes played with such intensity and commitment that it just knocks me out every time, from the majestic Highlands anthem of Borve Castle to the happily shifting grooves and cultures of Border Crossing. But no matter who he plays with, Chris Stout is always on top of his game.
Chris Stout on the Web: