King Creosote will debut songs from his latest album - his 41st album! - at this year's HebCelt. Photo: Ross Trevail

Set for his first Hebridean Celtic Festival performance next month, music man Kenny Anderson admits he finds inspiration for his song writing from quite diverse subjects. 

And his forthcoming album, to be released later this year, will be no exception.

“The songs recorded most recently cover such topics as my dislike of wind turbines, my yearning for inter-galactic travel, tackling Broughton Street in Edinburgh on crutches, apologising for bad behaviour and the similarities between break ups and trench warfare,” said the artist better known as King Creosote.

“I also wrote my first overtly political song recently but so far I've kept it to myself.

“When we played in St Andrews on St Andrew's Day, the front row was made up of Mediterranean teenagers all waving saltires - that image also found its way into a song.”

This wide ranging collection will be gathered onto his 41st album - yes, the 41st album from the prolific Fife artist who will be making his debut at the Hebridean Celtic Festival next month.

Why has it taken him so long to play the award-winning festival, marking its 21st birthday this year? 

“One of my main pastimes is to keep myself busy whilst waiting to be asked,” he said.

“Three of the King Creosote band missed our slot at Latitude (festival) last summer having been booked to play HebCelt with their other bands. So I'm thinking they maybe put in a good word for me.”

The HebCelt audience will be among the first to hear the new songs, as well as numbers from ‘Diamond Mine’ - Kenny’s 2011 collaboration with Jon Hopkins which was nominated for the Mercury Prize and Scottish Album of the Year Award - and 2014’s ‘From Scotland With Love’, a collection of compositions specially created for Virginia Heath's documentary using Scottish archive film footage. 

The FSWL songs were performed live as part of Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games cultural programme.

HebCelt will be a new experience, but it has already set his imagination working: “I've no idea what to expect really, but I recently read the ‘Lewis Trilogy’ by Peter May so I hope there's an ongoing (fictional) murder mystery as a backdrop to the festival.

“I'll have played at Louis-from-Admiral-Fallow's wedding the night before, so here's hoping I don't get into a muddle and open with a Taylor Swift song.”

He added: “Festivals are the shows that can afford a bigger band, so the sound is more lush, and we tend to drop the really slow songs. 

“I cut out 90 per cent of my 'hilarious' between-song banter. And each time I play a festival I thank my lucky stars that I've no chance of ever becoming a one hit wonder.”

The success of ‘From Scotland With Love’ has exposed King Creosote music to a new demographic and a new level of fame for the man behind the songs.

He said: “Since FSWL, the average age of our audience switched from being 10-15 years younger than me to 10-15 years older.

“I'm delighted with that result, for this older lot still buy records and DVDs, and have no interest in streaming and the like. I live in a village full of retirement homes, so it’s good to be recognised in the Co-op at long last.”

It also brought him to the attention of other film makers, although he has yet to take up their offers: “Since FSWL there have been a couple of offers from film types who obviously typed the words ‘archive footage’ and ‘Scottish songwriter’ into Google, but I didn't take on either project.

“It's a misconception that I wrote an actual soundtrack. Instead I simply wrote a few songs that were left more open-ended than usual so that a film director and sound designer could have the final say.”

In the meantime, he will keep writing using everyday life – and the need to offset his shopping habits – as inspiration.

“There's nothing like a new musical toy to get the tunes flowing, meaning I quickly have something to sing against and a hole in my bank account to fill.

“Fitting words to existing la-la-la tunes is a lot harder than surreptitiously copying down the conversations overheard on the train. I bought a new drum machine in November, so even though I didn't take it out of its box until last month I like to think that in some parallel universe that one particular purchase attracted all those flag waving exchange students to the front of the stage on November 30th.”

The 21st HebCelt will be held from July 13th to 16th with Runrig heading a line-up of nearly 50 acts over the four days, including the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Hayseed Dixie, Julie Fowlis, Astrid, John McCusker and Breabach.

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