This song comes from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and I first heard it sung by Norma Waterson on Waterson:Carthy’s eponymous debut album of 1994. The title refers to the Caledonian coal pits, and there are a number of local places mentioned throughout the song. The words take the form of small fragments of memory, as our narrator describes his experiences working at the Number 3 coal seam with his brother. It paints a picture of a tough life: eking out a living, finding food where they can, being refused credit at the local shop. But there is a real warmth and nostalgia to this song all the same, and verse five is pure poetry. This arrangement features the wonderful fiddle playing of Fiona MacAskill.
Sarah Hayes is a singer and multi-instrumentalist based in Glasgow, where she leads a varied musical life, performing and teaching across a range of settings.
She grew up in Northumberland playing folk and traditional music, and has been involved in band projects, touring, recording and performance since her early teens. Sarah spent six years studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD) and is a member of the Northern Lights Wind Quintet, Flutes en Route flute quartet and the Glasgow New Music Expedition. She released her debut solo EP, Mainspring, in May 2013 on her own label, and is also a member of successful indie-pop band Admiral Fallow, who have toured the UK, Europe, USA and Australia, and released two albums to critical acclaim.
Recent highlights include: performing Inge Thomson’s ‘Da Fishing Hands’ with an all-star band in Shetland, a sold out show with Admiral Fallow and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at Paisley Abbey, and solo support slots for Anais Mitchell and the Aidan O’Rourke Quintet. In autumn 2013, Celtic Connections commissioned Sarah for its annual New Voices concert series. Her 45-minute composition, Woven, was premiered at the festival in January 2014, and earned a five star review in the Scotsman newspaper.
“Ambitiously conceived and beautifully realised…nothing short of masterful” review of Celtic Connections commission, ‘Woven’ – Sue Wilson (The Scotsman, Jan 2014)
Single Duration – 3:34
Record Label – Night Vad
Catalogue Number – NV001, ISRC Code – UK-24Q-13-00001
Writers – Trad arr Sarah Hayes
Publishers – Nettwerk One Ltd
Explicit – No
Additional Search Terms – Northumberland, Glasgow, Flute, Vocals