Scottish duo Doghouse Roses head to Hastings and Brighton

Photo by James Morrison
Photo by James Morrison

Acclaimed Scottish duo Doghouse Roses are offering a south-coast double on the back of their new album.

Iona MacDonald and Paul Tasker are playing Jenny Lind Inn, 69 High Street, Hastings on Sunday, February 9 (free entry, doors 4pm, 01424 421392) and The Greys Freehouse, Southover Street, Brighton on Monday, February 10 (doors 7.30pm, £12, 01273 232615).

Their most recent album, We Are Made Of Light, came out at the start of November – a collection of songs, some new, others written over the band’s 15 years together but previously unrecorded.

“We did some dates last year and then a couple of weeks in the Netherlands and Germany and then it was Christmas and life went back to normal for a couple of weeks, and now we are starting up again,” Paul says.

“The album is 12 tracks. We have always written a lot of material.

“We had quite a lot of stuff that was knocking around that maybe we hadn’t recorded in previous years but then we realised had some potential, and we also had some brand-new songs as well for this record.

“Sometimes when you are working on something, you know that there is a song there, but you just can’t find your way into it.

“You are playing with a square peg and you have got a round hole, and it is like sometimes if there is a problem.

“You go out and leave it and have a walk and when you come back you find that you have solved it.

“And it is a bit like that with songs sometimes.

“Sometimes you have got a song that needs a more relaxed feel to it but you have got a lot going on with it and you can’t find a way to dial it down maybe 20 per cent… And we can’t afford to have three weeks in the studio making multiple recordings of it.

“So sometimes you just have to leave a song and you come back to it and you can find a way to make it work.”

Of the 12 songs featured, half are performed by the duo – Iona on vocals and Paul on guitars, banjo and harmony vocals.

The remainder of the songs add percussion (Paul’s school friend Neil Allan) and strings (arranged by Pete Harvey and played by the Pumpkinfield trio) adding an extra dimension.

Paul and Iona have been working together since 2005: “I was living in Aberdeen and I was running a guitar class above a pub called The Blue Lamp which was a big music venue, and one day Iona came along with a friend.

“We did the class and they stayed for a drink and we got chatting, and we started chatting about music.

“We found that we liked the same songs, and so we would meet up and play some songs together.

“At first we played lots of Fairport Convention songs. We were both into Fairport Convention at that time.

“We were just wanting to play songs that we loved, and I wouldn’t say that we got bored of playing covers, but after a while, we said to each other ‘Have you got any songs?’ And I said yes, I had lots and Iona said yes, she had lots.

“I was always writing original material, and I sup-pose you are looking to bring in other influences, and in a way it is easier and harder.

“You are trying to find something different. You don’t always want to be trying to capture Fairport Convention.

“You want to be finding your own ways.”

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