Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stars take to home-town stage for Gerry Rafferty tribute

A star-studded line-up led a powerful musical tribute to Paisley songwriting legend Gerry Rafferty during a unique event to honour the singer in his home town.

Paisley Town Hall provided a spectacular setting as a spellbound capacity crowd was treated to an evening of Gerry’s greatest hits by his family, friends and fans.

The show – on what would have been Gerry’s 67th birthday - was directed and compered by his lifelong friend and collaborator Rab Noakes.

Featured artists Barbara Dickson, Roddy Hart, Emma Pollock and Siobhan Wilson all took turns as the lead singer, with Gerry’s daughter Martha and other family members providing backing vocals on various songs.

A 24-piece orchestra made up by members of the RSNO added an extra musical layer as songs spanning Gerry’s career – from his early Humblebums days through to his million-selling solo work - were reworked.

The concert opened with the aptly-titled New Street Blues – inspired by his home town – with international hit such as Baker Street and Right Down the Line following.

Between songs, artists talked of how Gerry’s work had helped inspire theirs, with Rab Noakes adding a personal touch with the tale of how the pair had first met as up-and-coming musicians – introduced by Billy Connolly – back in 1969.

The concert was the centrepiece of a week-long festival of music at various venues in Paisley, all inspired by Gerry’s songwriting legacy.

It was timed to take place alongside an exhibition into his life and work, which will run at Paisley Museum until 18 May.

The Renfrewshire-Council-supported-festival will close on Saturday with a Celebration of Scottish Songwriting Show in Paisley Town Hall featuring Midge Ure, James Grant, Hamish Stuart, Karine Polwart and more.

Each artist will perform some of their own songs, plus other material from their favourite Scottish performers.

The remaining tickets for that show are available on a buy-one-get-one-free basis from or by calling 0300 300 1210. They will also be available on the door at Paisley Town Hall from 5.30pm on Saturday.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall – who hosted a short reception for artists and guests in the town hall after the show – said: “It was a wonderful occasion and there could be no more fitting setting for this concert than here in Gerry’s home town.

“This was a great way for the people of Paisley to celebrate the life and work of one of the town’s greatest sons.

“We are very proud of the town’s cultural and musical heritage and Gerry’s work takes its place at the forefront of that tradition.”

The event is being organised by Renfrewshire Council, with support from Homecoming Scotland, Creative Scotland and the Rafferty family.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


The Look Up Paisley phone app offers pictures and audio from ten important heritage sites around the town for residents and visitors alike.

The sites featured are – Paisley Abbey, town hall, the Russell Institute, the arts centre, the snail in a bottle site, the museum and library, Coats Memorial Church, the grand fountain, Sma’ Shot Cottages and Paisley Cross.

The free-to-download app has been available in iPhone format for a couple of months, but has now been released for Android users too.

App users will find each site has accompanying audio footage telling the story of the building’s history – meaning the user is talked through the town’s hidden secrets, such as the network of tunnels that form the Abbey Drains.

Many of the audio clips are voiced by staff and volunteers from tourist sites and by local residents.

To launch the app, Councillors Terry Kelly and Bill Brown, Convener and Deputy Convener of the council’s Planning and Property Board, were joined by Sma Shot Cottage volunteers June Kennedy and Cath Mitchell, and by the Abbey’s David Goldie.

Councillor Kelly said: “Paisley has a superb architectural heritage – the town centre has the second-highest concentration of listed buildings of anywhere in Scotland, behind only Edinburgh.

“This phone app is a handy guide to the pick of those buildings which will be of interest and use to residents and tourists alike.

“The Look Up Paisley name is a fitting one – because people have to literally look up when walking around the town to get the best view of the stunning detail and architectural treasures you may miss if only looking at eye-level.

“The council has big plans to use Paisley’s considerable heritage appeal to drive the regeneration of the town and boost tourism – and this phone app is another way for people to fully appreciate the value of what we have here.”

To download the app, visit the Apple store or Google Play store on your smartphone (assuming device is compatible) and download it from there.
History-lovers are being encouraged to be a tourist in their own town thanks to a new mobile phone app which acts as a virtual guide to Paisley’s best buildings.