Willie Campbell is a Scottish singer- songwriter based on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Regarded by a broad cross-reach of respected voices as among the finest songwriters in the country, Campbell came to widespread attention co-fronting Astrid, and also as a founding member of Gary Lightbody’s Reindeer Section. The Open Day Rotation, have released two critically acclaimed albums- 2008 debut, Down by the Head, and , Toxic Good Toxic Bad (2012), the latter produced by Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian). Campbell released an album of original Gaelic songs cowritten with traditional music veteran Calum Martin entitled “Dalma” in 2014.
After signing to Craig Wiseman’s Big Loud shirt Publishing in 2008, Willie went to Nashville to experience song writing on music row. The approach and experience seeped into his songwriting and is particularly evident on this new collection of songs produced by Tony Doogan.
New Clouds In Motion is an album of Americana influenced songs from the Western Isles of Scotland. Willie Campbell & The open Day Rotation are happy to share their third album with you.
The sound has developed and grown as has the songwriting. They are Campbell’s personal accounts of growing up late into an adult life from the city and back to the beauty of the band's home on the Isle of Lewis.
“Campell rises above all other references and stakes his claim to being one of the country’s truly great pop songwriters”. The Herald
Strange Weather Lately (1999) Astrid
Play Dead (2001) Astrid
One in Four (2004) Astrid
Immune To Bad News EP (2005) Our Small Capital
Down by the Head (2008) Open day Rotation
Toxic Good Toxic Bad (2012) Open day Rotation
Visible From Space (2012) Kevin MacNeil and Willie Campbell
Dalma (2014) Willie Campbell
New Clouds in Motion (2017) Willie Campbell & The Open Day Rotation
Hi-Fi Lo-Fi EP
What To Say
Boy Or Girl / Sleigh Ride (2000) Cherry Cherry (2000)
High In The Morning (2000) Redground" (2000)
Modes Of Transport EP (2001) Tick Tock" (2001)
Never Happened (2001)
Red Ground (2001)
Local Man Ruins Everything (2005)
Dance a Little Better - The Tumbling Souls (2017)
City of Adelaide - The Tumbling Souls (2017)
The Reindeer Section - Y'All Get Scared Now, Ya Hear! (2001)
The Reindeer Section - Son of Evil Reindeer (2002)
“There must be something in the Scottish air that inspires this kind of thing. Regardless, it’s a gorgeous, compelling listen”. Drowned in Sound
“Take all that's good at the tuneful end of the Scottish pop-rock spectrum, distill it many times over and, if talent is on your side, what remains is the pure melodic core of this second album by The Open Day Rotation” The Herald
“Campbell and MacNeil’s first single is built around the former’s chiming music box-cadence, absolutely beautiful”. The Guardian
Ishpel Murray at ceòl 's craic suggested Me and Calum do something together in Gaelic
after playing on the same bill at their monthly event at the CCA. Unrelated to that, Alex Macdonald at An Lanntair had been making similar suggestions for a few years, the 2 of us working together seemed like an inevitability. I had a Song I thought may lend itself well to Gaelic, Very personal lyrically, I thought the change in Language may take some of the emotion out of it, it didn't as it happens, It's track 6 on the Album. Calum did a translation and I learnt something important about how that process works... a literal translation sometimes doesn't sound great. Calum changed some phrases, I in turn changed the Melody to fit the Gaelic and the number of syllables and it all came together fairly easily, it was a useful lesson. We got to work on some more songs but both had other things to finish off, we were always chipping away over the months and the song list came together. We didn't have a set way of working, I had some full songs that Calum translated or, as my Cousin Duncan puts it 'retold', Calum had some musical ideas I wrote some melodies and words for. We basically had a lot of fun and did what we thought was best for the songs, for me that meant ditching guitar ideas in the studio that I'd worked on or ideas each of us thought would be great not making it onto the album. I think it's all worked out well. We are both all about getting the very best out of a tune, ditching parts we worked hard on being the price for that.
Singing in Gaelic feels pretty natural to me. I'm not approaching it as anything other than a language. Although I'm not fluent, I was raised around Gaelic speaking but not so much the music,( Status Quo and 60's compilations got played on our record player). I'm one of those people that will understand what's being said but don't feel confident enough to answer in Gaelic. It's been great Knowing I can approach the actual performance the same way as an English song, for me that is generally screwing my face up and belting it out. Not very technical. I was in a group called astrid, we were together from the late 90's up to 2004. We were good friends with a Welsh band we toured with Called Big Leaves, They suggested we do a split single, Welsh and Gaelic. We dismissed the idea. I thought we were cooler than we were. Gaelic seemed a bit foosty to me, I was wrapped up in a musical scene we weren't really part of, the bottom line is it would just have not looked very cool. Of Course, with hindsight it would have been a very interesting and unexpected thing to do and could potentially have opened up our career as a band, partly other people's opinions stopped us I suppose. Now I'm a bit older I have a lot less of that baggage. I don't expect everyone to enjoy this album but I do hope my enthusiasm for singing in Gaelic and for these songs is apparent. Someone without Gaelic can enjoy this set of songs. Tony Doogan has done a great job mixing, I hope there is something for everyone.
I have a lovely piano I still can't play, my music room is full of push chair and plastic stuff normally. It's magnificent. As a result it meant I wrote a couple of these songs in my car. Out at cuddy point, Stornoway to be precise, every time another car came I felt really resentful and annoyed. Did they not know I was doing something important?
I wrote some music for Grunnd na Marra out on the Pentland Road, it wasn't very good. The car didn't always work. Sometimes just an empty house and coffee is best. I scrapped my first attempt at putting music to Kevin's great words, sat in my Kitchen and got something better. The first song that Me and Calum did together in Gaelic was written on a grey day looking out the window sitting with my guitar. Tolsta can be a bit heavy feeling but also very beautiful and inspiring. It features in the Lyrics of the album often, particularly the Traigh Mhòr. A breathtaking place in any weather.
I've really enjoyed working with Calum, we have similar tastes musically. Although he seemed surprised I was so into the Louvin Brothers, their version of Nearer My God To Thee is something incredible. I knew listening to it that there would be space in the melody for Gaelic words, so why not? Calum's translation is great. Musically I wanted to keep it as close to the original as possible. Calum's friend in Nashville, Scott, made sure of that.
I've included 2 songs with English vocal takes at the end of the album, just for anyone listening that is interested in hearing how the songs develop when translated. Thank you for buying this album.