Fiddlers Crossing tries to honor its Celtic roots by offering an Irish concert on or around St. Patrick’s Day in March, a Scottish one to celebrate Robbie Burns’ birthday at the end of January, and presenting the Winterdance Celtic concert at Christmas.
This year, to honor Robbie Burns and Scotland, the venue is presenting Jim Malcolm at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27. This will be his second visit to Tehachapi. Malcolm is considered one of the finest voices and interpreters of Robert Burns songs in Scottish traditional music today. He was the lead singer for the world-renowned band Old Blind Dogs for eight years before returning to his solo career as a singer-songwriter.
Malcolm’s family roots are in Perthshire and Strathclyde, and he is a graduate of Edinburgh University. Like many folk musicians, he began his career by singing in pubs, clubs and hotels in his native country. Solo tours to England, Ireland, Denmark and Germany followed, and then further adventures to such far-off places as Uganda in Africa. Joining the already established and popular Celtic folk/rock band Old Blind Dogs brought him fame in the acoustic music festival scene across Europe and North America.
A Jim Malcolm concert is always an entertaining mix of his own and traditional songs, including those of Burns, peppered with funny stories and observations in the tradition of Scottish bards through the ages. An accomplished guitarist, he plays mostly in the Celtic tuning dadgad. He is also considered to be one of the top simultaneous guitar and harmonica players in the world.
Malcolm has recorded 11 solo CDs, and has performed his songs with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 2004, he was voted songwriter of the year at the annual Scots Traditional Music Awards. Along with his own songs, he enjoys reworking old songs that form the kernel of Scotland’s great folk tradition.
At home in Scotland, Malcolm enjoys spending time with his children and fly fishing on the rivers and lochs of Perthshire. In winter, he has lately been heading for the Glenshee Ski Resort with a snowboard and, he says, “a great deal of padding.” Apparently, the ice on Scotland’s slopes make for “quite a hard landing.”
Fiddlers Crossing is at 206 E. F St. at Robinson Street, in downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased at Mountain Music, at Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, and Lucky’s Barbershop, or online through fiddlerscrossing.com. Tickets to the concert are $20, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. The concert begins at 3 p.m. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.
On the horizon: Jann Klose, Dulcie Taylor, Whitherward, Dave Stamey
Deborah Hand-Cutler, a former mayor of the City of Tehachapi, owns Mountain Music, where she teaches cello and mountain dulcimer.