EDITORS CHOICE: Country meets Celtic as Raintown explore musical roots in new album, Acoustic Heart

Glasgow-based duo Raintown, known for their explosive brand of contemporary Scottish country music, have announced the release of their third studio album Acoustic Heart. Out Friday 26 April, the record delves into a rich tapestry of acoustic sounds and heartfelt melodies, showcasing a seamless blend of Celtic, Country and acoustic elements, all underpinned by the band’s signature dynamic energy and unmistakable vocal identity.

The beloved duo, comprising husband and wife Claire McArthur Bain on vocals and Paul Bain on vocals and guitar, undergo a transformation like never before with Acoustic Heart, breaking away from their previous rock-infused releases and leaning into Celtic-inspired transatlantic melodies, all the while remaining quintessentially Raintown.

While the record is led by Claire and Paul, Acoustic Heart is a testament to the power of combined creativity. It features an impressive lineup of musicians including longtime bandmate Stevie Lawrence (acoustic guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, percussion), whose rich background in Scottish traditional music came to the fore in the album’s production.

Claire, Paul and Stevie are joined by Scott MacPherson (bass, harmony vocals), Fiona Cuthill (fiddle, viola), John Alexander (drums), Fraser Speirs (harmonica), Iain Duff (accordion, piano), Catherine Ashcroft (Uilleann pipes, whistles), Tim Black (five-string banjo), Wendy Weatherby (cello), Dougie Stevenson (dobro), Leon Thorne (saxophones), Douglas West (trumpet), Stephen Caban (acoustic guitar) and Philip Woodrow (snare drum).

Claire McArthur Bain said: “This record takes an inward look at who we are as musicians and the true essence of Raintown. We took inspiration from the Transatlantic Sessions which brings together the best music of Nashville, Ireland and Scotland – three areas whose music has inspired us greatly over the course of our career.

“We wanted to peel away the layers with Acoustic Heart, unveiling the heart of each track and song. With Stevie’s rich background in trad music and our own unique perspective on country music and songwriting, we felt we had the appropriate tools to see our musical vision for this album come to life.”

Paul Bain added: “To us, Acoustic Heart isn’t just a new album, treading the standard, well-beaten path, but a testament to the power of collaborative creativity. It’s the fusion of tradition and innovation, celebrating the essence of each song and the unexpected magic that happens when talented musicians come together with a shared vision.”

The album introduces nine new compositions alongside reimagined versions of Raintown’s previous songs such as Writing on the Wall and Light the Fuse Up. With each song, the pair invite listeners on a journey into the heart of their music, offering a fresh perspective on familiar tunes, while staying true to their spirited energy and vocal identity.

The tracks featured on the album have a range of compelling themes, from heartbreak to hope. My Whole World explores the tragedy of losing a loved one, with Claire’s stunning vocals shining alongside Stevie’s skillful guitar playing. The epitome of a country song, it is sung from the perspective of a woman making the painful decision to sell her wedding dress after her fiance has passed away.

Another stand-out track is Day In The Sun, a rallying cry for self-discovery and empowerment; a reminder that sometimes, the path to growth requires leaving behind the familiar and venturing into the unknown. It showcases Raintown’s impeccable storytelling abilities, and serves as a poignant anthem for those seeking brighter horizons, better days and the courage to embrace change.

Play It Loud is a fun-filled song encouraging listeners to seize the day and rediscover the exhilaration of being alive. Inspired by the whirlwind of parenthood, this anthem celebrates those precious moments of reconnecting with loved ones after a hiatus from the daily grind. Each note resonates with acoustic brilliance, crafting a melodic tapestry designed to both uplift and inspire.

Boasting an impressive 16 awards and with two critically acclaimed albums under their belt, Raintown are a musical force to be reckoned with. Their live shows are a feast for the senses, with energetic and charismatic performances that leave audiences delighted and enthralled. They will be touring throughout 2024, with an album launch concert at Glasgow’s Òran Mór on Friday 17 May and further dates confirmed at Nairn Community Centre on Saturday 29 June and London’s Water Rats on Wednesday 3 July.

Acoustic Heart was recorded at The Audio Lounge in Glasgow. It was produced by Stevie Lawrence and mastered by Scott Wood at Oak Ridge Studio. The album will be available to stream and download from Friday 26 April 2024.