Mutual respect on show as folk star Karen Matheson gets ready to meet fans again

Karen Matheson is playing in Langholm next month.
Karen Matheson is playing in Langholm next month.
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Fans of Scottish folk music veterans Capercaillie have nothing to grouse about as their frontwoman, Karen Matheson, is heading back out on the road for the second time this year.

The band, formed in Argyll in 1984, might be taking a bit of time out, but Matheson is keeping busy and is about to head out on her second tour of 2016, kicking off at this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival in Shropshire in England later this month and taking in a date at Langholm’s Buccleuch Centre on Wednesday, September 21.

She’ll also be playing in Greenock, Manchester, Shipley, Gateshead, Bristol, Oxford, Sheffield and London.

The 53-year-old, born in the village of Taynuilt in Argyll but a resident of Glasgow for the last 25 years, is currently promoting her fourth solo album, Urram, that being Gaelish for respect.

Released in October last year, it’s her first solo album for a decade – following 1996’s The Dreaming Sea, 2002’s Time to Fall and 2005’s Downriver – and also her first one to be sung entirely in Gaelic.

Matheson, given an Order of the British Empire in 2006 for services to music, says she can’t wait to get back on the road again as that, she says, is the part of her career she likes best.

“There’s an intimacy about playing live that’s lovely, and you can’t quite capture that live thing on record,” she said.

“It’s great to be creative in the studio, and you can do lots of stuff there that you can’t do live, but I just prefer that response you get from a live audience.”

The importance of retaining that rapport with her fans is probably is probably as good an indication of how down to earth Matheson remains – desite acclaim from the likes of James Bond actor Sean Connery, an appearance in the 1995 Hollywood blockbuster Rob Roy, a prime slot at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games’ closing ceremony and record sales in excess of the million mark that most other folk acts would envy – as her continuing bafflement, a decade on, about being given an OBE.

“You can’t help thinking that these things shouldn’t really apply to the likes of me and that you are in a very privileged job if they do,” she said.

“I am aware that the whole system of honours is controversial, but this isn’t something you would want to frown upon because, to me, it’s the genre of Scottish folk music itself that is being recognised and not just me.”

Tickets for Matheson’s Langholm show cost £17.50. For details, go to www.buccleuchcentre.com or www.karenmatheson.com