Bagpipes, mandolins, drums and accordions: Rawlins Cross back on the road

Ian McKinnon, Rawlins Cross

It’s hard to keep a good band down!

Despite the snow and cold temperatures in the Maritimes this week, there is a band touring the region that is likely to heat up more than a few venues along the way. Rawlins Cross is back.

I am a BIG fan of this traditional Celtic rock band named after an intersection in St. John’s,

Heart Head Hand

Newfoundland. The group has been around since the 1980’s and my great friend Ian McKinnon is the bagpiper in this group. In fact, I spent some time on the road many years ago hanging out with the band during another Maritime tour.  The group has produced several great albums and has recently regrouped and recorded their eighth album called “Heart Head Hands”. Ian, Joey, Dave and Geoff, Howie and Brian are back on the road, touring the Maritimes January 13-22 for the first time in 12 years. One of the songs on the recording, “Grandmother’s Song” has already caught some attention. After performing the song for Queen Elizabeth during her Royal visit in June, the band received a request from Prime Minister Stephen Harper (an accomplished pianist) for the sheet music. Maybe we’ll hear the PM sing/play this at the next Conservative Party convention.

Rawlins Cross

What’s great about Rawlins Cross is the fact it has been at the vanguard of the fusion of Celtic traditional music with the rhythms of rock, pop and world beat music. From soulful Highland Air’s (MacPherson’s Lament) or a raucous party song (Colleen, Wild Rose, Reel ‘n’ Roll), Rawlins Cross never fails to drive the crowd into a frenzy. Rawlins Cross is always a fan favourite on the North American and European music festival circuit consistently earning return engagements. As a bagpiper, Ian is unmatched in both his technical and musical ability. The MacKinnon’s of MacKinnon’s Brook in the Inverness area of Cape Breton have deep Celtic roots and you can hear that unique Nova Scotia Scot sound in Ian’s music. I also hear it in the bagpiping of Matt MacIsaac, one of the best pipers to come out of the Maritime’s in many years (and that’s saying a lot).

So when are we going to see Rawlins Cross tour Western Canada? That I don’t know. I ask Ian when he’s coming out, but so far there are no plans. Let’s see how the Maritime tour goes, and then hopefully the boys will start to work their way over the Rockies into BC. And if they do, get your tickets early. There are a lot of Maritimer’s who know this band, will want tickets and are sure to make their concert one that won’t be forgotten soon.

As a parting gift, I’m attaching a video of one of Rawlins Cross’s biggest hits. I think you’ll like it.

About Mike Chisholm

Official Piper: Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours. Pitt River Resort. Exec. Dir. ScotFestBC: The British Columbia Highland Games, Director, BC Pipers' Assn. Former journalist, Nova Scotian, Dad.
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