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Scottish Music

Scottish American Society

Scottish Music and Groups

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Scottish Songs and Groups


Scottish musical artists covered a wide range of themes from traditional Scottish through popular and country and western. The Scottish breadth of musical talent brought us joy, sadness, history and just plain nonsense. From the traditional Kilt and Heather troubadours like Harry Lauder to the “Bagrock” musicians on the circuit today, these artists have inspired Scots and others throughout the years.


We’d like to suggest some YouTube examples you might like to look over. The Scottish American Society does not have copyright rights to the songs featured, but have provided these links that are believed to be in the public domain. If you can suggest some others, let us know!


The Alexander Brothers

Tom and Jack Alexander were born in Cambusneath near Wishaw in 1935. Before pursuing a musical career they were house painters. As amateur performers they spent most of their spare time performing for elderly people in hospitals and for various charitable institutions in and around their hometown. In the spring of 1958, they entered a talent contest they easily won and went on to a professional career that spanned fifty five years. In recognition of their contributions to the world of music, they received MBEs from the Queen in the 2005 New Year Honours List.


Nobody’s Child



Andy Stewart

Born in Glasgow, in 1933 and in early childhood, he loved imitating people and amazed his parents with impersonations of famous singers and actors. He had aspirations of becoming a veterinary surgeon, before deciding to train as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.

A prolific lyricist, he penned words to many traditional Scottish tunes, e.g. "Green Hills of Tyrol" (which he called "A Scottish Soldier"), "The Black Bear" ("Tunes of Glory"), and "The Battle is Over"("The Battle's O'er") etc. He wrote his first lyric at the age of 14 (to a tune composed by his father) and called the song "My Hameland", which in 1969 (21 years later) became the title track of one of his most popular albums.

The Battle’s O’Er


Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor

Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor are remembered as one of Scotland's most popular folk duos. They first teamed up in January 1959 after meeting in Vienna, where the two were given much encouragement by Paul Robeson, who was playing at the same concert.

From 1961 to 1964, Robin and Jimmie appeared regularly on radio, and are particularly remembered for the series Hullabaloo. They went on to tour the world, record more than 20 albums, and appear on countless television programs. Other series' that brought them great acclaim and recognition were The White Heather Club, which they hosted for five years, and Out and About with Robin and Jimmie. With superb harmonies, Hall and MacGregor's large repertoire of songs, many of which they introduced during this period, have gone on to become folk standards; and yet their contribution to the folk scene has gone seemingly unnoticed in many circles.

Wha saw the 42nd


Matt McGinn

Matt McGinn  was a Scottish folk singer-songwriter, actor, author and poet. Born in Glasgow in the late 1920s. McGinn was a prolific songwriter and is recognised as an influential figure in the British folk music revival of the late fifties-early sixties.

McGinn joined the folk scene after winning a song contest with a song entitled "The Foreman O'Rourke". He met Pete Seeger in 1961 when Seeger was touring the British Isles. Seeger championed McGinn's music in the United States and arranged for McGinn to be part of a concert performance at Carnegie Hall, where McGinn met a young Bob Dylan. His career in music began during the folk revival of the 1960s but whilst others leaned towards traditional song, McGinn carved his own niche as a humourist and playwright as well as a singer/songwriter. He was a prolific songwriter, drawing on his experiences of Glasgow life for much of his material.

Coorie Doon (the Miner’s Lullaby)


Dougie MacLean

Dougie MacLean, is a Scottish singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Described by critic Craig Harris in AllMusic as "one of Scotland's premier singer-songwriters", MacLean's most famous pieces include "The Gael", the main theme to The Last of the Mohicans (1992); and "Caledonia", from his first album. The latter has been covered by numerous popular singers and groups, and called Scotland's unofficial national anthem.




Runrig are a Scottish Celtic rock group formed in Skye, in 1973 under the name 'The Run Rig Dance Band'. Since its inception, the band's line-up has included songwriters Rory Macdonald and Calum Macdonald. The current line-up also includes longtime members Malcolm Jones, Iain Bayne, and more recently, Bruce Guthro, and Brian Hurren. To date, the band has released fourteen studio albums, with a number of their songs sung in Scottish Gaelic.

Initially formed as a three-piece dance band, which played wedding receptions, the trio's first performance took place at Kelvin Hall, in Glasgow.

Runrig's music is often described as a blend of folk and rock music, with the band's lyrics often focusing upon locations, history, politics and people that are unique to Scotland. Songs also make references to agriculture and land conservation.

Alba Saor



Capercaillie are a Scottish folk band, founded in the 1980s by Donald Shaw and fronted by Karen Matheson. Capercaillie performs traditional Gaelic songs and tunes, as well as contemporary English language songs and tunes. The group adapts traditional Gaelic music and traditional lyrics with modern production techniques with instruments such as electric guitar or bass and rarely synthesisers or drum machines. Originating from Argyll, a region of western Scotland, the band is named after the Western Capercaillie, sometimes called a wood grouse, a native Scottish bird.

Waiting For the Wheel to Turn




Average White Band (also AWB) are a Scottish funk and R&B band that had a series of soul and disco hits between 1974 and 1980. They have influenced others such as the Brand New Heavies, and been sampled by various musicians including the Beastie Boys, TLC, The Beatnuts, Too Short, Ice Cube, Eric B. & Rakim, Nas, and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as Arrested Development – making them the fifteenth most sampled act in history. As of 2016, forty years after their formation, they continue to perform.


Pick Up the Pieces