Eagles tonight provided the perfect tonic to any post competition season blues with two very special performances.

RJ and the PM warm thing up

As usual, the Hon P/M opened proceedings having thankfully ditched the plain clothes look.

We then welcomed RJ from Las Vegas making his first public performance.  RJ has been visiting Scotland with his girlfriend Sam.  After a visit to Borreraig on Skye, Sam is now RJ’s fiancée.  Hopefully the magic of the MacCrimmons doesn’t wear off on the long flight back to the Nevada desert.

RJ (and Sam)

To break RJ in the PM had a couple of tunes with him before RJ went solo and played the 6/8s Fort Augustus Volunteers and Braemar Gathering followed by the ground of Lament for Mary MacLeod.  The latter was particularly enjoyable with RJ’s Strathmores set up beautifully.  For a debut, this was outstanding.

Robert Gray

Next up was the more seasoned and weather worn, Robert Gray.  His appearances at Eagles are becoming as regular and keenly anticipated as Chas’n’Daves’ Christmas Tours.  Robert also has a back catalogue to rival the cockney duo and gave us, amongst other tunes, Dr Ross’s 50th Welcome to the Argyllshire Gathering, Tug Argan Gap and the Seagull.

After the pie break, Dr Peter McCalister of Dunblane took charge.  The residents of Dunblane are very experienced with Andy Murray’s runner up status so it was with some excitement that they greeted Peter winning the Silver Medal at Oban in August.  Sadly no one was excited enough to ask Peter to join the open top bus parade though.

Peter was joined tonight by cellist, Iain McHugh of the Firebird String Quartet.  Iain is also a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  Peter and Iain opened with a couple of 2/4s followed by Dark Island, Islay’s Charms and Troy’s Wedding.

The Oban 2012 Silver Medalist

Their finale was Janette Montague’s piobaireachd Lament for the Old Man – probably the only piobaireachd written specifically for pipes and cello.  This was also possibly the first public performance of the tune.  The blend of the instruments (with the help of a small amp) was superb, producing a warm and rich harmonic. The tune, written about an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, captured the best of the two instruments and was a hugely engaging and enjoyable piece.  Many hours of hard work had gone into preparing for this.  Peter’s patients are obviously a fit bunch.

Peter and Iain’s performance will soon be up on our You Tube site. A very interesting listen

Douglas Gardiner


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