Gavin Marwick Bands

Journeyman

Originally the title of Gav’s record label, he also used it for his 2008 New Voices commission for Celtic Connections, and from there Journeyman has become a kind of catch-all umbrella term to cover the promotion and performance of his tune writing and composing. As a live show it has had different forms between three and thirteen musicians, and is very much a Gavin Marwick and Friends kind of a thing.

Amongst Journeyman’s numerous strands are:

Quarterdays (2023), a series of four EPs of original musical pieces by Gav recorded as a musical response to the lore and cultural history of the old Scots Quarter Days. Each EP was recorded as a duo and with a different musical partner for each one, to give each of these mini-albums their own colour and character.

Candlemas with Aaron Jones (cittern),
Whitsun with Wendy Stewart (harp),
Lammas with Ruth Morris (nyckelharpa),
Martinmas with Phil Alexander (accordion/ piano)

The Quarterdays music is inspired by and dedicated to aspects of the lore, ritual, and the cultural history surrounding these special festival days and their function as markers of the annual cycle of the seasons. Fire and holy water, food, saints, farmers, fairies, hopes, prayers and magic all mingle within the hiring fairs and the healing wells as the months pass.

Impressions of Galloway (2018) was a commission from Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival to write a forty minute piece for The Scottish Ensemble in concert with a six-piece Journeyman line up. It was written in six sections - The Estuary, The Land, Ascending Hills, Snow, People and Place, Time and Place - and reflected Gavin’s early impressions of the south west since moving there a few years before.
The Journeyman line up was Gavin on fiddle, Ruth Morris on nyckelharpa and fiddle, Fraser Fifield on pipes, sax and whistles, Jenn Butterworth on guitar, Angus Lyon on accordion and piano and Davy Cattanach on percussion.
It was an incredible evening in the Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries, and there’s a short video of highlights on Youtube - and on the videos page on this site. It would be great to revisit this project some time!

Some Desperate Glory/ In Stahlgewittern (2016) was a a Passchendaele Remembrance concert, performed in the High Kirk In Passchendaele. Extracts from the memoirs of a British army officer (Edwin Campion Vaughan, who wrote Some Desperate Glory) and a German army officer (Ernst Jünger, who wrote In Stahlgewittern) were to be read out and the commission was for music to underscore, link and give atmosphere and also included German, Belgian and pipe music of the time.

The Journeyman Spectacular (2014) was the name given to the ten piece plus Journeyman big band that did a couple of years of Scottish tours and UK festivals (including Celtic Connections, Fiddles on Fire (Sage, Newcastle), Wickham) promoting The Long Road and The Far Horizons album. It was nominated as Live Act of the Year in 2014 Scots Trad Music Awards. As well as playing Gav’s music everyone involved had a chance to do something of their own too so there was moments of, for example, Bellevue Rendezvous or an Old Blind Dogs Allstars depending on who was in the band that night. One reviewer described the experience as an entire folk festival on stage. An amazingly powerful experience, particularly with everyone going full throttle on the bigger numbers. It’s rare for the band to get above 6 or 7 piece these days…
Musicians who have played in the various Journeyman line-ups are:
Gavin Marwick (fiddle)
Ruth Morris (nyckelharpa/ fiddle)
Jonny Hardie (fiddle/ guitar/ vocals)
Claire Mann (fiddle/ flute)
Fraser Fifield (pipes/ sax/ whistles/ cajon)
Marc Duff (whistles/ bodhran)
Wendy Stewart (harp/ concertina)
Leo McCann (button box/ whistle)
Gregor Lowrey (accordion)
Phil Alexander (accordion/ piano)
Angus Lyon (accordion/ piano)
Bob Turner (piano)
Jenn Butterworth (guitar)
Cammy Robson (cittern)
Aaron Jones (cittern, bass, vocals)
Stuart Macpherson (double bass)
Davy Cattanach (percussion/ guitar/ vocals)
Calum McIntyre (percussion)
And, briefly but wonderfully, Sharon Hassan and Carol Anderson on fiddles.
And Pete Challoner (fiddle) and Tim Dalling (accordion) who recorded on the album.

The Long Road and The Far Horizons (2014) was the first recording of Gav’s using exclusively his own writing. It’s a double album with a run time of close on two hours and was recorded with a cast of thirteen musical friends. Although there is no one track with everyone on it the collective palette offered a thousand different ways of approaching the various tunes and everyone involved had terrific input. Gav jokingly likes to say “the one thing it taught me was never ever do a double album.”

Horizons (2014) is the first printed volume of Gav’s music. It was self published, with assistance from Creative Scotland, and contains 200 tunes. It is kind of a musical anthology and contains everything he’d written that had been recorded or otherwise brought into the public eye by 2014, also all the tunes that were recorded on The Long Road and The Far Horizons double album, and a fair number of other tunes that have never been performed at all before. It includes Davidson the Luthier, Balkan Red, Sandy Broon’s and The Granton Backsteps.

New Voices (2008) New Voices is a commissioned Celtic Connections opportunity to give composers a stage to present new work on, one every Sunday lunchtime throughout the festival. Gav was offered this chance in 2008 which he did with the cunning plan of not wasting a second of his performance time on speaking- it’s arranged as an hour straight through of tunes. Working on it with five musical pals (Ruth Morris and Cammy Robson from Bellevue Rendezvous, Bob Turner and Gregor Lowrey from Ceilidh Minogue and Fraser Fifield) it’s clearly the first step in what became The Long Road album and the Journeyman Spectacular. This show was titled Journeyman, and there is a DVD of the whole show, elements of which are on Youtube.

Journeyman has been Gav’s independent recording label since 2007. The full catalogue is:
JYM001 Bellevue Rendezvous TANGENTS (2007)
JYM002 Bellevue Rendezvous  SALAMANDER (2010)
JYM003 Up in the Air MOONSHINE (2012)
JYM004 Gavin Marwick THE LONG ROAD AND THE FAR HORIZONS (2014)
JYM005 Bellevue Rendezvous WHILE ROME BURNS (2017)

JYMQD001  Gavin Marwick and Aaron Jones CANDLEMAS (2023)
JYMQD002  Gavin Marwick and Wendy Stewart  WHITSUN (2023)
JYMQD003  Gavin Marwick and Ruth Morris  LAMMAS (2023)
JYMQD004  Gavin Marwick and Phil Alexander  MARTINMAS (2023)
JYMQD005  Gavin Marwick and Friends  QUARTERDAYS Complete Box Set (2023)