What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Leslie pays tribute to Scotland on new album

Posted October 10, 2013
Updated October 12, 2013

— WRAL's very own Bill Leslie is an accomplished musician. With nine albums since 2001, Leslie thinks his best work is his current album, Scotland: Grace of the Wild.

"The sound is a little sweeter," Leslie said giving credit to Greg Calbi of Sterling Sound in New York who handled mastering the album. Calbi has mastered albums for the likes of Paul Simon, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Norah Jones and Bruce Springsteen

"I think it really made a difference in the 14 tracks on the album including five traditional Scottish tunes and nine original pieces – all instrumental," Leslie said. 

Anyone who knows Leslie is aware of his Scottish roots. The album was based on a trip he and his son, Will, took two years ago – a graduation gift.

"Will Leslie wanted to see the land of the ancient Leslie clan. He wanted to taste the food and drink of Scotland and spend late nights chatting with the locals. He wanted to walk the grounds of castle ruins and reflect on the haunting histories," Leslie said. "It was my third trip to Scotland. Early morning forays to scenic locations for photographs really got my creative juices flowing. I found a profound grace in the wild grandeur of moor and mountain. New melodies grew out of those quiet moments just before and after dawn. Other tunes emerged while traveling with Will and my wife Cindy during Scotland."

Leslie also had high praise for the musicians on the album, including violinist Jennifer Curtis, cellists Nancy Green and David Oh and the North Carolina Symphony's Melanie Wilsden on the oboe.

"I did my usual Celtic whistle and flute, acoustic guitar and keyboard routine and my son played percussion," Leslie added. 

The album had a slight delay when New England Conservatory of Music graduate Bill Covington, who played grand piano and accordion and helped produce and arrange the album, was involved in an accident. 

"Just days before Bill was to go into the studio and record his tracks, he suffered a broken finger while slipping on some ice while walking his dog who lunged at another dog," Leslie said. "That delayed the album for two and a half months, but it gave me more time to work on some of the other arrangements and I think that paid off."

You can buy and hear tracks from the Scotland: Grace of the Wild on iTunes and Amazon.com.

Leslie's official album release party is Sunday at 3 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh.


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