To this day the “Tam O’Shanter Suite” has been one of my most interesting and challenging projects. The recording here, from “Shambolica!” and tarted up visually for youtube, was the first track I tackled when going about making the Shambolica! project happen. The whole “Tam O’Shanter” experience (meaning my efforts to create this track) tapped in to over 30 musicians and two different studios. In the end there were nine of us – and the track all recorded in one studio.
I’ll save the lessons learned for another day maybe. Suffice it to say I made a lot of very expensive production mistakes. We never learn from doing things right so, all-in-all, I have no complaints.
The fantastic string arrangement comes from Owen Pallet. Owen was very involved in Shambolica! I was lucky to engage him before he hit it big writing string arrangements for Arcade Fire among others. Bryan Greenwood brought his pop sensibility to the production – though you won’t hear evidence of that in the “Tam O’Shanter Suite”.
The piece was originally written for The Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, during the time I lead the band. PRP did perform the piece – but never in competition.
I think I’d compete with this today – though it sounds a wee bit staid now when compared to some of the stuff people have the nerve to put out!
Imagine: a pipe band moves up to the line, with a flat-bed truck of orchestral musicans in tow, playing together as a real ensemble. Sweet! (er, suite!)
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