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Shores is a large scale work for folk singer, jazz quartet and string orchestra and is a setting of poetry by the Gaelic poet, Somhairle MacGill-Eain. Written during my postgraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the piece balances elements of contemporary jazz, Scottish traditional and classical music. Scottish contemporary jazz and traditional music has been a huge influence in my musical life particularly when I would attend gigs regularly during my undergraduate studies in Glasgow. Shores is my small contribution to that scene that has been a big presence in my musical life. 

Shores was originally written for a live performance as part of Bridge Week at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Following a successful live performance I decided to undertake recording the piece as a full length album, taking advantage of the studio access at the RCS. The album was recorded over three sessions in late 2019, early 2020 and late 2020 as covid restrictions eased. 

The process began with the quartet in December 2019. I was incredibly fortunate to have four stables of the young Scottish jazz agree to appear on the album, all of whom directly influenced the writing of shores through their own music or playing in some way.  They were Fergus McCreadie on piano, Matt Carmichael on tenor saxophone, Mark Hendry on bass and Dominykas Snarskis on drums. They recorded the entire album, start to finish, in one session in studio A in the RCS. I am so grateful for their commitment to the idea and the huge creative energy that they brought to every take. As a big fan of the Scottish jazz scene, it really was a dream come true to work with musicians like these. 

The strings were recorded in January 2020. Nine string players came together in studio A in RCS and laid down the whole album in one very intense recording session. I am so grateful for their focus and their trust during that session as it was a challenging new experience for many of us at the time. 

During my first week at the RCS I heard Cameron Nixon perform at an event and in that moment decided that he was the perfect soloist for this project. After the event I introduced myself and asked him if I could write some music for him to sing. I remember he agreed pretty straight away which I appreciate seeing as he had only just met me! 

We recorded a few movements of the piece in March 2020 but the final session were postponed as everything closed down due to the covid pandemic. It was not until October that we were finally able to return to the piece and finish it. We spent a lovely day with Gus Stirrat at his studio tracking the vocals. After so much delay and uncertainty it was the perfect way to round off the recording of the album. 

Having the opportunity to bing something like this to life was a dream come true for me and now looking back I realise how deeply formative it was. I feel truly blessed that I was able to make it with the help of so many incredibly talented musicians, some of which we close friends, some of which I came to know through the project. I then worked with Gus Stirrat to mix and master the album. Many of my favourite Scottish albums have come out of his Glasgow studio so this was a perfect way to end the shores project. Thank you also to Alex Waddell for filming part of the session which was later edited into a session film. 

My thanks also go to the Sorley Maclean Trust for granting permission for use of Sorley's words and for contributing some funding for the mixing and mastering. A particular thank you as well to Ishbel Maclean, his daughter, for her encouragement and blessing. 

released April 16, 2021

Music by Fergus Hall

Words by Sorley MacLean


Cameron Nixon - Vocals

Matt Carmichael – Tenor Saxophone

Fergus McCreadie - Piano

Mark Hendry – Double Bass

Dominykas Snarskis - Drums


Fay Guiffo - Violin

Sarah Wagner - Violin

Aimée Laws - Violin

Helena Rose - Violin

Rufus Isabel Elliot - Viola

Zeo Fawcett - Viola

Keena Wildman - Cello

Sarah McWhinney - Cello

Mathew McAteer – Double Bass


Produced by Fergus Hall

Mixed and mastered by Gus Stirrat


Instruments recorded on the 17th of December 2019 and the 8th of January 2020 by Bob Whitney in Studio A at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow.

Vocals recorded on the 30th of October 2020 by Gus Stirrat at Solas Sound Studio, Glasgow


Cover Image – Ellis O’Connor


This album was made possible with support from the Sorley MacLean Trust and the RCS Make It Happen Fund


Permission for use of poetry by Sorley MacLean was granted by Carcanet Press. 

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