Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

All’s good in the Fife hood

Vic Galloway’s “Songs In the Key Of Fife” book is a fine study of the scene which gave the world the Beta Band, KT Tunstall, James Yorkston and the Fence collective

Songs in the key of KT

Fri, Nov 1, 2013, 10:52


If your geography is as sketchy as mine, you may have trouble pinpointing Fife on a map. But when it comes to music from that part of the Scottish Lowlands, you’ll probably know acts like the Beta Band, KT Tunstall, James Yorkston and the Fence collective. Some may add Ian “Jethro Tull” Anderson or Barbara “I Know Him So Well” Dickson to the list, but that’s for another day.

The fact that such a small area of Scotland, an old Pictish kingdom best known for golf mecca St Andrew’s, has produced so many great acts of late is something to make you go “hmmm”. If you’re Vic Galloway, this will inspire you to write “Songs In the Key Of Fife” about the music from the area.

Best known as a BBC DJ, Galloway was well placed to write this tale. The native Fifer is an insider who has been in bands with many of the people he writes about or even friends with them since childhood.

But don’t take this to mean Galloway pulls his punches. The book is an honest, demystifying and straight-talking story about the legion of colourful and eccentric musical characters kicking around Fife. He doesn’t shy away from talking about drug use, alcoholism, family feuds and mental health problems which ensue like they would ensue in any other creative scene.

The book is the chronicle the Fife’s grassroots music scene deserves. Be it big names like KT Tunstall or Kenny “King Creosote” Anderson, the pied piper at the heart of so many tales, Galloway writes with passion about how such a small area has produced so many astonishingly versatile and prolific musicians in such a short space of time. A hell of a read about a hell of a scene.