Last night saw the annual award ceremony for The Scottish Album of the Year (SAYawards) held in the famous Glasgow Barrowlands. A longer list of over one hundred albums became The Longlist of twenty and that in turn was whittled down to The Shortlist of just ten. Even The Shortlist raised eyebrows and caused debate with both Calvin Harris and Emili Sandé not making the cut.
The shortlisted artists were: Admiral Fallow, Django Django, Karine Polwart, Lau, Malcolm Middleton, Meursault, Paul Buchanan, RM Hubbert, Stanley Odd and The Twilight Sad.
It’s difficult not to be a touch cynical about award ceremonies in general, industry insiders getting together for a good old knees up and giving themselves a massive pat on the back. Looking at the bigger picture however, the SAY Awards has given exposure to the undeniable musical talents that Scotland has to offer that may not have otherwise got it, and there’s a good amount of reasonably unknown names on the list to be happy about. None of the artists who made even the longlist can deny that the publicity has done them any harm. Even if they perhaps felt a bit miffed they never made the shortlist, there’s no doubt they will have benefited from being associated with the awards, be it reflected in album sales or just getting their name out there. For me this is where the awards come in to their own. Sure, there was familiar names on there too, sure there’s names on there for whom the £20,000 prize money probably wouldn’t matter but in reality there’s acts on the list for whom the prize money could mean the difference between being able to continue or give up the dream.
The overall winner of this years Scottish Album of the Year was acoustic maverick RM Hubbert who on accepting the award said “This award means I’ll be able to tour again, make a new record… and hopefully pay off some debts”.
His album Thirteen Lost and Found was produced by friend Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand and features contributions from several other Scottish musicians including Emma Pollock, Aidan Moffat, Alasdair Roberts as well as Kapranos himself. His self-taught flamenco-esque style won over the panel in the end and he was evidently shocked with his victory. His initial reaction “Fuck me” pretty much summed up his astonishment at the announcement.
The awards were hosted by Vic Galloway and Janice Forsyth and featured live performances interspersed throughout the night from Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, Young Fathers, The Dewarists (Featuring King Creosote and James Yorkston among others) and Hidden Orchestra. Each artist nominated for the shortlist were also presented with two pieces of specially commisioned art by Edinburgh artist Gregor Morrison and Glasgow artist Emma Reid.
The full award ceremony was streamed live by Inner Ear Ltd and can be watched HERE
(Additional photographs courtesy of Keith Martin)