Recently, when I wrote an article on Shooting Stansfield, one of Scotland’s hottest bands, I mentioned that the Scottish musical scene was enjoying something of a resurgence. Whether it’s established bands or new bands, Scotland is leading the way, leaving Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and London trailing in its wake. Music, is something Scotland does well.

Indeed, since the late seventies, when Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Josef K and The Go-Betweens blazed a trail with The Sound Of Young Scotland, Scotland’s produced some of the most innovative and influential music. After that, The Blue Nile, Lloyd Cole and The Commotions, Deacon Blue, Belle and Sebastien, The Bathers, Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand kept the flag flying for Scottish music. As you can see, Scotland has produced some of Britain’s most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands. Now a new name can be added to this list…The Holy Ghosts.

For anyone yet to discover The Holy Ghosts’ music, you’ve a treat in-store? The Holy Ghosts, who comprise Jack Sandison, Rory Penman, Jon MacKenzie, Jonny Rapeseed and Andy Barbour, are a five-piece band from Edinburgh. They only played their first concert back in January 20012. SInce then, it’s been a case of onwards and upwards, with their fusion of rock ‘n’ roll, country and blues attracting an ever-increasing fan-base. That’s no surprise.

The best way to describe The Holy Ghosts’ sound, is not unlike the Rolling Stones circa Exile On Main Street. With dueling guitars, bluesy harmonica and a piano straight out of a honky tonk on Route 66, and you think things can’t get better. They do. Add to this, three part harmonies that are soulful. They’re the finishing touch to The Holy Ghosts’ unique sound which has been winning over fans during 2012 and 2013.

To hone their sound, The Holy Ghosts have been touring throughout Scotland. This is what bands used to do. Back then, it was a case of traveling up and down the motorways of Britain in a beaten up old transit van. This gave bands the opportunity not just to hone and tighten their sound, but build a following. It seems The Holy Ghosts seem to be playing the long game. They’re unwilling to take shortcuts in an attempt to try to make a commercial breakthrough. That commercial breakthrough will come for The Holy Ghosts. It’s not a case of if, but when The Holy Ghosts sign a recording contract. Meanwhile, The Holy Ghosts have released two E.P.s.

Devil On Your SIde was The Holy Ghosts’ debut E.P. Released on 24th March 2012, it featured three tracks, Ol’ Snake Hips, Devil On Your Side and the brilliant Staring Down The Barrel. The three tracks on Devil On Your SIde features The Holy Ghosts’ at their very best, mixing blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll and honky tonk. A year later, came the followup to Devil On Your SIde… Voodoo Shakedown.

Then on the 1st March 2013, The Holy Ghosts were back with their sophomore E.P. Voodoo Shakedown. Again, Voodoo Shakedown featured a variety of influences. There’s a real country influence alongside the Americana, rock ‘n’ roll, blues and honky tonk. Featuring When We Were Kings, Don’t Come Knockin,’ Let It Die and Flippin’ Out Fifties, Voodoo Shakedown features a band that have really grown and matured. Proof of this is the blistering Don’t Come Knockin’ where The Holy Ghosts are transformed into the storming, strutting rock ‘n’ roll band. Then when you hear Flippin’ Out Fifties, there’s a real vintage country influence. These four tracks are a tantalizing taster of The Holy Ghosts debut album, which will be released later this year.

By the time The Holy Ghosts release their debut album later this year, I’m sure that they’ll have signed to a major record label. Indeed, it’s not a case of if, but when The Holy Ghosts sign to a major label. They’ve a huge future ahead of them. The Holy Ghosts are keeping the flag flying for Scottish music. Less than eighteen months after The Holy Ghosts first took to the stage, they’re establishing a reputation as a band with a big future. Their irresistible fusion of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country and honky tonk has seen them win over audiences not just in Scotland, but further afield. This summer, The Holy Ghosts will be playing festivals throughout the UK. If you get the chance to see The Holy Ghosts live, then you’ll be privileged to see one of the best up-and-coming bands of 2013.



  1. Crackin Band! But you forgot Rory Penman on drums!

    • Hi Rupert,

      Well spotted Rupert. Glad you like The Holy Ghosts, they’re one of Scotland’s best bands just now. Things are looking good for Scottish music, with a new generation of great bands making a breakthrough. Have you heard of Shooting SYansfield or Finding Albert? Both are worth checking out.

      Best Wishes,

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