That R.M. Hubbert’s sophomore solo album Thirteen Lost and Found won the Scottish Album of The Year Award is particularly fitting. R.M. or Robert McArthur Hubbert, to give Hubby his Sunday name, is an unsung veteran of Glasgow’s music scene. He formed his first band Me, Hubby and Thom in 1991, ever since, has been involved in Glasgow’s vibrant and thriving music scene. Hubby has watched bands come and go. Some made it big, others disappeared without trace. Many of these musicians have become friends with Hubby. However, back in 2009, Hubby realized that over the past five years, he’d lost touch with some of his best friends. So rather than just picking up the phone and arranging a night out, Hubby hit on a novel idea. This idea would lead to Thirteen Lost and Found being crowned Scottish Album of The Year.

Eschewing the somewhat traditional idea of a night out in Glasgow, Hubby decided to ask some of his old friends to join him in the studio. Then he decided to take the idea further. Why not ask some of the younger musicians who he didn’t know so well? Invitations were sent out, and some of Scotland’s finest musicians joined Hubby. This included Marion Kenny, Paul Savage, Stevie Jones, Alistair Roberts, Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap, Emma Pollock of The Delgados and Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand who produced Thirteen Lost and Found. There were also appearances from Rafe Fitzpatrick, Shane Connolly, John Ferguson and Luke Sutherland. The result was ten eclectic and captivating tracks that became Thirteen Lost and Found, R.M. Hubbert’s sophomore solo album. However, there’s more to Hubby’s career than two solo albums.

Hubby was born in Paisley, twelve-miles outside Glasgow, in 1974. Aged seventeen, Hubby made tentative steps into the always vibrant Glasgow musical scene. This was in 1991, when he formed Me, Hubby and Thom with Thom Falls. Thom was also drummer for The Blisters, who featured a young Alex Kapranos. 

Through Thom, Hubby and Alex Kapranos became friends. Soon, they were running a club night and were bandmates. Hubby and Alex took over the running of the long lamented Kazoo Club. It was held at The 13th Note in Glasgow. When the original promoter suddenly left, the very future of the Kazoo Club was at risk. Enter Alex and Hubby. Saving the day, they took over promoting the club. Further cementing their friendship, Hubby joined The Blisters as second guitarist. This didn’t last long. Hubby left The Blisters in 1992, to join another Glasgow band Glue, Having spent three years as a member of Glue,  Hubby joined the band where he made his name.

El Hombre Trajeado were formed in 1995. Consisting of Hubby, Stevie Jones, Ben Jones and Stef Sinclair, El Hombre Trajeado released three albums over the next ten years. Their debut album was Skipafone, released in 1998. Three years later, they released Saccade in 1998. Shlap was their final album. It was released in 2004, the year before the band split. During the ten years El Hombre Trajeado were together, they built a large, loyal following. This resulted in them being chosen to support Nick Cave and The Delgodos.

After El Hombre Trajeado disbanded, it was another four years before Hubby released any more music. He was constantly touring, supporting. Franz Ferdinand, The Delgados, Mogwai, Emma Pollock and The Twilight Sad. Then tragedy struck for Hubby when his parents died. This inadvertently lead to Hubby’s debut solo album. 

Trying to rid his mind of the tragedy he’d experienced, he recorded nine solo guitar tracks. They were just a way of taking his mind of what had happened. First and Last featured Hubby playing guitar, using flamenco style and structure. To give the music a more modern sound, Hubby took a different approach to melody. Once First and Last was finished, Hubby released it himself. Well received by critics, Glasgow’s premier label, Chemikal Underground then signed Hubby in 2010. Now he was among his own kith and kin, First and Last was reissued in early 2011. With his debut album released, and signed to a new label, Hubby looked to the past for his future.

Hubby had first thought about what became Thirteen Lost and Found back in 2009. Now with friends old and new, Hubby set about bring his idea to fruition. Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand was chosen to produce Thirteen Lost and Found. Indeed, some of the recording took place at his studio in Glasgow. At three studios, eleven tracks were recorded with some of Scotland’s top musicians. Aidan Moffat, Emma Pollock, Alex Kapranos, Marion Kenny, Paul Savage, Stevie Jones, Alistair Roberts, Rafe Fitzpatrick, Shane Connolly, John Ferguson and Luke Sutherland all passed through the studio doors playing either walk-on or starring roles. What had started as the alternative to a reunion, Thirteen Lost and Found, was now about to transform R.M. Hubbert’s career.

Thirteen Lost and Found was released on Chemikal Underground Records in January 2012. Critics were won over by Thirteen Lost and Found. They hailed it as a Magnus Opus of a collaboration, one that was innovative and imaginative. It was all that and more.

So it’s no surprise Thirteen Lost and Found featured on the long-list for the Scottish Album of The Year Award. The competition was fierce. Some of Scotland’s best artists were in contention for this prestigious award, including Paul Buchanan, Lau, Calvin Harris and Emile Sande. While most people fell for the curveballs that were Calvin Harris and Emile Sandy, the smart money was going on R.M. Hubbert’s Lost and Found. That proved a smart move. Neither Calvin Harris nor Emile Sande were on the shortlist. R.M. Hubbert’s Lost and Found was. Along with nine other contenders for the Scottish Album of The Year Award Hubby headed to Glasgow’s legendary Barrowland Ballroom last week. That night, R.M. Hubbert’s Lost and Found won Scottish Album of The Year Award. This was well deserved. You’ll realize why, when I tell you about Thirteen Lost and Found.

We Radioed, which opens Thirteen Lost and Found sees Hubby and Luke Sutherland join forces. Thunderous waves of flamenco guitar weave their way across the arrangement. As drama and power combines, the result is emotion and anger.

Guitars then pounding drums give way to Aidan Moffat’s visceral, gutteral half-spoken vocal on Car Song. Sounding like a refugee from Irvine Welsh’s Skagboys, Aidan’s sings how his journey is an escape from pills and paranoia. Just for the weekend though. Memories come flooding back as he makes his temporary escape. Where he smoked his first cigarette, the first girl he kissed and the school he was expelled from. Veering between bleak, honest and humorous, this is no tragi-comedy. Instead, it’s real life.

For Joe has a wistful, melancholy sound. Just guitars pensively and thoughtfully make their way across the arrangement. Gradually, the power increases. Using the same power that featured on We Radioed, the emotion and energy increases. It becomes an outpouring of grief and frustration that asks why? 

Gus Am Bris An Latha translates from Gaelic as until the day breaks. Joining Hubby, is John Ferguson. What follows is a captivating and pensive track, which benefits from Celtic sound. A slow, deliberate and ponderous guitar is joined by a banjo. It’s punchier, quicker and has an uplifting sound. Soon, guitars and banjo are joined by percussion. Sometimes sounding melancholy and ponderous, at others, the track, like a new day, offers hope.

Sunbeam Melts the Hour features Marion Kenny and Hanna Tuulikki. Along with Hubby, they contribute towards a multilayered, genre-melting track. Eastern and Western influences combine majestically and eclectically. Moody and mesmeric, cinematic becomes ethereal and elegant when Hanna’s vocal enters. As the drama and energy builds, the music becomes frenzied and frantic. From this crescendo, the track energy dissipates, returning to a broody, cinematic sound.

Just Hubby and his acoustic guitar open V. The influences range from classical to flamenco. Hubby uses his guitar to paints evocative pictures. Meandering, the music is hopeful and beautiful. You find yourself creating scenarios that match the music. Uplifting, hopeful and happy it’s three minutes of musical sunshine.

Stevie Jones and Paul Savage join Hubby on Sandwalks. Dark and dramatic, a piano dominates the guitars. Painting gothic pictures the piano sets the mood of the track. Soon, strident guitars add to the sense of drama. It’s as if they’re modus operandi is to create the musical equivalent of a storm. Waves crash onto the beach destroying everything in their path. Later, there’s respite from gothic drama. As the waves start to subside, a calmness and serenity join the omnipresent beauty.

Half Light sees Hubby joined by Emma Polock and Rafe Fitzpatrick. The result is a truly compelling, atmospheric track. It’s like Jane Austen set to music. Fusing elements of folk, flamenco and classical musical, guitars and weeping strings create a sense of sadness. This is perfect from Emma’s heartfelt,  heartbroken vocal. Harmonies interject, sympathizing with Emma’s pain and hurt in what’s an evocative, atmospheric epic.

With a title Hungarian Notation, you’re wondering what’s about to unfold. You’re expecting something leftfield, mysterious and innovative. Hubby doesn’t disappoint. Drawing inspiration from a variety of influences, Shane Connolly, MJ McCarthy and  Alex Kapranos combine guitars, accordion, drums and percussion. They produce a track that veers between understated and melancholy to briefly flamboyant and dramatic. Folk, flamenco and Celtic music prove an inspirational fusion of influences. Switches Part 2 seamlessly picks up where the previous track left off. Using a similar combination of influences and instruments, flamboyance and drama unite. Key to this is the flamenco guitar and drum. Their infectious call to dance is the perfect foil for a Celtic wistfulness that always there.

Closing Thirteen Lost and Found is The False Bride, which features Alistair Roberts vocal. There’s a traditional Scottish sound to this heartbreaking lament. Alistair’s voice brings out the sadness, heartache and melancholia in the lyrics. Accompanied by just guitars, this allows his vocal to take centre-stage. That’s where it belongs. You’re spellbound by the sheer emotion is his vocal. This proves a fitting, beautiful and poignant way to close Thirteen Lost and Found.

Many people were surprised when R.M. Hubbert’s Thirteen Lost and Found won the Scottish Album of The Year Award. It wasn’t one of the favorites for Scotland’s prestigious music award. When the long-list was awarded, many people thought that one of big three of Paul Buchanan, Calvin Harris or Emile Sande would win it. Then when the shortlist was announced, neither Calvin Harris nor Emile Sande were on it. Now Paul Buchanan and Django Django were many people’s tip for the award. They’d forgotten one man and his album. Overlooking Paisley’s R.M. Hubbert and his eclectic epic Thirteen Lost and Found was a big mistake.

Thirteen Lost and Found was one of the most captivating, eclectic and emotional musical journeys of 2012. It drew inspiration from disparate musical influences and genres. Folk, country, flamenco, Celtic, indie, Americana and Eastern music were thrown into the mix. Then there was what seems like a musical cast of thousands. It seems anyone whose anyone in Scottish music played their part in the making of Thirteen Lost and Found. This demonstrates how highly thought of Hubby is. He’s one of Scottish music’s good guys. Among the musicians who played an important role in Thirteen Lost and Found were Aidan Moffat, Emma Pollock and producer Alex Kapranos. They were like a musical holy trinity. Their influence was crucial to Thirteen Lost and Found. However, Thirteen Lost and Found was Hubby’s brainchild. He was there when it was born and was their when Thirteen Lost and Found flew the musical nest. Three years in the making and a sixteen months after the release of Thirteen Lost and Found, R.M. Hubbert deservedly won the Scottish Album of The Year Award. No wonder. 

Best described as eclectic, intricate, emotive and multilayered, Thirteen Lost and Found is full of surprises, subtleties and nuances. Thirteen Lost and Found is an innovative, imaginative album and totally unique album from R.M. Hubbert. He throws curveballs aplenty. With every listen, you hear something new. Another subtlety or nuance decides to reveal itself. This allows you to discover even more of the drama, beauty and emotion on Thirteen Lost and Found, R.M. Hubbert’s award-winning sophomore album. Standout Tracks:We Radioed, Car Song, Half Light and The False Bride.


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