The Bitter Part is from Viva Melodia, the new album from “beautifully melancholic” (Press Association) Scottish artist Ally Kerr, one of the country’s fastest-rising international singer songwriters.
Melodious, heartfelt, beautiful, wry, wistful, folk-tinged pop are words that have been used to describe Kerr’s music. Echoes of Belle & Sebastian, Paul Simon, Neil Halstead, Kings Of Convenience and others resonate, yet Ally’s style remains singularly distinctive.
In the six years since his last album, the critically-acclaimed “Off The Radar”, Kerr has flourished, picking up fans and playing sporadic shows across the world. Thanks to the global exposure of a song used as the theme tune to a major Japanese TV animation called Mushi-shi, an active and enthusiastic fan base, as well as a hands-on approach, word of Kerr’s musical talent continues to spread further and wider.
Cult Spanish label Elefant Records (Lambchop, Camera Obscura) were the first to spot Kerr’s potential, releasing a 7inch vinyl EP ‘Midst Of The Storm,’ some of the first songs he had ever recorded, resulting in positive reviews and airplay around the world. Produced by Duglas T. Stewart (of cult Scottish group BMX Bandits) and engineer Duncan Cameron (Teenage Fanclub/The Delgados/Travis) the tracks subsequently appeared on Kerr’s debut album, ‘Calling Out To You’, produced by David Scott (The Pearlfishers). Recorded on a shoestring budget, its inclusion in Japan’s well-known Music Magazine’s list of the Top 20 Albums Ever To Come Out Of Scotland, alongside seminal works by the likes of Orange Juice and Belle and Sebastian, was testament to the songs’ melodic strength.
Kerr was subsequently invited to Japan and has played there many times since. His fan base continues to grow across Asia, notably in China where he made his debut performance last summer at a festival in Beijing.
Second album ‘Off The Radar’ (2008), produced by David Scott (The Pearlfishers) was a step up from the debut, achieving critical acclaim and leading to international licensing deals and further invitations to play live across Europe and Asia. This upward trajectory continued as Kerr was selected to play at the North by North-East music festival in Canada, followed by a headline tour of Asia covering Singapore, Japan, Philippines and Taiwan.
Having concentrated on the international market for the last few years, one of Scotland’s broadsheet newspapers Scotland on Sunday had described him as one of the most interesting and creative musicians working in the country right now in its rundown of the ‘Hottest Scottish Talent’ with the biggest-selling newspaper in Scotland – Daily Record – saying of his last album ‘one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets offers another magical mix’. With the release of ‘Viva Melodia’ and as news of his international success spreads, this best-kept secret will surely be revealed.