Solway Stories is a collection of twelve original compositions by bassist and composer Ben Crosland. The music was inspired by his 1988 visit with his mother to the beautiful area of South West Scotland, bordering the Solway Firth. “We were captivated by the gorgeous landscape and engaging place names – Beeswing, Carsethorn, Islesteps and Powfoot,” explains Crosland. “I decided to write a set of pieces inspired by our trip and wrote those names down on a sheet of paper which I duly filed away.”
In November 2018 a chance viewing of Richard Thompson performing his song ‘Beeswing’ on YouTube reawakened the memory of the trip and Crosland set about the compositional project imagined all those years before. Crosland has revisited Solway Firth and his research into its rich history has shaped many of the compositions in Solway Stories.
“I still vividly recall that original journey north, crossing the border and driving through the lovely countryside. That will always be the starting point,” concludes Crosland. “This is a very personal record. Naturally, it is dedicated to my mum who, right to the end of her days, at almost 102 years of age, still relished going out for a ‘spin in the motor’.”
Solway Stories has been featured regularly on Jazz FM since its release. It was album of the week on Dinner Jazz with Mark Walker during the week of 17th May 2021 and has also been featured by Mark several times since. It has also been featured by Helen Mayhew on True Brit and by Chris Philips on The Blueprint. Tracks from the album have been featured on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Record Requests, BBC Scotland Jazz Nights, Jazz London Live and The Jazz Mine on Dublin City FM
Line Up: Ben Crosland – bass, Steve Waterman - Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Chris Allard - Guitar, Steve Lodder - Piano/Keyboards & Nic France - Drums
‘Bass guitarist and composer Ben Crosland has fond memories of the countryside around the Solway Firth, and they inspired him to write these 12 musical vignettes. They have his typically light touch, the written parts and improvised solos deftly woven so that you scarcely notice the join. The pieces range from gently melodic to driving and intense, with particularly impressive solos by trumpeter Steve Waterman and Steve Lodder on keyboards. The album came out in May, and its sunny tunefulness sounds even more appealing in the dark days of winter.’
Dave Gelly, The Observer