Kevin McKidd reveals all about whisky-fuelled recording sessions for charity folk album

Now a bona fide star in the US, Kevin McKidd has set his well-known Scottish brogue to music.

The red-haired actor came to fame for roles in TV shows Rome and Grey's Anatomy – and he voices a character in Disney-Pixar's new Brave, which is set in Scotland.

Now he's released a Scottish folk music album featuring friends and local musicians from his home region in the north-east of Scotland.

McKidd said: "I've kind of been dancing around the world of music and never quite taken the leap -- because to be honest, I've been very lucky to be too busy filming TV and movies to find that window of time to really do it.

"But it's definitely an itch that I have to scratch."

McKidd made The Speyside Sessions over a five-day period at a rented home along the River Spey last New Year's Eve. The idea came a year earlier when what had been planned as simply a get-together at the end of 2010 turned into a roaring music party.

At the end of last year, McKidd hauled in professional sound equipment and the same friends plus more musicians. They cooked together, drank beer and local whisky, and recorded multiple takes of 28 songs in total.

"Only 15 made the cut," he explained. "And we knew that that would be the case because when you're recording live – especially when people are drinking Guinness and whisky, sometimes the takes are going to be a bit rough."

McKidd says he developed a love of Scottish folk music from his grandfather, who would sing and entertain others at his home and in bars. The songs have downbeat topics but a positive attitude.

"What I love about the music in general in Scotland is that there's a real vitality to it," he continued. "It's very – a lot of the songs are working songs, working man songs. Fishing songs, farming songs. A lot of the songs in the northeast of Scotland are about bad conditions, bad working conditions.

“But you never get the sense that the people that wrote these songs are complaining or being negative about their lot. It's more just about this is the way life is and let's make the best of it. I really love that sentiment."

McKidd says his next musical project could be much more challenging: tackling Broadway in a big musical.

"I would be terrified doing it," he said. "Because it's a very big challenge to stand there front and centre in a big musical on Broadway and belt your guts out and hope that you don't fall flat on your face. But it's something I'm willing to take the challenge of. ... With the right amount of work I could probably, you know, not embarrass myself."

  • The Speyside Sessions was released independently online and all profits go to Save the Children. 

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