This time last year, a group of Celtic and rock musicians were scattered around the south side of Glasgow, some already pals, and some about to be.
Over a pint or two ideas fermented and the band hit the studio, their sound distilled by the fresh combination of fiddle, guitar and banjo. Out evaporated Papa Shandy and the Drams.
Regulars on the Buchanan Street busking scene, the group have seen a surge in their online fan base since they took to the pavements. Playing on the west and east coasts, and recently at the Galleries’ student lock-in, the Drams are anticipating the release of their first single, a cover of ‘When This World Comes to an End.’
Stamping on the swamped street slabs, the sound of Papa Shandy and the Drams undergrounds a rock bass with sweet Celtic overtones. Pause to listen, and onlookers are treated to a melange of old and new; ‘Hit the Road Jack’ melts into ‘Ninety Nine Problems’, the throbbing bass contrasting with the stringed descant of the fiddle.
Genre is not specified, and it’s this uniqueness that sets the Drams apart. Darryll McCabe, on mandolin, pauses and says, “it’s a sound that just happened. It fell into place.” Busking, private gigs, then single and album launch.
At the Dram! pub in Woodlands, the Drams are received by a warm, ethused crowd who go silent as the rhythm slows and pump their hands when it speeds. The smoky voice of Kieran Sinclair, distinct in white shirt, black waistcoat and flat cap, laments the heights and falls of each tale and tone, his hat charmed “like Slash.”In their single, the repeated bass gives a harder rock feel, missing the climbing descant that characterises their other covers.
However, the album will blend original and borrowed material that’s “relevant to Glaswegians”, mashing subjects like sectarianism, drinking, mortality and city existence. The Drams are west coast refined.
Papa Shandy and the Drams launch their debut album One Ae’r the Eight at the Glad Café in Shawlands on Friday 29 November. Their first single, ‘When This World Comes to an End’ is available for download now.
This article was first published in the Journal on Saturday 28 September 2013. Photo credit Marissa Waite, official group image.