Paisley’s Spree Festival kicks off this week with a fine homage to one of Paisley’s favourite musical sons. The opening night, this Friday (Friday 11 October) sees a tribute to Gerry Rafferty, with a songbook of his work, featuring Roddy Hart, Emma Pollock and Rab Noakes. Emma spoke with The Fountain about the gig and what to expect as well as her own connection to his album, Night Owl.

TF: Emma, you are performing at Paisley’s Spree Festival this year, what inspired you to give the green light to this event? 

I’ve been involved in a few gigs celebrating Gerry Rafferty’s catalogue, the main one being the Royal Concert Hall gig curated by Rab Noakes as part of Celtic Connections quite a few years back. It was a quite a grand affair, with an impressive list of vocalists, but this time Rab, Roddy and I felt we’d like to do something more intimate as the Speigeltent is a lovely space to enjoy something a bit more close up.

TF: What can we expect, it is not a usual Emma Pollock event this one? 

I won’t be playing any of my own songs on the night no. This gig will be all about bringing Gerry’s brilliant back catalogue to life again but this time in his hometown, so a really special event for all of us.

TF: So you and Rab are paying Gerry Rafferty homage, is there a certain era of Gerry you will be gracing us with or will it be his back catalogue? 

I remember as a child when Night Owl came out. It was played in our house, and on the radio constantly. I know the album incredibly well and would never have guessed I’d be playing some of those songs in public later in life. He was such a wonderful songwriter and the period of Night Owl and City To City was particularly rich, the way he spun chords and melody together. There will be reflection on many other parts of his career too of course, as he wrote and released music for most of his life.

TF: With Vic Galloway’s stream of Rip it Up events and Karine Polwart’s wonderful songbooks, it’s a time for Scottish music celebration and anecdotes. Do you personally have a Gerry connection that you want to share? 

I never met Gerry, although having worked with Rab Noakes for years now, who was a very close friend and collaborator of Gerry’s I feel I’ve got to know him better. My mum actually won the album Night Owl on Radio 2’s pop quiz when it came out in 1979. I was 8 at the time and was listening to the interview live, with my mum in the next room. I was really excited to hear her win and we couldn’t wait to receive the album in the post. We listened to it in the car as well, over and over. My mum was at the show at the Royal Concert Hall and met some of Gerry’s former session musicians. It was really special for her. 

Roddy Hart, Emma Pollock and Rab Noakes’ Gerry Rafferty Songbook is sold out but for more information on other Spree events click here.