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Robbie Fulks, Mekons Setting Sail On A Country Music Mission To Scotland

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 11, 2014 3:30PM


American music has long found receptive ears on the other side of the Atlantic. American blues music helped fuel the British Invasion of the 1960s. Country music is rooted in English and Scottish folk music, and served as an inspiration to many of the punk, post-punk and roots bands to come out of Great Britian. The Mekons have long been fans of American country music; it’s one of the reasons many of them relocated to Chicago and developed musical kinships with the likes of Robbie Fulks and others.

Two years ago the three met playwright Duncan McLean during a production of his play Long Gone Lonesome at Hideout. The play tells the true story of Thomas Fraser, a Scottish crofter turned country musician whose home recordings were discovered and released 25 years after his death. “It's a story of cultural exchange, country music records being brought to remote islands in Scotland from the USA by sailors in the 50s,” Timms told Chicagoist.

Friendships were formed during the production and now Timms, Fulks, Mekon Prime Jon Langford and other members of the group are set to travel the Orkney Islands and Scottish Highlands for a small six-date tour Aug. 9-19. The musicians will also record during their trip to Scotland with plans to release the album under the name “Mini-Mekons.”

“Due to the tiny venues and sparsely populated locations, it's not a huge money spinner,” Timms said, so a fundraiser July 13 at Hideout will help provide the necessary funds for the trip. Fulks will perform solo and later play as a trio with Timms and Langford. Delilah’s owner Mike Miller has donated a private whiskey tasting for a silent auction and local businesses such as record label Bloodshot, Lagunitas Brewing and Hideout are donating to the cause. And because this is a trip to Scotland guests will have the opportunity to sample some haggis.

The “Hideout in the Highlands” fundraiser takes place on July 13 at Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 7 p.m., $20, 21+