Highlands & Islands

Peat & Diesel fans flock to buy Christmas song

Peat and Diesel Image copyright Paul Campbell
Image caption Lewis-based Peat and Diesel won best live act at MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards

A year after playing their first gig, a band from the Isle of Lewis could be on course for a Christmas number one.

Peat & Diesel is a three-piece with fisherman Boydie MacLeod on guitar and vocals, electrician Innes Scott on accordion and delivery driver Uilly Macleod playing drums.

Before forming the band they would meet up at one of their homes in Stornoway on a Saturday night to play tunes.

They soon put together enough of their own material to launch Peat & Diesel and start gigging.

Their songs telling funny stories of life in the Western Isles were hit with local audiences, and their videos on social media quickly racked up tens of thousands of views, exposing the band to an even wider audience, and Scotland's music industry.

This year saw them play HebCelt, the Western Isles' biggest music festival, and also the largest music event in the Highlands - Belladrum, near Inverness.

They sold-out a gig in Glasgow's Barrowland in a single day and more than 7,000 tickets across venues on their debut tour next year.

This month, Peat & Diesel won the best live act accolade at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.

Boydie wore a boiler suit, work clothing he has performed at gigs in, to the awards ceremony.

'You took my sheep from me'

The band's play on words, often referencing crofting activities on the isles, in their lyrics, song and album titles has been part of Peat & Diesel's success.

Their first album was Uptown Fank, a fank being an enclosure for gathering sheep, while their second album is Light My Byre. A byre is a building used for keeping cattle.

Peat & Diesel's challenge for the UK iTunes chart's Christmas number one continues the crofting theme.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Peat & Diesel is a band from Stornoway

Called Fairytale of Stornoway and featuring Gaelic singer Mairead Nicholson, it is the band's twist on the famous The Pogues' Christmas hit Fairytale of New York sung by Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl.

The Peat & Diesel version features the lines: "You took my sheep from me, when I first found you" and "Can't make it all alone, I've built my flock around you".

The song is in the top 20 on the chart at the moment.

Uilly told BBC Scotland's entertainment programme The Edit: "We had been talking about doing a Christmas song for some time, but never got round to it last year.

"Boydie is a big fan of Shane MacGowan and The Pogues and it seemed right that was the song for us."

He added: "You don't really figure out the top 40 for Christmas until Friday, so that is when we find out if Fairytale of Stornoway has made it into the Christmas top 40."

Uilly said reaching number one on the chart is an aim, but even staying in the top 40 of the chart would be considered a huge success for the band.

"It has been a great year for Peat & Diesel," he added.

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