If you live in Scotland you won’t have been able to escape the fact that 2009 has been branded Homecoming year, a marketing ploy dreamed up by the Scottish Government with two aims:
1. To convince expats to return and pay their taxes in Scotland instead.
2. To lure rich Americans people with tenuous tartan ancestry into booking golfing holidays in Scotland.
Quite why us Scottish residents are being targeted by a TV campaign makes absolutely no sense then, and neither does the SNP’s decision to feature staunchly patriotic Scots such as Sir Sean Connery (resident of the Bahamas) and Lulu (resident of London) in their cringeworthy advert singing Caledonia. It’s a wonder they didn’t wheel out Rod Stewart.
The question is, who on earth would be tempted to give up a life of sunshine for a return ticket to Scotland? How about one of the most successful and exceptional contemporary singer-songwriters you’ve never heard of…
ALEXI MURDOCH was raised in Elgin and Glasgow, but he has been living the American dream in Los Angeles for the past six years, embarking on a terrifically fruitful solo music career that has seen combined sales of his Four Songs EP and stunning debut album Time Without Consequence run into the hundreds of thousands.
Although there is no getting away from comparisons to Nick Drake with his finger-picking style of acoustic guitar playing, Alexi’s vocal palette is much deeper and richer, lending itself quite beautifully to a quality of songcraft we come across perhaps once or twice a year at best.
Last year, while Alexi was on holiday in Greece where his parents live, he received an email from a Canadian friend asking if he would come on board as support for her autumn tour. And so Alexi found himself spending the months of September, October and November visiting pretty much every major city in North America with Alanis Morissette.
Alexi’s songs have been played on episodes of The OC, House, Prison Break, Dawson’s Creek, Ugly Betty, Dirty Sexy Money, Grey’s Anatomy and Without A Trace, as well as films like Garden State and Gone Baby Gone. Yet so inconspicuous is the 35-year-old in his home country, a rare Scottish live appearance at the 2006 Indian Summer festival in Glasgow saw him described in the official website as “highly-praised dark folk songs from this American newcomer”.
Now, though, he has moved back to Scotland, living the quiet life by the sea on the west coast as he plans the next stage of his unique career. Perhaps this will be the year his compatriots finally sit up and take notice of an amazing talent that walks among us. Alexi Murdoch is a homecoming hero to be proud of if ever there was one.