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Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

Queensferry Crossing
Queensferry Crossing

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth.

Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o’ the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms.

Tayside musician Eddie Cairney

Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It’s just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge.

“As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge?

“I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over.

“With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there’s nothing here I can write about but there’s always something to write about.

“You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually.

“I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o’ the Q.C.

“It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!”

Queensferry Crossing

Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers.

Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song “He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal” Has to be with a name like Columba!”

Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.”

 

“Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added.

“If you forget your piece you’ve had it and you starve for there’s no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was “midday salvation”!

Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words.

He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.”

Eddie Cairney

Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history.

In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music.

With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002.

Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966.

Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

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