Both prolific songwriters and performers with numerous projects and awards between them, Kris Drever and Boo Hewerdine have hit the road together for the first time in three years.
Renowned as a solo act, Kris has worked with Kate Rusby, Eddi Reader, Roddy Woomble and more, and is also one third of hugely acclaimed folk act Lau.
Back in 2015 he released an EP with Boo, Last Man Standing, and undertook a joint tour.
‘We just thought it might be nice to revisit because it’s such an enjoyable process, even just performing together, and because we don’t do it very often, things… happen.
‘Obviously if you perform with people a lot then things get very slick and all that. Sometimes you fall into little ruts, which you don’t really notice, and some of the life goes out of things. But if you leave three-four years you have to stay on your toes and it’s impossible to fall into any of those ruts.
‘I think we’re probably hoping we might write some music as well, but we’ll start off with repertoires that we’ve been developing separately.’
When The Guide spoke with Kris, the pair had yet to get together for rehearsals. And with Kris living on the Shetland Islands, plus the small matter of a new Lau album to record before the tour, the logistics have been tough.
‘We did talk about him coming up here, but I’m flat out.
‘When we finish the Lau album, I’ll turn the full focus on this tour, but I know he’s been busy at festivals and that as well.’
Kris’s last solo album If Wishes Were Horses, came out two-and-a-half years ago, but his next record will be with Lau.
‘Nearly everything’s been going in the direction of Lau the last three-four months, but I’ve got a collection of songs, and I’m writing all the time. It’s all about timing.
‘If you’re going to be making different records with different people, you have to be fair to those records. It’s a really bad idea to put out a Lau record than put out a Kris Drever record a month later. It doesn’t give either one a chance, it confuses the issue I think.’
Kris is well settled in the Shetlands now – he’s lived there for five years.
‘I’m actually producing a record for one of my neighbours and I’ve met some interesting people, there’s a guy who lives down the road from me called DS Murray, an author, he’s an interesting guy - I see him at the bus stop sometimes, he’s written some good books.
‘I’m still up and down all the time, but yes, I’ve settled into it.’
As well as the geography, the fact he has a young child has made Kris adapt his working practices.
‘You need to leave a bit of extra time. If I was working like I worked when I was living in Scotland, it would be… really crazy, it’s forced everything into blocks.
‘I do a chunk of work and then come home, and that’s how it works logistically now.
‘Because I’ve got a small child, two weeks is kind of the maximum for everyone these days. When you’re in your early 20s and nothing matters you can go on the road for months, so you change your working patterns.
‘There are benefits to this way of working though – like mental health, I think it’s quite good to regularly access something that seems like a root and keeps you grounded.’
Kris is also a prolific Radio2 Folk Awards winner. He has four with Lau for Best Band, as well as an individual Horizon Award for best newcomer back in 2007, and Best Folk Singer and Best Song for If Wishes Were Horses’ title track, in 2017.
‘It was really good last year, those awards things are there to raise the profile of the genre and the scene - it’s a little industry thing - but all awards are on some level.
‘They’re there to remind the public that these things exist and from that point of view of course it’s great if your name is in among that list because it means that you’re relevant to that genre, at that time at least.’
KRIS DREVER & BOO HEWERDINE
The Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham
Saturday, October 6