South Shore Breaker

Rawlins Cross reignites the stage in Liverpool

Longtime Celtic rock fusion act to perform at Astor Theatre


Legendary Atlantic Canadian Celtic rock act Rawlins Cross couldn’t be more relieved to be touring a new album again for the first time in nearly three years.

“It’s been a long couple years for those of us working in the performing arts,” says Rawlins Cross co-founder and multi-instrument­alist Ian Mckinnon.

“Not being able to step on a stage and connect with our fans has been tough; we have really missed it.”

Sidelined most of that time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was likely the longest stretch of time the band has been apart in three decades.

After all, since forming in 1996, Rawlins Cross has been steadily storming stages and entertaini­ng fans worldwide with their electrifyi­ng fusion of traditiona­l Celtic, rock, pop and world beat music.

Even Mckinnon is taken aback that it’s been 33 years since the band recorded their hit debut album, A Turn of the Wheel.

“My body feels great, the fingers are working,” notes the Halifax-based piper. “But the years are certainly substantia­l when you put them together and put them on paper.”

Now, hitting the road in support of Sunrise, the band’s 11th record, Mckinnon isn’t just thrilled his fingers are functionin­g, he’s pleasantly surprised to find Rawlins Cross may be improving with age.

That certainly seemed evident in the summer when Rawlins Cross were hired to perform for the first time in two and a half years at a special event at the Antigonish Highland Games.

“We were playing the beer tent at the Highland Games and it was jam packed and we just had a great time and band was playing well together,” notes Mckinnon. “So, it gave us a shot of confidence that after such a long hiatus that we could get back up on the stage and play at the same level that we had always played.”

Soon after that event, Rawlins Cross planned their four-province wide Sunrise tour in support of the new record, a trek that will see the band stop at Liverpool’s Astor Theatre on Oct. 30.

As much as Rawlins Cross is excited to perform in front of crowds again, Mckinnon says audiences have equally missed live entertainm­ent - with some of the shows quickly selling out and other venues showing brisk sales in advance of the tour.

“A friend actually observed that people really need to get out to live music just for mental health and to reconnect with humanity after such a long time,” adds Mckinnon. “And we certainly saw that that night in Antigonish.”

Mckinnon is also excited to play some of the band’s latest music to fans. Recorded last autumn, the seven-track Sunrise is the band’s 11th album and first release since 2019’s

Flying Colours.

Sunrise was also an all inhouse effort, with the members of Rawlins Cross taking the reins producing, engineerin­g and mixing the album - an endeavour that only helped reignite the band’s passion for making music.

“A big part for us as a band approachin­g the recording process is to come together as a group to work the material and to figure out good arrangemen­ts and play them through and there is a lot of consensus building that comes with that,” notes Mckinnon. “(So) it was a do-it-yourself project and we are very pleased with the end results.”

For more informatio­n on Rawlins Cross’s Liverpool show, visit: www.rawlinscro­

 ?? SCOTT BLACKBURN ?? Rawlins Cross has been entertaini­ng audiences worldwide for 33 years. They will perform in Liverpool this weekend.
SCOTT BLACKBURN Rawlins Cross has been entertaini­ng audiences worldwide for 33 years. They will perform in Liverpool this weekend.

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