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Iain Archer

It was through Canal Song that I first discovered Iain Archer.

That song, which I have listened to probably more than a hundred times, is for me so much a monument to folk simplicity, when a melody and a voice can move you more than reason.

We caught up with Iain Archer during his appearance at the Bushmills music festival at the end of last June. Nestled to the extreme north of Ulster, the festival takes place within the same walls as the distillery itself; the occasion was too beautiful not to take Iain with us for a tour amongst the barrels of ageless whiskey… Originally from Bangor near to Belfast, he appeared to take evident pleasure from seeing the manufacturing of pure local malt up close.

Over the course of the route, Iain was improvising, going even as far as to start a ‘whisky river’, a version of which we hope to find recorded one day… We finally came to “Room n°2”, a room made of wood, filled with the ageing barrels of Bushmills; in short, a place full of promises. He began by playing us Canal Song and once again I found, pure, the emotion that had assailed me with every listen to those first harmonies. Then he started to play Black Mountain Quarry and I was convinced that folk music – a guitar and a voice – was certainly one of the most simple and most beautiful things that a person can hear.