Burnley musician who joined one of world's biggest rock bands releases his first solo album

The invitation to join one of the world's biggest bands was the opportunity of a lifetime for Burnley musician Scott Whitley.

And being part of the Scottish rock group, Big Country, was not something he took for granted in the five years he played with the band that topped the charts in the 80s and went onto develop a cult following across the world.

But all that ended when the pandemic struck and live music became one of the biggest casualties.

An incredibly talented bass player and singer, music runs in Scott's veins but he has never released anything of his own.. until now.

Burnley musician Scott Whitley, who plays with Big Country, has released his first solo album

Lockdown gave Scott the opportunity to write and release his first solo EP In My Shoes.

The four tracks written by Scott speak from the heart about what music means to him and feature him singing and playing the guitar with a host of guest artists, including his wife Janet who is also a talented musician.

Scott, who turned 50 last year, said: "For the first time in my career I had the opportunity to work on something that was entirely my own and I have loved it."

It is available to preorder from his indiegogo page and Scott is also producing a limited number of seven inch coloured vinyl singles to cater for the resurgence in this form of playing songs.

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Scott with his wife Janet, who sings backing vocals on his album

In My Shoes will eventually be available on Band Camp, a streaming service that allows artists and labels to upload music and control how they sell it, setting their own prices with the option to offer fans the option to pay more.

A student at the former St Theodore's RC High School in Burnley Scott knew at the age of 15 that he wanted music to be his career. And he had the talent, staying power and belief in himself to become a professional musician.

Scott, who has worked with 60s groups The Animals and The Casuals aswell as Richard Jobson of The Skids, and Steve Cropper who is the guitarist with the band, Booker T And the M.G.'s, said: "Music is my life, it's not just my job or profession, it is who I am.

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"I knew at a young age it was what I wanted to do."

Bass guitarist Scott on stage with Big Country

When Chancellor Rishi Sunak came under fire last year for appearing to suggest that struggling musicians should get another job or re-train for another profession, Scott and fellow artists felt deflated.

Scott said: "It was almost like saying that the job doesn't matter or is not as important as any other profession.

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"But music is everywhere, it's in everything, from radio and television to film scores and adverts. Without musicians we wouldn't have any of it."

And while playing in a band may seem glamorous and fun, few see the behind the scenes planning, rehearsals and work schedules that go into performing and touring.

Scott wanted to be a professional musician from the age of 15

Scott, who has four sons and two grandchildren, admitted that touring Australia with Big Country was one of the hardest things he has ever done in his life.

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He said: "We actually started the tour in New Zealand so after an insane 36 hour flight we had to prepare for a performance and so it went from there., up at 6am each morning to take a flight to the next venue.

"But as professional musicians that is the job and it's part of who you are."

Over the years Scott has played in a succession of bands and was also a music teacher at Blackburn College for several years. He now teaches bass guitar to budding musicians all over the world after he posted a couple of videos on YouTube of himself at work playing what is known as slap bass, This is a style of playing that involves using the edge of the knuckle to strike the string against the fretboard.

The channel has notched up 2,061,259 views and Scott now has nearly 19,000 YouTube subscribers.

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Scott hopes and believes as we emerge from lockdown the future will be different for musicians.

Not only will they be more appreciated, but the way they put their music out there will be more flexible and more artists will have the opportunity to be heard.