The Pictish Trail and King Creosote
The Pictish Trail and King Creosote at Fence Halloween, Stereo in 2010
Image: Takeshi Suga

Hero Worship: King Creosote

Fence Records boss Johnny Lynch, AKA The Pictish Trail, applauds his best pal
Feature by Johnny Lynch.
Published 29 November 2011

You know your favourite songwriter? The one whose songs speak to you, almost like they were written for and about you? Well forget that songwriter. And forget their shit songs and your shit life. Your new favourite songwriter is Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote. There's not a single songwriter on the planet that comes close to what he's released, and what he continues to release. He's my hero.

No one writes like him. No one. He doesn't write songs for the football terraces, or for the indie disco, or even for other people. Kenny writes songs for Kenny, and Kenny's songs are pretty much all about Kenny – filled with local references, puns and in-jokes that only Kenny gets. Even his most anthemic songs, like Not One Bit Ashamed, contain colloquial turns of phrase ('still you smoke like a lum') that would sound out of place on anyone else's records.  And he's done FORTY albums of the stuff. FOUR-ZERO. That's not including his Skhuobhie Dubh Orchestra and Khartoum Heroes albums. And, you know what? Each album gets stronger and stronger. I've heard the follow up to the Mercury nominated Diamond Mine – you're in for a treat.

And that voice – jings! Somehow he's managed to get his voice to sound like his accordion – so, even when the accordion is not on a recording, it kinda sounds like it is. Usually distinctive voices tend to grate after awhile, even with the best songwriters – I'm thinking Dylan, Kevin Rowland, Morrissey. Kenny's voice manages to be Scottish and real without making you feel sick or embarrassed, and I don't know of a single person who doesn't like it. And if you have a friend who says that they don't like Kenny's voice you have my permission to punch them square in the mouth. Then spit in their eye.

When he founded Fence Records in the mid-90s, and bought one of the first CD-R burners on the market, Kenny unwittingly pioneered the current age of DIY labels.  Fence became the first cottage industry record label of its kind, and – in terms of output and aesthetic – it's still the best there is. With the Fence Collective he's managed to create a vibrant music scene outside of Glasgow/Edinburgh, putting the East Neuk of Fife on the map as an area blooming with musical talent.  For me, the dude is the most influential and important Scottish musician of the past 15 years - and no one else comes close.

Oh, except mibbe that Paolo Nutini, eh.