Rock heavy weights, Nazareth are gearing up to play their first ever show in Stonehaven at the Town Hall in May.
The gig comes as part of the band’s European tour as they head out on the road with new singer Carl Sentance standing proudly alongside founder, bassist Pete Agnew, and long time members Jimmy Murrison on guitar and drummer Lee Agnew (Pete’s son).
As the backbone of the band, Pete has always remained constant and continued the legacy of Nazareth and can’t wait to take to the stage.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to getting out there again as part of this tour. We’re on the road at the moment with a few shows in Europe, but nothing beats doing shows on our home turf.
“This will be the first time that we have ever played in Stonehaven – well, to the best of my knowledge! – so we are all really excited about that.”
Hailing from Dunfermline Fife, and like all the best bands, Nazareth came from humble beginnings.
Making a name for themselves on the touring circuit of Scottish pubs and clubs throughout the 1960s, they played under their original incarnation of The Shadettes.
The name changed to Nazareth in 1970 and the following year Dan McCafferty, Manny Charlton, Pete Agnew and Darrell Sweet waved goodbye to Scotland and moved to London to start what was to become a long and illustrious career.
Even with the passage of time and line-up changes, Nazareth are still hailed as that rare breed in music – pioneers who became legends in their own lifetimes.
However, 2013 was to be a bittersweet year for the band. Kicking the year off with a Greatest Hits Tour, it started to become apparent that singer Dan McCafferty was suffering health problems.
He had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which was making it increasingly difficult for him onstage.
Ever the ‘road warrior’, Dan soldiered on for as long as he could, but by the autumn of that year, he was forced to bow out from live work, giving the rest of his band mates his blessing to carry on touring without him.
Dan fronted Nazareth for 43 years and gave it his all every night and his legacy as one of the all time great rock vocalists remains.
“We had Dan’s blessing but had no idea where to go next or even sure we had the inclination to actually go anywhere!” Pete said.
The hunt for a new singer began. The band briefly appointed Linton Osborne from their hometown to the role, but this didn’t work out to everyone’s satisfaction so after eight months, the search was back on. When the word got out this time around, the band received CDs, emails, video clips and recordings from all over the world.
Pete said: “It was amazing the response we got but the downside was we had to listen to everything that was sent, in case we missed something good.
“Unfortunately, because of all these reality shows and karaoke competitions like the X Factor, everyone wants to be a star and we got to find out how many different ways you can murder ‘Love Hurts’ – which was actually too many ways to mention!”
A call from their agent suggested they look at a guy who was currently on a nationwide tour with the ‘Classic Rock Show’. That man was Carl Sentance.
He’s no newcomer to the scene and has played in his own band Persian Risk for years as well as touring with Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath and Don Airey of Deep Purple.
“We had been looking at Carl from afar for some time and very much liked what we saw and heard. We asked him to come and sing a couple of songs with us in the studio.
“He came in and completely blew us aways in the space of half a song and was offered and accepted the job on the spot.”
The band have played a number of shows now with Carl centre stage, and it appears that the media and Nazareth fans alike agree wholeheartedly with the band’s choice of front man.
“Despite having a new singer, fans can still expect the same from us – which is a cracking good show. We’ll do some more recent stuff as well as all our classics. It’ll be a great night.”
A new album is rumoured for later this year, but as Pete explains, 2014’s ‘Rock n Roll Telephone’ still seems like new material.
“It doesn’t seem that long since we released that album,” he said. “So I’m not sure if we will be doing anything new as soon as this year, but watch this space!”
A new era seems to be beginning for Nazareth, and the band show no signs of retiring or slowing down anytime soon. Watch this space, indeed...
Nazareth play Stonehaven Town Hall on May 14, before heading to other parts of Scotland later in the year with shows at Dunfermline Glen Pavilion (October 22), Aberdeen The Lemon Tree (October 28) and Glasgow Oran Mor (October 29).To book tickets, visit Ma Simpson’s www.masimpsons.com