“A fire ran through the Old Town in 2002 and made me think how much I love this place. I wrote this song after showing some friends round the town.”
Rob Hampton, a guitar teacher based in Seattle, USA, has very kindly allowed us to reproduce his detailed transcription of “Fires of Edinburgh”, from Nick’s “All Over This Town” album.
Rob’s guitar teaching can be found at www.heartwoodguitar.com. Its a fantastic site, full of material, lessons and guidance for guitar players.
“Transcribing this song was a big task, but immensely rewarding. Almost always there are lyrics available for the songs I chart, but because this is an obscure tune, the lyric-deciphering was up to me. And because I knew nothing about Edinburgh before the project, getting the many place names right required that I dig deep into Wikipedia. I had become a musical archeologist for a day.
What I unearthed brought the song to life: The “trail of gunpowder,” for example, refers to the murder of Mary, Queen of Scots’ second husband, whose house, located near the catacomb-riddled Cowgate neighborhood pictured above, was destroyed by a gunpowder explosion but who appeared to have been strangled, his body unmarked by the explosion. Discovering these details was a thrilling treasure hunt.
The musicianship and songwriting is top-notch. Keir was a skilled flatpicker, playing fast, clean arpeggios at the beginning and ending of the song. The melody in this song is lovely, and his voice is clear and honest.”
Fires of Edinburgh – Audio Clip