Phil and friends sing from his Christmas songbook

Phil Cunningham with Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, John McCusker, Kris Drever, Ian Carr and Kevin McGuire

Phil Cunningham with Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, John McCusker, Kris Drever, Ian Carr and Kevin McGuire

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PHIL Cunningham is back at the Queen’s Hall with his Christmas Songbook next Tuesday and this year he has a host of special guests joining him.

Teeming with anecdotes, modern and traditional Christmas music and musicianship guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings, Cunningham will be joined by some of the best known musicians on the Scottish folk scene.

Step forward Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, John McCusker, Kris Drever, Ian Carr and Kevin McGuire.

Fondly remembered from his days with popular Scottish folk band Silly Wizard and as the witty musical partner of Shetland fiddler Aly Bain, Cunningham has long been a favourite over the Christmas and New Year periods.

Schooled in Portobello, Cunningham played accordion and violin from a young age, joining his elder brother Johnny in Silly Wizard when he was just 16.

When Silly Wizard split, the siblings recorded and toured with Relativity.

Cunningham was awarded the MBE for services to Scottish music in 2002 .

Along with Aly Bain, Cunningham has long been a mainstay of BBC Scotland’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations.

Keeping him company at the Queen’s Hall Christmas gathering are a powerful mix of vocalists including Eddi Reader, who boasts a career spanning more than three decades, three BRIT awards and a No 1 single.

Also on the bill, Karen Matheson is recognised the world over as the haunting lead vocalist of Celtic supergroup, Capercaillie.

Orcadian singer and guitarist Kris Drever, meanwhile, is part of the backbone of today’s contemporary roots scene and is a member of folk superstars, Lau.

The songbook also features multi-instrumentalist John McCusker, who has worked with the likes of Mark Knopfler, Paul Weller and Patti Smith, Teenage Fanclub and Billy Connolly.

Ian Carr, known for his original and eclectic approach to traditional music, will be there too, as will Kevin McGuire, a highly sought after double bassist who has performed with the likes of Karine Polwart and Kate Rusby.

Phil Cunningham’s Christmas Songbook, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Tuesday and Thursday, 7.30pm, £24, 0131-668 2019