Preview: Julie Fowlis, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street

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ON the face of it, few “crossover” artists have as tough a job of winning over the public-at-large as folk singer Julie Fowlis.

ON the face of it, few “crossover” artists have as tough a job of winning over the public-at-large as folk singer Julie Fowlis.

Since her well-received debut album of 2005, Mar a Tha Mo Chridhe (As My Heart Is In English), Fowlis has recorded and performed music almost exclusively in Scottish Gaelic.

Given that only one per cent of the population speak the language, Fowlis’ deliberate pursuit of the road less travelled might give cause for people to consider her a somewhat inaccessible proposition.

Her increasing popularity, as will no doubt be evidenced at her appearance at the Queen’s Hall this Sunday, betrays that.

Counting Radiohead drummer Phil Selway and Ricky Gervais among her fans, the Outer Hebridean multi-instrumentalist can now boast (in her own, understated way) three studio albums and a live album released earlier this year, Live At Perthshire Amber, which perhaps best showcases her light, crystalline voice and the stage setting that she revels in.

Numerous appearances on radio and television, including Later . . . with Jools Holland, as well as her own BBC show, Fowlis On Folk, have strengthened her case.

Though diehard Beatles bores may wince at her cover of Fab Four classic Blackbird, its heavy rotation, particularly on Radio 2, has given a wider audience the opportunity to take notice of her considerable talent.

Her pastoral lilt adds something otherworldly to the acoustic guitars and soft violas of the original, and the song showcases the singer in a more accessible light.

Fowlis’ career continues on its upward trajectory and that’s perhaps down to her single-mindedness, summed up by how she herself approaches her use of Gaelic in music.

“Language is never a barrier – music is a universal language,” she says.

Julie Fowlis, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Sunday, 8pm, £16, 0131-668 2019