Starsailor's James Walsh releases cover version of Scottish 'anthem'

Starsailor frontman James Walsh has just released a song in homage to his mother’s homeland.

Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 12:30 pm
James Walsh live on stage

Chorley born James’ mum is from Perthshire - and the musician is proud of his Lancashire and Scottish roots.

James released a cover version of Dougie Maclean’s Caledonia on July 17.

A modern Scottish folk ballad, Caledonia was written by MacLean in 1977.

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James Walsh on his guitar during lockdown

A Scottish anthem, it has been covered by many artists.

London-based James said: “There wasn’t any grand plan behind recording Caledonia. I’ve been throwing in a few covers during my lockdown performances and that one proved popular.

“It means a lot because of my Scottish roots on my mum’s side. Although it’s well known amongst fans of Celtic music and has been reinterpreted by folk musicians and similar artists, I wanted to share it with my audience and introduce it to people who perhaps hadn’t heard the song before.

“I don’t profess to have a massive fan base but there’s been some great feedback from people who’d never heard the song before so I’m glad to share it.”

Starsailor burst onto the scene in 2001 when their single Fever earned them the title of “Britain’s best new band”.

The band was formed at Wigan and Leigh Music College

“Growing up in Chorley, Lancashire had a big influence on me as a musician,” said James. “Seeing bands like The Verve go off and do big things was very inspiring.

“I fed my Britpop obsession every weekend at Action Records in Preston and it was a big moment for me to do a big in store gig there some years back. Having the 20th anniversary of ‘Love Is Here’ on the horizon has made me reflect on my Lancashire roots.”

James says he is looking to getting back to live gigs post Covid-19.

"I can’t wait to get back to doing live gigs. Although playing to a load of sweaty bodies in 53 degrees seems a way off hopefully there’s a way for safe socially distancing gigs to happen


"Lots of people I reckon would accept the restrictions for the chance to hear live music again I think, and the venues need it. I think we all need it to be honest."

Caledonia is available on iTunes at

James performed the entire Love is Here album in April 2020 online and raised close to £7,500 for NHS Together.

The last time he played Lancashire was at a special Christmas show at Preston Guild Hall on December 20, 2017 titled Butter Pies &Lullabies - End of Year

Party as Starsailor toured their last album ‘All This Life’.

The BBC Four documentary about Rockfield studios, where Led Zeppelin, Stone Roses and other bands have recorded, is also where James and Starsailor recorded their first album Love is Here; which reaches its 20th anniversary in 2021.

Starsailor burst onto the scene in 2001 when their single Fever earned them the title of "Britain's best new band".

The band was formed at Wigan and Leigh Music College by music students James Walsh (vocals/guitar), James Stelfox (bass), and Ben Byrne (drums).

Later saw the arrival of keyboardist Barry Westhead, who cemented their sound.

Their second single, Good Souls, reached the Top 20, and Alcoholic earned the band their first UK Top 10 hit.

Their album Love Is Here reached Number Two in the UK Album Charts in October 2001, after receiving great critical acclaim.

The year ended with the band winning the "Brightest New Hope" award at the NME Awards.

After a five-year hiatus, the band reformed in 2014, enjoying triumphant festival performances at the Isle of Wight Festival (UK), Pentaport (Korea), Rock Zottegem (Belgium) to name a few. 2015 saw them tour the UK, Europe, China, Korea, and a co-headline tour of the US and Canada with Embrace.

Their return was swiftly followed by the release of their biggest hits through ‘Good Souls: The Greatest Hits’ in 2015 which included two brand new tracks ‘Give Up the Ghost’ and ‘Hold On’.

The band were back in the studio at the end of 2016 and into 2017, resulting in their 5th studio album ‘All This Life’.