The Glee And The Spark


Folk Roots

informal, soul baring, colourful observations, cracking tunes, sharp narratives, a hugely endearing yet provocative album that synthesises McLeod’s long history disrespecting conformist styles and artificial genres. intriguing amalgam of moods concocted here- whenever Morgan puts lips to clarinet you think of Klezmer, every pluck of the Rojas harp takes it into Latino territory and McLeod’s songs acquire the robes of the chameleon. Plenty of glee here and no little spark either..

- Colin Irwin, Folk Roots

Dan Woosman

Made me want to throw away my inhibitions and take to the road: McLeod seemed a kind of Jack Kerouac armed with string instruments and harmonica.The visual impact of the man could never be captured on audio disc."what glorious energy there – the energy to glow in the dark. Bob Morgan positively dazzles on clarinet and saxophone. You have the spark there to light your fire, and this four piece combo will fill you with glee and ensure that the fire will not go out in a hurry..

- Dan Woosman


a unique intriguing fusion between confessional singer songwriter, world music influences, and jazzy swing, different from anything else around. A fresh unique alternative take on life that he highlights through his entertaining exuberant songs. You Can't Just Let Nature Run Wild, a thoughtful song which I personally relate to as a trained Geographer and Ecologist..

- Belvoireman

Roots Music Club

The Familiar Strangers really add meat to the bones of Rory's great material.

- Jonti Willis, Roots Music Club, Doncaster

Rye Festival

To see these guys is to become an instant convert. The double bass provided a constant backbone..

- Phil Laverton, Rye Festival of Music and Arts

Prince Albert

A whole new light. Wonderful stuff!.

- Lotte Lyster, Prince Albert, Stroud

Hebden Bridge Folk Roots

Rory McLeod and the Familiar Strangers are indeed familiar and strange at the same time. Every element of their appearance at Hebden Folk Roots was a joy - for organisers as well as audience..

- Dave Boardman, Artistic Director Hebden Bridge Folk Roots

Hippodrom Eyemouth

Rory McLeod just gets it. His songs are stories that are as old as the hills but refer to the experience of everyone in the room, and he’s cool too, but not so cool that he can’t write a song about his grandmother….which is a song about my grandmother and probably everyone in the room’s grandmother too….universal, affectionate and…. a rare gift this…completely unsentimental. We worried that the stage at the Hippodrome wouldn't be big enough…and sometimes the energy in the polemic and the music and the dancing filled the space to bursting. But it was a shapeshifter of a gig and moments later a shared intimacy and another story wrapped the room in a warm bear hug. Rory has the backing of Diego, Bob and Richard, fabulous musicians all. The Familiar Strangers. Great name for a band. We had that feeling at the end of the night that we’d met before, somewhere on another road..

- Paula Tod, The Hippodrome, Eyemouth

Purbeck Folk Festival

The Familiar Strangers are big favourites at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival. Rory McLeod himself is an amazingly charismatic songwriter. Add the band and there's an upbeat sound backing Rory's robust songs about real people and real life. Icing on the cake is when other performers see Rory at the festival, he is called up on stage to join in on a number. Magic!.

- Paul Burke, Purbeck Folk Festival