Published: 05/10/2012 14:50 - Updated: 05/10/2012 10:55

Bob Harris favourite makes Highland debut

Lizanne Knott hopes not to be standing in the Highland rain.
Lizanne Knott hopes not to be standing in the Highland rain.

DELIBERATE or not, the title of US songwriter Lizanne Knott’s latest album has proved to be only too apt for her latest UK visit.

"Standing in the English Rain" is just what she has been doing a lot of in a tour that coincided with the most severe September storms in 30 years.

"It’s an obscure little title that doesn’t really go with anything, except that it certainly fits with this tour because it rained the entire time we were in England!" she laughed.

"It’s totally my fault, I accept!"

So naturally Knott wants to know if she is less likely to encounter Scottish rain, though even an honest answer on the subject does not put her off her Highland visit.

"Regardless, I’m really looking forward to being there," she said.

"I’ve never been there — but I had a Highland pony once! I’ve heard it’s beautiful though and I’m much more of a country person than a city person. London, I enjoyed a little bit, in Liverpool the people were so friendly and I really enjoyed that, but driving up to Scotland through fields with the sheep and cows, that much more my home setting."

The Philadelphia singer has been spending more time on this side of the Atlantic since BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris started playing what he has called her "absolutely gorgeous music" regularly.

"We’ve rarely had as big a reaction to any artist in recent years that we’ve had for Lizanne Knott," Harris has said.

In turn Knott, already an award-winning artist in the USA, acknowledges the part Whispering Bob has played in building up a UK audience.

"It’s pretty much down to Bob Harris promoting my music," she said.

"I love coming over here and touring here. You have very warm, attentive audiences."

A managing partner at the Grammy Award winning Morning Star Studios in Pennsylvannia, where some of the latest album was recorded, Knott is now recognised as a leading member of the Philadelphia acoustic music scene, spreading out with radio airplay and live appearances across the country and one reflection of her rising standing is a guest appearance from "At 17" singer Janis Ian.

Even gaining a foothold in her native city, however, took a lot of hard work, especially as she has had to juggle her own musical career with the demands of running a successful studio and being a mother of four.

"It can be very difficult. Philadelphia is a very hard town to make a name in if you are a young band," she said.

"Then if you are getting good airplay on the east coast, nobody may have heard of you on the west coast. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, but it is hard for young artists to get themselves heard."

• Lizanne Knott is at the Lyth Centre, Wick, on Saturday 6th October and the OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, on Sunday 7th. Both shows start at 8pm.

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