The annual festivities for the Scottish Album of the Year kicked off on Friday 26th July with the announcement of the 2019 Longlist, as Edinburgh takes its turn as host city, with a gala ball at the capital’s noble Queen’s Hall. 

Hosted by those cherished chaperons of new Scottish music, Nicola Meighan and Vic Galloway, and assisted by The Skinny’s Tallah Brash at the DJ decks, the event saw live performances from SAY Award alumni Modern Studies, Kobi Anyame and C Duncan.

Modern Studies were augmented for the evening by Idlewild’s Rod Jones, and his strident, authoritative lead guitar dovetailed surprisingly neatly with the band’s ever-beguiling chamber pop. Kobi Onyame brought along a complete brass section to lend weight and punch to his arresting combination of highlife, ska and rap, as his striking stagecraft continues to flourish and mature. Providing the finalé, C Duncan seduced the audience, packed as it was with the cream of the nation’s artists, commentators and taste-makers, with their delectably tempting yacht-rock groove.

Talk in the common areas over drinks between the sets was largely of the speculative sort, with opinions ventured on who might make it to this year’s longlist, and the real-life benefits that being listed for the award have provided for past winners and nominees. A common theme was the comparison between the SAY awards and the Mercury awards, whose shortlist was also recently announced, with the consensus being that the SAY awards are much less tokenistic than their London-based counterparts; with the breadth and variety of acts nominated for the SAY appearing much more natural and organic than the forced nature of some of the inclusions to the Mercury lists. 

So now it’s on to the next task of whittling that longlist down to a shortlist of ten, with the general public offered the chance to vote for one record, before the 2019 winner is announced at an awards ceremony on Friday 6th September at the stately Assembly Rooms venue on George Street in the heart of Edinburgh. 

Details of the 2019 Scottish Album of the Year award, including the full list of longlist nominations, can be found on the official SAY Award website.