TradConnect Reviews "A Brace of Pistols"

Delighted that the fine folks at have given us a great review on our second CD,  A Brace of Pistols (which is available for purchase in our Shop).  You can read the review here on

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Who was “The Bonny Earl o’ Moray”? Wikipedia has a nice write up that we’ll post here.

The ballad touches on a true story stemming from the rivalry of James Stewart, Earl of Moray (pronounced Murray), and the Earl of Huntly, which culminated in Huntly's murder of Moray in 1592. The exact circumstances that led to the murder are not known for certain, but both their families, the Stewarts of Doune (pronounced "doon") and the Gordons of Huntly, had a history of territorial rivalry and competition for royal favour. In his notes on the ballad Francis James Child relates how Huntly, eager to prove that Moray was plotting with the Earl of Bothwell against King James VI, received a commission to bring Moray to trial. In the attempt to apprehend Moray, the earl's house at Donibristle in Fife was set on fire and the visiting Sheriff of Moray killed. Moray fled the house, but was chased and killed in its grounds, betrayed, it was said, by the glow of his burning helmet tassle. His last words, according to the (probably apocryphal) story related by Walter Scott, deserve special mention. Huntly slashed him across the face with his sword, and as he lay dying Moray said "Ye hae spilt a better face than yer ain" ("You have spoiled a better face than your own"). The killing was widely condemned. Moray's mother, Margaret Campbell, had a painting made of her son's dead body, as evidence of his multiple wounds, bearing the legend "God Revenge My Caus". Her intention was to show this publicly at the Cross in Edinburgh, but the King ignored her request, effectively withholding permission.

Booking Information

The Gallowglasses perform all around the San Francisco Bay area, from the North Bay all the way down to Santa Cruz. To arrange a book, just check out our Contact Page.

Who Were the Gallowglasses?

In the 12th and 13th centuries, Gallowglasses were Scot mercenaries serving in Ireland. The word 'Gallowglass' would later come to mean, simply, foreigner. 

Despite our strong Scot and Irish ancestry, the members that make up The Gallowglasses are all Americans - foreigners in many ways - to Ireland. Still, we strive to play the tradition music of Ireland and Scotland in ways that are both traditional and new.

Even our instrumentation tips the hat to the old (fiddle, bodhran, vocal) and the new (guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, mandola). Mix in our occasional guest appearances by uilleann and border pipes, whistles, flutes, recorders and even kit drums -  the sound becomes much more than just Trad Irish.