South Perth: Scottish tenor Jim McGuire engineers successful music career at 69

Scottish Tenor Jim McGuire of South Perth is home after touring and has a new album called: Where Two Hawks Fly. Picture: David Baylis.
Scottish Tenor Jim McGuire of South Perth is home after touring and has a new album called: Where Two Hawks Fly. Picture: David Baylis.

IN THE music industry you can keep on going until you “drop off the perch” – and that’s exactly what 69-year-old Scottish tenor Jim McGuire intends to do.

The South Perth musician, who is also an electrical engineer and physicist, recently returned from touring Scotland, England and the US promoting his latest album.

Where Two Hawks Fly was the result of three months’ work in which McGuire recorded vocal and individual instrument tracks including the flute, fiddle and bagpipes, separately.

With music in his blood, McGuire said the inspiration for the album was songs from his childhood growing up in Scotland with a musical family.

“Many of the traditional songs from my childhood, which are mostly history in verse, are disappearing as the old performers die out,” he said.

“For some reason I have a great memory for songs, probably from being brainwashed at an early age.

“So I wanted to do an album devoted to some of my best loved traditional Scottish songs.”

McGuire said his household was full of music and culture, with his mother a singer and his older sister musical too.

“Once or twice a week when we had visitors it would turn into a sing-song,” he said.

“So from a toddler I was encouraged to sing and absorbed all of the music and songs I heard during those formative years.

“I started learning guitar when I was nine-years-old and joined my first band at 12.

“From 16, I started playing in some of Scotland’s top bands and continued performing through university when the band I was playing with went on a tour of America and I stayed behind to finish my studies.”

Although he chose to follow scholastic pursuits, McGuire recalled music career highlights including meeting some of the top rock musicians and performing with top British bands in Scotland.

For McGuire, the best part about music is bringing joy and uniting people.

“In my band Jimjam we say this is our mission, as well as proving to the world that engineers and scientists can be fun people,” he said.

“Fortunately in the music industry you can keep going till you drop off the perch or run out of steam, and at 69 that is what I intend to do.

“So to any closet musicians I would say, just do it – it’s never too late.”