" this is a group that clearly has a staggering level of chemistry and as a result, you can most definitely hear the fun that's being had from everyone involved. Highlander serves up a particularly juicy slice of authentic Scottish Celtic rock that is sure to get those feet tapping and bodies swaying" - Highland Laddie / The Battle
Andre Avanessian (Radio Airplay.com)
Highlander is a five piece Celtic rock band that features heart stomping Bagpipes, fiddle and rocking rhythm. Its the bands strong passion for Celtic music that drives Highlanders energetic live performance which appeals to people of all ages. The Scottish Celtic Rock band from down-under spans 2 decades headlining many festivals including The National and Australian Celtic Festivals, Illawarra Folk and Tamworth Country music festivals.
In 2014 the band was awarded Best Instrumental and Best Traditional Song in the Australian Celtic Music Awards following the release of their second album, “The Dark Island“.
Following the challengers of playing virtually for the past few years the band released its third album "Start the Fire" in April 2022 which includes several original songs as well as some well known covers and traditional arrangements. The title track "Start the Fire" is a song about the Flying Scotsman steam locomotive and has featured on BBC Scotland's Afternoon Show.
The Australia-based Celtic rock band Highlander deliver a sparkling rendition of a folk classic, with their release of "I Am Sailing." This song encapsulates the contradictory themes of both joyous freedom, as well as a sense of languishing homesickness. Guitars and fiddles are joined here by pipes and whistles, creating an incredibly authentic Celtic "full band" sound on this track that's highlighted by lead singer Justin Body's passionate and slightly weathered vocal performance, further heightened by gorgeous, wide-open background harmonies. Fans of the earlier versions of this song will absolutely love Highlander's take on "I Am Sailing", as will folk-rock audiences in general thanks to the brilliant production and stunning performances.
- Andre Avanessian (Radio Airplay.com)
With the power of a locomotive, Start The Fire by Highlander roars in with a Celtic Rock sound that cannot be stopped. Crunchy guitars push forward with flute and drums to give the introduction a burning drive. The bass guitar takes a melodic approach and invites the listener in by grabbing some spotlight. Lyrically, Start The Fire ignites a home-bound pride while onboard the Flying Scot. The vocals carry the tune with a gritty tone and strong presence. They shout with confidence in the chorus and firmly set the song in the listener's ear. This is the sort of tune that instantly spurs Celtic images and does so with a high degree of creativity. With the release of Start The Fire, Highlander gets fans' hearts racing and wells up a burning sense of pride.
- Zachary Larson (Radio Airplay.com)
Managing to excitingly fuse together a number of traditional highland instrumentals together with both a marvelous sense of unbridled conviction and relenting vigor, Highlander serves up a particularly juicy slice of authentic Scottish Celtic rock that is sure to get those feet tapping and bodies swaying. With its brilliant duel bagpipe and fiddle melodic extravagance and driving rhythms courtesy of meaty overdriven guitars, thunderous bass, and rousing percussion, this is a fantastic tribute to ye olde Highlands that many a music lover can appreciate.
- Andre Avanessian (Radio Airplay.com)
Our last stop for the day takes us back to Australia, more specific to the beautiful city of Newcastle, and the Highlander Celtic Rock Band, a unique collective of musicians known for their mix of Rock and traditional Celtic folk music. Start the Fire, is dedicated to all the people who spent their lives rebuilding and keeping the legendary Flying Scotsman steam locomotive still running. This starts with the characteristic sound of this iconic vehicle and the initial chords, as the track progresses, the rest of the instrumentation takes place, violins, whistles, and powerful drums embellish this piece through a fantastic cornucopia of soundscapes, escalating to an energized tune of epic proportions, metaphorically speaking, giving the vibe of a locomotive steamrolling everything in its path in a blaze of pride and glory.
- Javier Rodriguez (Right Chord Music)
I had an absolute ball at the Australian Celtic Festival last weekend. I heard a fabulous band called Highlander, led by Justin Body, who plays bagpipes and tin whistle (although not at the same time) and he has a fine voice. With their great musicianship,high energy and fun outlook, they had everyone smiling, laughing and rocking along in no time. They’d be a great addition to the roster of any venue with a large stage and big dance floor. Do yourself a favour and get along to the Australian Celtic Festival next year. It’s a hoot,but don’t forget your winter woollies – it’s at least two jumpers colder up in the highlands than it is in Tamworth.
- Anna Rose - Northern Daily Leader
A real coup for Brigadoon and a huge hit with the spectators on the day was the introduction of Highlander Celtic Rock Band from Newcastle, they were exceptional, this was Celtic music at its very best, but with an entirely different sound, the sound of ROCK. The group consisted of the usual bagpipes but this was accompanied by electric and acoustic Guitars, electric Fiddle and drums, the end result was marvelous and had the crowds rocking on the oval. This is a show not to be missed; they received a tremendous response from the very appreciative audience, their rendition of Flower of Scotland had the crowd in full voice, and the finale Auld Lang Syne was just an ideal way to end a day of truly highland entertainment.
- Posted by (ACER) Australian Council for Educational Research from Victoria
Playlist features music from "North of the Wall", "The Dark Island" and "Start the Fire" albums
National Celtic Festival - 2016
Photo 1 Start the Fire - 2022
Photo 2 Start the Fire - 2022