Toby Jeffery of True Gents shares a potted history of the Perthshire collective and a special acoustic song from his beloved Invermay woods - with backing vocals from a friendly pheasant!
My name is Toby Jeffery, a singer-songwriter, and part of a collective called the True Gents. The band materialised when myself and compadre Euan Nicol began exchanging songs we had written in the early 00’s.
I was born in 1982 and began life in Stanley, Perthshire. When I was 5, we moved out to Invermay, on the back road from Forgandenny to Dunning. Surrounded by woodland, the area would provide endless inspiration for me and my peers. Even recently, I have written a song inspired by friendships and what seemed like endless days of summer, venturing through the woods with instruments on our backs…
I was originally going to name this song The Birks of Invermay after finding this title marked on an old map of the area. I thought surely there won’t be one already (somewhat naively) but to my surprise there was indeed a song of this exact title and a wonderful piece at that, recorded by Karine Polwart and The McCalmans amongst others. In 2006, myself and Euan recorded our first set of songs with producer Robyn Wynn Evans at T-Pot Studio up Path of Condie. By 2007 we had a whole set of new songs and enlisted the help of Gordon McIntosh (Godge) who had his own mobile setup which meant we could record at Invermay. His knowledge and influence was inspirational and during the course of the sessions, local friends and artists appeared at the house to get involved in the action, a pivotal moment in the True Gents first lineup as a band. As the band began to take shape we crossed paths with David Macfarlane who was not only an incredible fiddle player but a producer as well and would go on to work with us on many projects. I don’t have enough space to write about all the band members over the years (all excellent musicians and good friends) but you can learn more about them all here.
We have been lucky enough to play all over Scotland and the festival circuit (including Southern Fried Festival), performing in some prestigous places along the way; Oran Mor, King Tuts, Perth Theatre, and Perth Concert Hall, which was one of those moments that maybe only happen once in a lifetime. Our musical journey has seen the release of an EP, our debut album In The Dark We Set Sail, our 2nd album Blood Moon and several singles. Currently we are still recording for a potential 3rd album but it's been put on hold due to Covid restrictions. Over the past year I have been writing songs which I feel are leaning back towards my folky roots again and have decided to release my first EP which I will be working on this year with David Macfarlane. I will no doubt be asking some of my friends to collaborate with me on this, and I hope to have something to release by 2022 if not sooner!