“RM Hubbert (Robert McArthur Hubbert, born 12 May 1974 in Glasgow, Scotland), commonly known as Hubby, is a Scottish guitarist and singer. Best known for his solo work and as a member of Scottish post rock band El Hombre Trajeado, he has been an active member of the Glaswegian DIY music scene since 1991.
Hubbert’s first band was formed in 1991 under the name Me, Hubby & Thom. The band’s drummer, Thom Falls, also played drums for Glasgow band The Blisters, notable as the first band of future Franz Ferdinand guitarist and singer Alex Kapranos.
Kapranos and Hubbert became friends whilst running The Kazoo Club at The 13th Note in Glasgow after the original promoter quit. Hubbert later joined The Blisters on second guitar. He then joined Glaswegian hardcore band Glue in 1992 until the group split in 1995.
El Hombre Trajeado formed in 1995 with Stevie Jones, Ben Jones and Stef Sinclair, releasing three albums; Skipafone (Guided Missile Recordings, GUIDE33CD, 1998), Saccade (Human Condition Records, HCCD0031, 2001) and Shlap (Lost Dog Recordings, ARFF004, 2004) before disbanding in 2005. lthough the band rarely toured, they supported artists such as Nick Cave, Sebadoh, Tortoise, Mike Watt and The Delgados around the UK. They recorded three radio sessions for John Peel on BBC Radio One between 1998 and 2001.
Originally planned as a distraction to take his mind off of the death of his parents, the nine solo guitar pieces that make up Hubbert’s debut album First & Last are based on flamenco structures and techniques, albeit with a modern approach to melody. Hubbert self-released First & Last as a limited edition hand bound book with CD on the DIY label Ubisano in 2009. The release garnered good reviews, leading to the long-running influential Scottish record label Chemikal Underground signing him in late 2010.
Hubbert (credited as Robert Hubbert) also played electric guitar on Alasdair Roberts‘s 2010 album Too Long in This Condition. Chemikal Underground reissued First & Last on 12″ vinyl and CD in early 2011.
Hubbert’s second album for Chemikal Underground, Thirteen Lost & Found (2012), is predominately made up of collaborations with other Scottish musicians such as Aidan Moffat, Emma Pollock and Alasdair Roberts. The album was conceived as a way of reconnecting with old friends whilst getting to know newer ones better. This album also saw Hubbert work again with Alex Kapranos, who acted as producer.
A prolific live performer, Hubbert has toured extensively around the UK and mainland Europe both on his own and in support slots for the likes of Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Twilight Sad, Franz Ferdinand, Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, King Creosote, Emma Pollock and Thee Silver Mt. Zion.
Thirteen Lost & Found won the Scottish Album of the Year Award in 2013, beating albums by Emeli Sande, Calvin Harris, Django Django and The Twilight Sad amongst others, and picking up the £20,000 prize.
Breaks & Bone, Hubbert’s third solo album – and the first on which he also sings – was released on Chemikal Underground in September 2013. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Scottish Album of the Year Award alongside albums by Biffy Clyro, Chvrches, Mogwai and Boards of Canada amongst others.
Ampersand Extras, consisting of unreleased recordings, b-sides and rarities, was released in September 2014 through Chemikal Underground.
In April 2016, Hubbert released his fifth album for Chemikal Underground, Telling the Trees. Envisaged as a companion piece to Thirteen Lost & Found, Hubbert went about writing and recording Telling the Trees in as opposite a manner as possible. Collaborators were chosen that he did not previously know and the songs were written remotely and in isolation. It was shortlisted for the 2016 Scottish Album of the Year Award alongside Mogwai, Honeyblood, Ela Orleans and the eventual winners, Sacred Paws.
In May 2018 Hubbert released a joint album with long-time friend and collaborator Aidan Moffat titled Here Lies the Body. Its lead single, Cockcrow, featured Siobhan Wilson on vocals along with Moffat. The track was playlisted by BBC 6 Music, as was a further single, Quantum Theory Love Story. Here Lies the Body entered the Scottish Album Chart at number 15and was shortlisted for the 2019 Scottish Album of the Year Award.
Another album quickly followed in December 2019, again alongside Moffat – Ghost Stories for Christmas. This collection of Christmas themed songs entered the UK Record Store Chart at number 1.
Record Store Day 2019 saw the third full-length release with Aidan Moffat within a year, What the Night Bestows Us. Recorded live on tour in England in November 2018, the duo were joined by Jenny Reeve on violin and vocals for a set of stripped back arrangements from the duo’s previous two collaborations.
Cut to Black, the final release by Moffat & Hubbert, was released on 7″ in August 2019. It debuted at number 9 in the UK Vinyl Singles Chart.
Hubby is, as the wiki page indicates, one of the great stalwarts of the indie (in the truest sense of the word) scene in Scotland, and his unexpected win of the SAY Award in 2013 was immensely popular amongst his peers. He has never hidden from the fact that he suffers terribly from mental illness, often referring to his difficulties when talking to the media about his music, his achievements and his live shows, all of which are substantial.
He has, unsurprisingly, been very quiet these past 18 months as the world has had to come to terms with all the changes wrought on it by COVID, but there are many of us who really hope that, as things slowly return to a less chaotic situation, RM Hubbert will soon be back doing what he does best.
Here’s a track from the album Thirteen Lost and Found. Regular visitors will recognise the vocalist:-
mp3: RM Hubbert – Car Song
And here’s a link to his official website, where you can enjoy much more (including a video featuring his and Aidan Moffat’s cover version of Only You by Yazoo)
One thought on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #274: RM HUBBERT”
It’s always a treat to read about Hubby who is a lovely man that makes even lovelier music.
I think the band chronology may be wrong? I’d bet a custard creme that Me, Hubby and Thom came after both Hubby and Thom’s stint in the wonderful Blisters or as the Blisters were winding down. That’s my recollection, at least.
The “Me” being Stevie Jones also of El Hombre Trajeado, too numerous collaborations and Sound of Yells.
There really was a good deal of really, genuinely nice folk in that ‘scene’. Here’s to Hubby, Stevie, Thom and Alex and oh so many more …