Rod Stewart leaves the Scottish to take over the singer of the group ‘stunned times 1000’

The singer of a little-known Scottish cover band said he was “a thousand times flabbergasted” after being hailed for his vocal talents by rock legend Rod Stewart.

Stewart, one of the world’s best-selling artists, said he was blown away by William Hitchell’s voice after hearing him sing the Sam Cooke classic A Change Is Gonna Come.

The 77-year-old Maggie May star said he had ‘the best white soul voice I’ve heard since Frankie Miller’ after receiving a YouTube clip from her r’n’b group The Vintage Explosion playing.

“It’s amazing, really,” said the 42-year-old, still giddy with joy at the praise from one of his musical heroes.

“If you had to choose someone who thought you were a good singer, I would have had Rod Stewart at the top of the list.

“That someone of that stature even take the time to bother.

“I also love Frankie Millar, so talking about these guys in the sentence is just fantastic,” he said.

“As soon as that happened two gigs in Glasgow sold out without two hours and we have to book bigger venues.”

Glasgow hours:

The 42-year-old, married with three children and living near Loch Lomond, says he has always loved 1950s music and singers, including Cooke, Elvis and Little Richard.

“It’s the kind of music I used to listen to in school, which was very, very old fashioned when everyone was listening to Oasis and the Beatles and things like that.

“It comes from my dad, who isn’t that old himself,” the Ayrshire-born singer said with a laugh.

This isn’t the first time his bands have enjoyed the Midas touch of celebrity endorsement.

He also fronted a cover band, Ernest, who performed at comedian Kevin Bridges’ 2019 wedding and actor Simon Pegg tweeted to his 6 million Twitter followers after seeing them live: “If anyone one is looking for a band for his event in Scotland, Roche d’ERNEST! I know because they shook me!’

Although Rod Stewart’s hits don’t quite fit the Vintage Explosion genre, he said he had “already made a fortune” singing Maggie May with Ernest at weddings and festivals.

A session musician since leaving school, playing guitar, piano and vocals, he started the r’n’b group “for his own pleasure” in 2018.

“I have some of the best musicians in Scotland playing with me,” the singer said.

“We were playing in small clubs and jazz clubs in Glasgow. We had only been there for a little while when the pandemic happened so the momentum was lost.

“We play the kind of music that influenced Rod Stewart, so that’s probably where it came from.

“I never thought that playing music from the 50s was going to be the success story of my career,” he laughs.

He says the group have recently started booking former dance halls in Glasgow to create the most authentic experience.

“My idea was to transport people back to the 50s so they could experience all of that,” he said.

“We played the Fairfield Club in Govan which is a fantastic old ballroom and we packed it to capacity in August which was great fun.

“It was all ages. We have old people who are nostalgic for the past, we have the young West End hipsters with the bears and the tattoos and we have another audience who are the people who are jiving 50s, Lindy Hop and so on, which is a show in itself.

“A lot of people come just to watch the dance.”

Rod Stewart was among those honored at this year’s Specsavers Scottish Music Awards.

The London-born rock star received this year’s Outstanding Achievement in Music Award.

Rod Stewart has previously explained how he became a die-hard Scotland and Celtic fan as an Englishman.

The singer who has had 10 number one albums and 31 UK singles, including hits such as Da Ya Think I’m Sexy, Maggie May and Sailing, was born in Highgate, North London, and raised in the British capital.

He qualifies for the award through his Scottish father, Robert, who died in 1990.

Robert Stewart lived in Scotland with his English wife Elsie and their first four children were born there.

But the family moved to London, where their youngest son, Rod, was then welcomed into the world.

The Vintage Explosion play at the Doubletree Hilton in Glasgow on Hogmanay. Tickets at www.tickets-scotland.com


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