HOW refreshing to see and hear a vivid, three-dimensional view of Scotland through the eyes of one it keenest observers.

Aidan Moffat is a bearded, foul-mouthed singer, formerly the potty-mouthed front man from cult Nineties' band Arab Strap. Look beyond the expletives (often cleverly used to send himself up), Moffat is a truly accomplished storyteller; conveying the dark heart of a Glasgow night in three minutes or less.

A serial collaborator, last seen in York with Bill Wells in April 2012, it is a natural progression that he should also venture into film. Funded as part of the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Where You’re Meant To Be is a wry, quietly wonderful road movie cum documentary about Scottish folk music.

The premise is that Moffat wanted to update the words of ancient bawdy ballads to resonate with a modern audience, then take these urban re-creations to where this folk tradition lives on, rural Aberdeenshire and inner and outer Hebrides.

The film takes on additional resonance thanks to the inclusion of Sheila Stewart, a travelling balladeer (and MBE), who was the last in a formidable family line to guard these ballads. She doesn’t take kindly to Moffat’s shenanigans and died as the film was being edited. Her music and traditions become the central preoccupation of the film, with Moffat’s elegiac voiceover giving the narrative a sense of purpose: should folk music be revived, re-invented or left to die?

It is no surprise that the film contains lots of Moffat’s music, left to run, stutter and start again, but it is the cast of Scots who they run into (not literally) who make the film memorable.

York Press: Aidan Moffat in Where You're Meant to Be

Aidan Moffat: "Natural progression that he should also venture into film"

Wry, comedic and keenly observed, arguably the real star is cinematographer Julian Schwanitz who unerringly catches "those decisive moments". Best of the bunch was an astonishingly intimate encounter with a grieving farmer on Skype drunk on loss, whisky and the strains of Wild Mountain Thyme. A diverting detour fully in the questing spirit of the film.

Although the tour took three weeks, this was a two-year production and feels like a labour of love. Like his American counterpart Jim White and his Search for the Wrong Eyed Jesus, Moffat is an excellent guide to a fading world. The final culmination in the Barrowlands feels overly contrived and you are left with a sneaking suspicion that Stewart was right to doubt Moffats’s commitment to the folk cause, arguably better served by the bookish Alasdair Roberts.

Following a question and answer session with documentary director Paul Fegan, Moffat emerged from the screen to perform in person a short set of choice off-cuts from his live album that also takes the film’s name. With nary a guitar for company, his distinctive, sometimes monotone singing is an acquired taste, but there was much to savour in those Falkirk vowels.

His modern re-interpretations of old folk songs are suitably filthy, blackly humourous, and thanks to those age-old tunes, full of melody. The film’s central song, The Parting Song, has a sentiment that Moffat and his audience could clearly relate to, while the timeless (and unprintable) Ball Of Kerriemuir couldn’t fail to raise a broad smile.