I’ve got a day off so thought I’d fill you in on what’s been happening the last few months!
March was taken up with a 15 gig UK tour with Salsa Celtica. The band were on form and we played some really great gigs. We missed fiddler and vocalist Megan Henderson who was on Breabach duties but her spot was aptly filled by Aileen Gobbi (Gaelic Singer of the Year 2014) for the first leg, then Laura Wilkie and Maeve Mackinnon for the second leg, well done to them for learning all the material!
April started with getting pipes and whistles recorded for the new Treacherous Orchestra album. We were lucky enough to use Hamilton Mausoleum to record a slow piece on the album. The mausoleum held the record for the longest echo for a man-made structure in the world – 15 seconds reverb. Some place! It’s nearly finished and we are all really happy with where its going – keep a look out later in the year for it’s release!
Next up was a wee trip to Mieres in Asturias. I had my first proper tour in the North of Spain with Gordon Duncan and Ali Hutton when I was 17 so it was great to go back with my own band. Unfortunately regulars Ali Hutton and James Mackintosh couldn’t make it along but I was joined by Mike Bryan on guitar and Gordy Duncan Jr on drums, the boys did a great job so cheers to them!
April came to an end with some Treacherous Orchestra gigs, one in Strathpeffer Pavilion supported by great new band Elephant Sessions followed by a rammed gig the next day in Stirling at the Tolbooth.
May was a really busy month that started off in Belfast with Jarlath Henderson. We were asked to play for the opening of Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts. It’s an amazing venue to play and we’ll hopefully be back soon, cheers to Ray Giffen for looking after us!
We had an early flight back from Belfast so that we could drive up to Oban to catch a ferry to Mull where we were playing for a showcase weekend called “The Visit”. Thanks to Innes Watson for filling in for Ali Hutton who was on Old Blind Dogs duties!
I had another early start to get the ferry back to Oban and drive over to Aberlour where I had a gig with Charlie Mckerron and Tim Edey for the Spirit of Speyside Festival. It’s always great to play with the guys and good to see some Dunning pals who came up to visit!
To finish the run of gigs, Jar and I drove down to Edinburgh to meet Ali Hutton to play as part of the Tradfest. It was a piping night so we were sharing the bill with Roddy MacLeod, Hamish Moore, Gary West and a quartet from the Boghall and Bathgate Pipe Band.
Next up, I had four gigs with singer/melodeon player Luke Daniels, playing some new music called “Songs of the Scottish Enlightenment”. We played at Edinburgh House Concerts, the Glad Cafe in Glasgow, Tolbooth in Stirling and finished in the Woodend Barn in Banchory. There was some great musicians involved including Matheu Watson on guitar, Patsy Reid on fiddle, Signy Jacobsdottir on percussion and brilliant American gaelic singer Yaffa Quan-Weinreich.
I drove back to Glasgow after Banchory to catch a few hours sleep before driving to Kennacraig to meet Dougie and Jenny Maclean so that we could catch another ferry – this time to Islay to play at the Whisky Festival, where we were playing in the Bowmore Village Hall. It was great to have Dougie’s camper van over with us (Hotel Caledonia 2). It provides a great backstage area… definitely the way to tour! Cheers to Jenny for looking after us and cooking!
The following day I had to get to Dumfries to play at Knockengorroch festival and had another really early start catching the 7am ferry back to the mainland. I met up with Ali in Glasgow and we drove down to meet the hippies! If you’ve not been to Knockengorroch I’d recommend it, it’s definitely a unique festival to say the least!
May ended with two big gigs, the first at Aberdeen Music Hall with Treacherous Orchestra. The gig was part of their Northern Arc Series and we were paired up with Icelandic band Lay Low. It was great to do a bit of collaborating with the guys on the night!
The second was in Perth Concert Hall with Dougie Maclean. This was a brand new commission by Dougie called “Perthshire Cantata” and playing as part of the night was Jenna Reid on fiddle, Sorren Maclean on guitar, Iain Sandilands on percussion and a string ensemble led by Greg Lawson. It was a magic gig which also included Dougie’s “Perthshire Amber Suite” if you’d like to watch the concert you can subscribe to Butterstone TV.
All the best