Dear my beloved readers,
A Happy New Year to you all, from wherever you read this, we can only hope that 2021 is indeed a better year, even if it did start with the loss of our beloved and valued European Union Membership. This is especially hard for myself, but as someone who identifies as Scottish and European, and most certainly NOT as British, I can only hope the near future holds the promise of an independent Scotland being a proud member of the European Union.
Looking back to 2019 I performed across four continents in what was undoubtedly the highlight and pinnacle of my life as a musician thus far. As we all know, 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, but the consequences for those of who work in the music industry have been devastating. Notwithstanding this, ever the optimist, I have tried to select some highlights from the year, which still saw me circumnavigate unprecedented obstacles to safely travel to the following countries – , so without further ado:
1 – My only full-length European tour this year in February, taking in a first visit to and concert in the city of Luxembourg and much of Germany (picture here).
2 – A fantastic mini-tour of England in late February with three diverse but phenomenal shows in Swineshead, and Ireleth (two new venues for me), rounded off with a return to the charming and unique atmosphere of the Doncaster Brewery (picture here).
3 – The renaissance of The Fireplace Sessions and the wonderful reactions from you all to them – here’s two for you to rewatch when you have a moment, though why not watch them all – ‘Moonrise over Mostar‘ and ‘The Resolution Torn Asunder (with spoken word by Josep Llobera Capllonch)‘
4 – Recording a video with the talented filmmaker Martin Forry for the single ‘Hand On My Heart’ on a freezing Glasgow summer night which can be watched here (now please don’t forget to subscribe here if you haven’t already)
6 – One beautiful afternoon in August where I recorded 13 songs which would form my new album for 2020 which you can of course, purchase from my website here.
7 – Awaking early on my birthday to enjoy my last taste of European citizenship – a morning run from the Bavarian border town of Burghausen into Austria culminated in me rewarding myself with two large chocolate croissants and an extra large cappuccino, gazing back to the the world’s longest castle in Germany (see the photo below for my vantage point). Later that day I launched my new album to the world, before driving to meet my wonderful friends the Pinis for a birthday drink or three in perfect musical company – .
8 – Managing to squeeze one more show in before lockdown struck and the only ‘real’ concert to date since I launched the album in a favourite venue of mine, the Kulturcafe M in Dohna. Playing a selection of the new songs to a live audience for the first time ever was thrilling, and I’m truly excited about the prospect of future live concerts where I can properly tour this album. I remain very grateful to those who gave me the opportunity to do so and the full story may well appear on my website blog in the future.
9 – Receiving a lovely review for the album in the world’s oldest national newspaper The Herald Scotland, which you can peruse here at your leisure.
10 – My online album launch over on Facebook for ‘Hand On My Heart’ – fraught with technical issues in the days beforehand and attacked by some loathsome spanners just as I was starting the show, I needn’t have worried, from my humble perspective, it was a resounding and unequivocal success and I shall certainly look to perform another live stream in the future before touring can safely resume.
And lastly, and perhaps most pertinently at all, it is you, my wonderful friends and followers who were the greatest highlight for me in 2020, in a year which has been an incredibly challenging one, to say the least. Whether you’ve bought the new album, donated to the online album launch, subscribed to my YouTube Channel or Instagram Page, read my posts and my website blogs, written kind and lovely comments and messages, the support has been amazing and overwhelming and it shows there is a place for the music made by this humble Scottish troubadour in the world, despite the combined forces of Spotify, Brexit and Covid working against it.
I could not do this without you, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
Here’s hoping 2021 shall be a more successful and prosperous year for us all – may you be healthy, wealthy and wise in the year to come.