Well my beloved blog readers, it has certainly been some time indeed, for which I humbly apologise. I have been, as you are no doubt well aware, busy engaging in the touring and promotion of my new album ‘You Can’t Win Every Time‘. It has been an incredibly hectic year, about which I am overwhelmingly thankful after the Covid Droughts, but this time of year does finally offer one the opportunity to pause and reflect.
August, the madness and the chaos of the Edinburgh Festival where I was performing a rigourous schedule of two shows a day, seems so long ago now. Audiences seemed as happy to be back as we were to be performing to them, and the fabulous lunchtime instrumental Songs Without Words show with the wonderfully gifted Paul Tasker was selected as one of the ten musical highlights of the Edinburgh Festival by Edinburgh Live. You can read the full article here – Paul and I were in fine company! And my own solo show was also very well received by audiences and critics alike, receiving an excellent review from the Quinntessential Review which you can read in full here.
This was also the month where another fruitful and inspiring musical collaboration came into being after a chance meeting on Vancovouer Island earlier in the summer, with the multi-talented Canadian folk singer and fiddle player Bronwyn Claire Asha arriving in Auld Reekie. Exhaustive and intensive rehearsals began in earnest to arrange and prepare the new songs for the autumn European Tours, in which we were to present the album as a duo. This was demanding, challenging and time-consuming but ultimately, as our audiences would hopefully testify, worth it – ‘nothing good comes easy‘, if I can be so bold as to paraphrase myself – ;-)!
After three long years in the making, not helped by the rude interruption of lockdown, which forced the whole project to be placed on a reluctant hiatus, I finally released what I believe to be my best album yet (please do let me know if you agree!), ‘You Can’t Win Every Time’ on September the 26th.
I have been so pleased with the reaction, by both audiences and critics alike – an extensive and at times relentless autumn of touring took in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Audiences responded and reacted really well to the new songs, to the new duo format, to Bronwyn and her own enchanting music, and we were both treated everywhere with kindness and generosity in spades. I cannot express enough my gratitude to the many people who helped us, looked after us, and went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure we felt at home on the road – it is always such an unfathomable pleasure to reconnect and renew old friendships, whilst at the same time forging new ones.
Back to ‘You Can’t Win Every Time‘, and I was further delighted to receive such positive reaction from the printed press in Scotland, from both The Scotsman (read here, a four star review, one more than one of my inspirations Simple Minds who I was to meet the very day the review was published!) and the Herald Scotland, which you can read here (published in the printed press on my birthday!). Last week, Scotland’s pro independence newspaper, The National, also published a feature article focussing on the track ‘A Tale Of Two Unions’, which you can read in full here.
I know, I need to update my reviews page….I will, it’s definitely on my neverending list of things to do, fear not! But for now I’m focussing on beginning 2023 in the best way possible and after much delay, finally releasing the album of classical guitar pieces ‘Moonrise Over Mostar’, which those of you close to me will know has been a real labour of love not to mention a collection of compositions I feel impossibly close to, and I hope will define me in the years to come. This may in part, explain the delay!
You can watch the video for ‘Tblisi Nocturne’ here, one of the pieces which will feature on the album – and please subscribe to the channel here if you haven’t already, it would make this Scottish troubadour very happy.
Thanks for all your support this past year, and I’ll be back on social media (and will repost here for those who don’t do social media) with the Top 10 highlights of 2022 now that the touring year is finally at an end.
Thanks in advance, and love and peace to you all.