WELL, well well – it’s been quite a year.
And while I post a daily blog which is essentially personal diary with some rants and comments about everything from technology to the music industry, some of my recipe concoctions and the odd tip for toruign musicians and songwriters I thought I’d post a wee summary of 2017.
Our (Margaret and I, that is) initial plan had been to hit the USA in March/April for SxSW and a run of dates through the southern States before my three year O-1 visa ran out in June. But…we’d also thought about producing a live album
My 2017 live schedule kicked off with a trio of Scottish shows, two of which (Glasgow and Edinburgh) we recorded to see if the idea of a live recording had legs. The tests sounded promising – but the sets at these shows weren’t extensive enough for the planned double album…and good as the recordings were, I felt that with more control of the room, mic set up etc we could make it even better so at just a couple of weeks’ notice we booked our local village hall for Saturday 4 March.
Just two days before the recording I bumped into Paul Savage (The Delgados/Chem19 studios) who’s worked on the last five of my albums. I explained what we were up to and asked if there was any chance of getting into the studio the following week to mix the live recordings. With vinyl turnaround times of around 16 weeks time was gonna be tight if I wanted to get the album out on 1 September…I’d need product to get the press/media thing rolling in July.
There was a lot of prep setting up the hall – see the video below. My pal Lee Patterson opened the show, Urbancroft Films caught the whole show on video and I played a mammoth 36-song set….
Between the live recording and end of June live appearances were minimal – mostly by design – to allow for all the other work around the live album – artwork, photography, PR, video, manufacturing etc.
Of the live shows in that period particular highlights were a headline slot at Bonfest (the Bon Scott-AC/DC festival), Kirriemuir with Hayseed Dixie in April and the Red Rooster Festival near Thetford at the end of June. I was a little nervous about the Bonfest show – after all, I don’t play any AC/DC and I’m basically an acoustic solo artist. I needn’t have worried – the sell-out crowd was behind me from the start and I made a load of new fans from all round the world.
By July, things were gaining momentum on the live front with a couple of great shows at Dundee’s Almost Blue Festival, a nice show for Strummerville (the Joe Strummer/Clash charity foundation) at McChuills with my pal JonZip and his band The Zips and fantastic slot at local boutique festival, Mugstock,
August saw all hands on deck as we prepared for the album release on 1 September – but I managed to find time for a couple of days filming as a supporting artist in the forthcoming Julie Walters movie Country Music. I also played a play a bunch of UK dates and the awesome Old Cars Rocking People Festival in Belgium before the media launch of the new album at the Scottish Music Centre on 24 August.
What an event that was! Our pals at Glengoyne – our local distillery – provided our guests with ‘kiltlifter’ cocktails on arrival and ensured a steady (and seemingly endless!) stream of drams of 15-year-old Glengoyne throughout the event. Glengoyne also bottled a special batch of malt commemorating the release of the album, some of which we gave away as prizes in a draw at the event.
The new album was officially launch to the public at my headline show at the Great British R&B Festival in Colne where I played at the town’s funky Little Theatre.
In September a UK tour promoted the new album with our pal Lucy Zirins coming to Scotland to be my guest at the Glasgow and Edinburgh album release shows. Lucy’s back in February 2018 to play a show with me at Buchan Memorial Hall – the venue where we recorded the live album back in March of this year.
We enjoyed a two-week visit to central France for a bunch of shows organised by our pal Dominique which culminated with a slot at the wonderful Festival B.A.R. (Blues d’Automne en Rabelaisie) in Beaumont-En-Véron.
We were no sooner back from France than we were preparing for a short run of shows in Estonia and my Latvian debut in Riga.
Back on home turf I caught up with our pals Left Lane Cruiser from Fort Wayne, Indiana for a couple of barnstorming shows in Newcastle (The Cluny) and Glasgow (Broadcast). We also organised a self-promo show at the Village Club, Strathblane which was a blast…and Glengoyne supplied welcoming drams to gig-goers and a bottle of cask strength malt for the lucky prize draw winner.
The year’s live schedule finished on a high with a Saturday headline slot at Schottenfest in Vienna at the start of December where Margaret and I had a wonderful three days with friends old and new.
As 2017 draws to close I’m honoured to have been offered an official artist/endorsement deal with Reunion Blues – the US-based instrument case manufacturer whose products are revolutionising the way musicians travel with their instruments. Nice to be part of their family – as well as, of course, National ResoPhonic Guitars, G7th Capos and Newtone Strings with whom I also have artist deals/endorsements.
The final activity of the year will be a 1/2-hour festive Facebook livestream on Saturday 23 December at 7.30pm (UK time) – watch it live at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic
Looks like 2018’s gonna be a good year too…things kick off on Saturday 20 January when I play the Out To Lunch Festival at Black Box, Belfast. There’s a show at our local village hall on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond with special guest Lucy Zirins on Saturday 10 February follwoed by Glasgow and Edinburgh shows at the start of March. Full details on the tour dates section of my website..or sign up for my monthly eNewsletter for latest gigs and news direct to your inbox.
Hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year…and thank you for making 2017 a spectacular year 🙂