Sunday 27 August 2017

Headlining the acoustic stage at the Great British R&B Festival in Colne.

BREAKFAST at the B&B is 8.30am..the latest they do! Not the best place for musicians playing a festival.

The proprietors are a lovely old couple but jeez, the breakfast is shit.

First up, the plate for fruit/cereal is manky, So bad that I pass on fruit or cereal. I ask for sausage and hash browns..the lady says she’s cooked bacon so I agree to some of that too. Then it comes. One sausage, one rasher of bacon and one hash brown. The bacon and hash brown is OK, but the sausage – which I’ve split and put between a couple of bits of toast is so bad it makes me gag. Never tasted anything like it. The remainder is wrapped in a  napkin to be disposed of later. They’re such a nice old couple I don’t want to cause any fuss.

Onward to Colne in Lancashire for the Great British R&B Festival –  a two-and-a-half/three-hour drive via a McDonalds for a replacement breakfast!

We roll up at our pals Rodge and Jan’s about 2pm, drop our bags and then we all head to the Little Theatre where I headline the festival’s acoustic stage at 5pm.

The place is busy and we catch up with loads of folks and chat over a few beers until it’s time to set up my gear and hit the stage. The Little Theatre is a fantastic venue and the sound is great too. The place is jammed and folks are craning their necks round the doors to catch some of my show.

As soon as I’m done I join Margaret at the merch table outside and chat with loads of folks and sign their CDs and vinyl.

We take everything back to Rodge and Jan’s then get a taxi back into town where we spend the rest of the evening doting form venue to venue watching lots of music and perhaps having a bit too much to drink too. Grand day out:-)

Some the youngest music fans at my show πŸ™‚

Tuesday 20 June 2017

A nice wee dram helps my video editing go smoothly πŸ˜‰

MARGARET drops me, my guitar and all the video gear at Glengoyne distillery at 8am.

We shooting a quick d-i-y video of Whisky in my Blood for World Music Day. It’s a fun and productive morning, then I’m given a lift home in the Glengoyne landrover.

There’s some work to get out the way before lunch then I edit the video footage. Unfortunately the footage from the second camera isn;t really useable – really over-exposed. The camera switched itself off just before we started filming and although I got someone to switch it back on, the exposure lock was off. Ahh well…the other suff’s OK and it’s really just a wee thong for social media, not a video masterpiece.

While the rough edits are sending back to Glengoyne via wetransfer I go out for a walk and catch up on some podcasts.

I’m not long back when Betty drops in and we enjoy a drink in the garden in the last of the evening sun.

After a quick Thai-inspired stir-fry it’s back into the studio to finish the video edit ready for tomorrow, a few things in the office and, finally, a few minutes to relax in front of the telly before bed.


Thursday 30 March 2017

HERE’S someone travelling from south of the border to try out the Lowden guitar I have for sale.

They reckon they’ll be here around midday so meantime I get some work done, them make a bacon weave for the pork loin I’m gonna smoke for our dinner guests tomorrow night. The bacon weave is always a bit of a fuddle, but I get a rub on the pork and get the bacon wrapped round ready for the smoker tomorrow.

Big news of the day is that, at midday, we can announce that I’m playing the Red Rooster Festival in Suffolk at the start of June. The festival is announcing the lineup at the same time and has created graphics and content for me to use on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc…I’m impressed.

The guy coming to see the  guitar – who’s making a 450-mile trip – arrives and checks out the guitar. he plays it, puts it down, asks questions, plays it again for the next hour. He’s not quite sure, hums and haws, plays it again then offers me Β£100 less than the asking price, saying that’s all the cash he has. 

Now the guy had asked the method of payment the night before and was in doubt of the asking price and that there would be ‘no deals of exchanges’. 

I explain I need the full price, in cash. He clearly has no intention of paying the asking price and must think my head zips up the back. I manage to remain polite, despite him wasting an hour of my time, and show him the door. You’d have thought he’d either’ve paid the price if he wanted the guitar – or not if he didn’t – especially when making a 450-mile round trip.

Once he’s gone I make some lunch and message some of the other folks interested via Gumtree and Facebook. A Gumtree guy calls and arranges to come tomorrow morning then, just as I;m about to nip out for a walk, someone on Facebook who I’ve been chatting with asks if he can come early evening. Of course!

I go my walk, stop in to help Joe with some stuff then get home in time for the potential buyer arriving.

He’s come from Lanarkshire and brought his girlfriend. We know lots of folks in common,  all hit it off immediately and end up hanging together until after 11pm. Oh, and he buys the guitar. Cash. No problem. We’ve made some new friends into the bargain πŸ™‚

Saturday 26 November 2016

Unplugged at Bank Street Gallery

Unplugged at Bank Street Gallery

AFTER the usual morning routine tasks I get the remaining pieces of the web project I’m working on into place and email the client.

Then it’s time to restring guitars while Margaret gets the merch ready and we pack the car ready to hit the road to Kirriemuir.

There’s a few bits and bobs to get out the way before we leave then we close up the house, office and studio and get on our way.

We roll up at Bank Street Gallery around 5.30pm and Susie opens up to let us get the gear in. We set up and have a chat before doors open at 7pm.

By showtime – 7.30pm sharp – the room is full and I kick off my first set…a bunch of covers of songs by folks who’ve inspired my music in some way (Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White and more). After a short break, the second set is all my own stuff.

We have a wonderful night with lots of friends old and new some of whom hang out for a drink after the show.

Once we’ve cleared up Susie makes supper – prawn skewers, fish and roast veg, biscuits and cheese…and plenty of beer and wine. We sit and chat ’til nearly 3am then crash…a magical night πŸ™‚

Haven't seen Tony and his wide Linda for about 18 years! And thanks for the silver dollar Tony :-)

Haven’t seen Tony and his wife Linda for about 18 years! And thanks for the silver dollar Tony πŸ™‚

Some pals hung our for a drink after the show

Some pals hung our for a drink after the show

Thursday 3 November 2016

Great to catch our pal Ted and Scissormen in Providence...

Great to catch our pal Ted and Scissormen in Providence…

A DAY off today…and we’re in the same hotel, so no mad rush to get stuff done before check out!

After breakfast I restring my guitars ready for the final three shows of the tour then we do a quick Facebook Livestream.

An email from my cousin in New York alerts us to Sunday’s New York Marathon which will close lots of streets in Manhattan so we need to plan ahead for getting back into New York, unloading gear and getting the rental car back to Hackensack, New Jersey. Hmmm…

A tweet alerts me that I’ve been nominated in the European Blues Awards ‘best solo/acoustic’ category – voting is open – if you feel that way inclined you can show me some love here!

Our pal Ted form Nashville is playing tonight in Providence with his band Scissormen…and his wife Laurie will be in town too. We head our for some grub then wander to the venue. Great to catch up with Ted and Laurie and catch an awesome show πŸ™‚

...and catch up with everyone. Couldn't be a better way to spend a night off...perfect timing Ted :-)

…and catch up with everyone. Couldn’t be a better way to spend a night off…perfect timing Ted πŸ™‚




Wednesday 29 June 2016

I take some pix of my Lowden F32 to prepare it for sale :-(

I take some pix of my Lowden F32 to prepare it for sale πŸ™

FIRST job is finalise some Facebook advertising. It’s a crazy mix between a fine art and ‘suck it and see’ experimentation. My view is that it’s worth spending at least what I would on postage etc sending out traditional ‘physical’ news releases and media packs.

I’m reluctantly gonna have to sell my Lowden F32 guitar. It’s been hanging on the studio wall, largely unplayed, for the last five or six years. We’re skint and it hurts, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Trying not to drag my heels on it ‘cos I know that if I’m not going to lose money I need to get it sold before things are desperate and there’s no way I’m going to let it go at a lower than value price just because I’m backed into a corner. I dig out the case and ownership documents and take the lot over to the studio for some photos. There’s a bit of thought and work to do before I decide the best way to advertise the thing for sale.

I still have to get the news releases out for the Reading show on 15 July. It’s been a while since I’ve played there so, like the York stuff yesterday, I call round the local/regional press Β in my database…just as well as most have moved, closed down or changed email addresses. I have a couple of good chats with some of the journos, though, which hint that I might get some decent preview coverage for the show.

There’s a lull in the rain and a slight breeze keeping the midges at bay so I take advantage Β and go for a walk up the loch side. Haven’t had a walk for a good few days and starting to feel a bit sluggish.

The fresh air helps.

The day has long gone when IΒ shut up the office and head back to the house. Into the kitchen to knock up some chicken enchilladas. A bit of a faff…but it’s my ‘therapy’ and I’ll make enough so we have some for tomorrow night too.

The enchiladas are good and get a big thumbs up from Margaret.