Thursday 22 November 2018

Splendid night at King Tuts 🙂

WITH the car loaded with gear for tonight’s show at King Tuts we make our way into Glasgow early.

I drop Margaret off then go and set up camp in McDonalds for coffee and wifi to get some work done and last minute online promo etc for tonight’s gig.

There’s some merch to take to the post office then I park up in the city centre, go to the bank then hit Ramen Dayo! on Queen Street for lunch. I’ve missed this place – and the ramen is not only streets ahead of Wagamama or any other UK ramen place, but also great value. Tonkatsu miso black garlic ramen….jeez…it’s wonderful.

There’s a few other things I need to get done then I go and pick up Margaret  and we fight the traffic jams on our way to King Tuts. Gig rep Nick and engineer Chris – who’s done my sound a few times before – are ready and waiting as is my pal Andrew who’s opening up the show.

After soundcheck we have some dinner then relax in dressing room until doors open at 8.30pm and Andrew kicks things off at 9pm.

I’d been worried about the number of folks who’d said they were coming and messaged me earlier to say they couldn’t make it…I needn’t have worried. There’s a good crowd in when Andrew plays an extremely good half-hour opening set.

Folks have been arriving steadily and there’s more than a hint of enthusiasm in the air when I hit the stage for the next hour or so. A  bust string a couple of songs in doesn’t cause any problems and, if anything, brings the crowd even closer….and a steady stream of whisky fuels my performance nicely,

It’s a great night all round and after catching up with folks round the merch table we load out and  roll up back home just before 1am….

Absolutely fantastic opening set from Andrew Robert Eustace

 

Wednesday 4 April 2018


An impromptu song at last year’s Red Rooster Festival caught by Bopflix Films’ Chris Magee. Click to watch!

MORE things than usual to be dealt with before breakfast…lots of emails and some stuff for the local community trust.

After my porridge I allow myself a bit of the cornbread I made yesterday…my first attempt and we’re amazed at (a) how well it worked and (b) how good it tastes! It’s on the menu as a compulsory side for all future BBQ.

I accompany Margaret on the second session of her new fitness regime – I;m impressed at her enthusiasm and determination despite the rain.

In the studio I do a Facebook livestream as part of today’s songwriting studio session. Keen to give folks an insight into my songwriting process/progress and get some feedback as the new song develops. It works well and there’s lots of interaction and enthusiasm. People seem to like it 🙂

After lunch I get busy with some stuff in the office, taking a break when Betty and Joe drop by for a coffee. Then it’s back into the studio for some more guitar noodling…and some banjo.

The rain’s off, so time for a wee walk. Been having problems with podcasts stopping and restarting at the beginning and thought it was because of the lack of signal, but the podcasts are downloaded to my iPhone. Research suggests it could be a short in the earbuds’ cable making the phone think the earbuds were being unplugged and therefore stopping the podcast…just to start again when it thinks they’re re-connected.

That figures, as the problem is always when I put the phone in my pocket. I wiggle the cable/connector and sure enough, the podcast starts, stops, resets…time for some bluetooth earbuds methinks.

Back home I see Bopflix Films has released a video they made of me playing an impromptu unplugged song at last years’ Red Rooster Festival. Bopflix‘s Chris Magee filmed my Blues Kitchen Sessions in London a few years ago and is a master of the ‘single shot’ video shoot and he’s done it again with this wee video. I really like his style. See it at the top of the blog or click here.

Thursday 29 March 2018


Click above to watch the video for Glasgow Blues Players…visit the website here.

I MANAGE to get a few things done before breakfast so that after my fruit, yogurt and porridge I can go straight across to the studio.

The guitar part of a new song idea I’ve been working on is coming together and almost ready for some melody/lyric stuff, but I need to work out a format/structure.

Once I’ve settled on the riffs, I record them in ProTools thinking that I could cut the guitar part up into samples and the it into Ableton Live (my trial version). That’d kill two birds with one stone – let me mess around with structure/arrangement ideas and help me get my head round Ableton Live with a proper project.

The Mac in the studio is too old to run Ableton, so it’s running on the laptop in the office. I swap locations and mess about for a while, but I don;t really know what I’m doing. This is going to be harder than I expected. No surprise there.

After lunch  I embark on the first lot of paperwork from the lawyers in the USA for my O-1 visa application. The sooner I get this all underway the better.

There’s a couple of PRS for Music members’ fund visits to set up for next month, so I get that struck off the to-do list too.

The sun’s still shining late afternoon so I go for a walk up the lochside and livestream to my Facebook page and profile. Kirk from the Glasgow Blues Players website has uploaded the video he made when he visited at the weekend, so I share that about a bit.

I stop in at Betty and Joe’s on the way back then get on with some mailing list stuff for the local community trust. 

It’s late when I start cooking dinner..and it turns out disaster! One of the worst meals I’ve made. Rather than sticking to the tried and tested airfryer tofu we’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks I decide to try my own method. It didn’t work.

Ah well, it’s still edible…just not enjoyable. A beer helps.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Krik and I hit the lochside for some chat, pix and filming. Photo: Kirk Lothian/Glasgow Blues Players

LOOKS like a nice day.

After breakfast I tidy the studio and try and set things up to be conducive to my intended routine of spending an hour every morning – right after breakfast – to play guitar and work on new ideas.

For too long songwriting and playing have been in the lower reaches of my priority list and only reached later in the day or evening when I’m usually burnt out,

Kirk – who runs the excellent Glasgow Blues Players website – is coming to visit and rolls up early afternoon. We talk music, photography, video, social media and all sorts over coffee then he spends some time shooting some interview footage and taking some pix.

The afternoon flies past and soon it’s time for a final coffee before he hits the road.

I spend some time messing with beats in Ableton Live then go back tot he house for dinner.

I’m aware that, as na artist, I’ve never really got behind Spotify – and the other streaming services – so resolve to fix that and spend some time researching ‘best practice’. I really need to focus on building my Spotify followers and making better use of the platform…I begin by spreading this link.

 

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Nice to catch up with Maggie and Niall at the Blues Kitchen 🙂

AN EARLY start….up at 5am and on the road by 6am!

We stop at Carlisle for breakfast and pick up some sandwiches for lunch on the hoof later on. Swapping driving duties along the way, we head down the A1 and  make good time, hitting the Ramada at South Mimms just after 2am. Time to catch up on some work and have a rest then just a 15-mile drive to Camden. 

Of course, London traffic means that’s a good 90 minutes’ drive and we roll up at the Blues Kitchen just after 6pm.

After loading in we’re taken to our table for dinner – the usual great food. Cheeseburger for Margaret and a ‘two meats’ BBQ plate – brisket and ribs – for me…sweet potato fries and a much-need pint for each of us.

We hang out with the opening band for a while and then the bass player in my old London band arrives…been nearly 30 years! Great to catch up.

There’s a few folks we know in for the show. The opening act, Marchant, kick off just before 10pm and while really accomplished, are actually a covers band. They play a good selection of stuff but its not really the best match for the venue or myself.

It’s just after 11pm when I hit the stage. A crazy, sweaty hour later I’m done and get time for a chat with folks at the mercy table and say cheerio to some of the folks we know that have come in for the show.

We’re back at the hotel just after 1am and then realise we don’t have a corkscrew for the much-awaited bottle of red. I take the bottle downstairs to the bar where Agnes does the needful and soon we’re having  snack and a glass (or two) of red before bed.

A hot, sweaty stage at the Blues Kitchen, Camden

Thursday 5 October 2017

Lunch with the festival team

THE morning’s spent at the old mill catching up with some work then we drive to the festival site for lunch with the FestivalBAR team and folks building the ‘festival village’.

After a nice two-hour lunch we tale a trip to Chinon to pick up some stuff…we want to get a gift for Françoise – Dominique’s mum – who’s been our hostess at the old mill.

Back at the mill, we get some more work done then make our way to a venue across the road for the festival site for tonight’s gig – a private show for the festival team, volunteers, sponsors, industry folks and other esteemed guests. The PA is set up when we get there and load in and sound checks go smoothly.

There’s canapes and bubbly, then festival association president Christian and ‘boss’ Eric say a few words before I play a couple of 45-minute sets. We have a blast 🙂

Once done, we head backstage at the festival site for a late dinner, then back to the old mill….

A selfie in Chinon…

..and on stage for the festival kick off party 🙂

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 🙂

Saturday 26 August 2017

Great to see Trev and Emma at Hardtail Blues Festival 🙂

THERE’S a few things to get done in the office then we pack the gear and merch and hit the road.

We’ve a 300-odd mile drive to heather in Leicestershire where I’m playing at the Hardtail Blues Festival. 

Margaret’s not feeling great so, unusually, I do most of the driving. We get to the festival site by around 4pm and load in.

It’s a small festival, but good facilities and everyone’s friendly. Our pal Trev is playing here tomorrow, but we’re delighted to find that he and his partner Emma have come a day early. Great to catch up 🙂

My 75-minute set seems to go by in a  flash and at the mercy table I’m pleasantly surprised by the interest in the new vinyl.

After I’ve tidied up my gear we have something to eat and a few drinks while watching Dr Feelgood. The organiser has booked us a B&B two or three miles away…a kinda weird place, but I’m full of beer and don’t pay much attention….zzzzzzzzzz.

Great time at Hardtail Blues Festival 🙂

Dr Feelgood…not quite the same without Wilko and Lee Brilleaux,but good band nonetheless…

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Great to see Margaret’s cousin Steven and his pal John-Jo 🙂

WE’VE a late checkout from the hotel in Birmingham – so plenty of time to get some last minute promo done for tonight’s (Tuesday) show in London.

Before we leave the city, though, Margaret insists we hit the Levi’s shop to try and get a new pair of jeans. My ‘current pair’ are a bit washed out but, worse, keep falling down…must be the stone or so I’ve lost by going low sugar/carb for the last few months.

We manage to get a pair of nice new black 511s – a new ‘skinnier’ style for me! 

Onwards to London and we get to our hotel in Hounslow – near Heathrow airport – just after 4pm, so there’s time to freshen up before making our way into Camden.

We load in at the Blues Kitchen and have a beer before being shown to our table which has been reserved for us by the show booker for 7.30pm. The hospitaility at this venue is always first class, as is the food – my ribs and burnt ends are spectacular and Margaret enjoys her cheeseburger.

Camden rocks!

After we’ve eaten, soundman Kostas arrives and we get set up ready for a 9.45pm start. Meantime, Margaret’s cousin Steven arrives with his pal John-Jo..Great to see them.

There’s a good crowd in and numerous folks come to say hello before I kick off. The stage is quite dimly lit as Kostas hasn’t quite got his head round the newly installed lights, but he does his usual great job with the sound. It’s also really warm!

The audience is fantastic and I have a blast then clear the stage for the late shift act  the Chris Corcoran trio.

We sell some merch and chat before Chris starts and catch up with folks from my last Nottingham show and others who we haven’t seen since I last played in Kettering years ago. Great to see everyone 🙂

It’s after 1am when we get back to the hotel and we’re pretty puggled. Grand night.

Chris Corcoran trio plays the late shift at the Blues Kitchen

Friday 14 July 2017

Givers & Takers hits the iTunes blues chart at number six. Click the image to check it out 🙂

SINGLE release day! Givers & Takers is now available. Get it here.

I’m up at a decent time to add a landing page to the website, post Facebook profile and page banners and a bunch of other social media stuff to spread the word…and, of course, an iTunes link.

Once that’s all done I set up for a Facebook livestrream and although the broadband connection is slow, at least it doesn’t completely drop off meaning the livestream goes relatively smoothly..although as you’ll see from the ‘play again’ video below, there’s still a few glitches…

There’s poster art and tickets to be sorted for a newly booked Aberdeen show at the Blue Lamp on Friday 15 September – tickets available here.

A big box of old photos I pulled down from the loft has been hanging about the office for a while and for some reason I decide to tackle the job of scanning them….a few hours later…

A quick look at Apple Music shows that Givers & Takers has gone into the Apple Music/iTunes blues charts at number six! This morning’s work has paid off 🙂

That’s one position higher than last year’s Hellbound Train EP which debuted at number seven and had the benefit of a load of PR, promo and a month’s worth of pre-orders…

 

Wednesday 21 June 2017


Click above to watch Whisky in my Blood at Glengoyne distillery 🙂

THERE’S a few wee things to edit on the Whisky in my Blood video I shot at Glengoyne distillery yesterday, so it’s straight into the studio to get the final version done and rendering.

I have some photos to sort out too and then a load of emails to deal with. The to-do list is bursting!

Once the video’s finished rendering (…or ‘processing’ or whatever the hell it does that takes so long!)  I start it uploading to Facebook via Margaret’s laptop in the house.

I go to the office and do some work on next month’s single release…Givers & Takers will be the single from the forthcoming Live at Memorial Hall album. The album is out on 1 September…and the single more imminently on Friday 14 July. I don’t want to do too much on it until the iTunes pre-order is live, but need to have everything ready to send out as soon as it does – news releases, radio/promo, website landing page etc etc.

Back in the house I see the video has uploaded to Facebook, but there seems to be some kind of technical hitch. I’d hoped it would be on my page at midday, but that;s not happening now. Plan B – I start uploading it to my YouTube channel.

I have a live phoner interview with fm1fm radio and have a nice on-air chat for half an hour talking about my music, forthcoming gigs and releases then it;s lunchtime.

Back at Margaret’s laptop, the video has uploaded OK to YouTube, so I give Facebook another bash and leave it churning away.

In the office I do some work on a website I’m developing for the local hall – the place we recorded the live album. A venture into the house for a coffee and I see the video has, at last, uploaded to Facebook – I do a bit of sharing round social media and stuff then decide I should make a short edit and trailer for Instagram.

Plans for a wee walk and some fresh air are scuppered by monsoon-like rain accompanied by thunder and lightning, so I stay put int he office and work on the hall website ’til dinner’s ready sometime about 9pm.

There’s a few things to prepare for tomorrow – I’m dropping into a school in Milton to play a few songs for the kids and need to gather some gear together. the rain’s stopped when I go across to the studio, but the midges are out in force!

Tuesday 20 June 2017

A nice wee dram helps my video editing go smoothly 😉

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.

SaveSave

Tuesday 28 February 2017

The sunshine prompts an impromptu Facebook Livestream form the lochside. Click the pic to watch

THERE’S a few reminders pop up in the diary.

First, book a haircut for tomorrow (Wednesday) while I’m in Glasgow. Actually, that was in the diary yesterday, but the Soul Barber Room’s closed on a Monday. I make an appointment for early afternoon, by which time, I hope, the car will have been fixed.

The second is to chase Three. We both really need to upgrade our phones but can’t afford it. I chatted with Three’s business folks on Friday and submitted all the documentation to apply for a business account. The guy I deal with is on holiday today but the guy I spoke to confirmed safe receipt of the stuff, so fingers crossed…

Once they’re done I do  quick social media post showing off the Glengoyne whisky flask-cum-belt buckle I picked up recently.

Tomorrow’s the first of the month. eNewsletter day. And also the deadline for April gig dates for a load of national magazines, so I send the m off then write/prepare my March eNewsletter and, using Mailchimp, schedule it to out to all my lists at various times tomorrow morning.

If you’re curious, you can get a heads up and read it here.

The sun’s out as I prepare the smoker for the bacon lattice-wrapped pork loin I’ve prepared….all ready to go early/mid-afternoon. The pork loin is short (three or four hour) smoke then, once it’s done, I usually let it rest in a faux cambro for an hour or two.

The sun also prompts a decision to stage a last-minute Facebook Livestream from up the lochside (the only place I can get fast enough connection – mobile or otherwise!). I put a status update on Facebook and run a few tweets to say I’ll be ‘going live’ in an hour at 3.15pm…it’ll take me a good 25-minutes to walk up there. 

I underestimate the time to get the charcoal lit and the meat on the smoker…and also the time to gather what I need. Plus, the wee travel resonator guitar I’m taking doesn’t have a strap, so I need to improvise something.

I’m tight for time leaving and I leg it up the pass. Just as I’m about to take a shortcut through the forest Arthur stops and offers me a lift. I get there with a good five minutes to spare to set things up for the Livestream and go live at 3.15pm precisely. It’s a bit of a fuddle trying to do it all myself but it all goes to plan. Much easier when Margret’s there to help with the camera (ie: phone!) and to relay messages, comments and questions tho. You can watch it on replay here.

Back home, the smoker’s all going good. i add some more applewood chips then get on with retitling the Livestream video and sharing it about a bit to try and get some more traction.

Margaret arrives back just as the pork loin in the smoker reaches temperature. We won;t eat for another couple of hours so we wrap it in a double layer of foil, then a towel and put it in a cool box…there – a ‘faux cambo’ 🙂

We get some more work done then eat, The pork’s amazing.

Both puggled, we chill for a while then have an early night.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

A wee smacker for Valentine’s Day on our walk up the lochside….

IT’S VALENTINE’S Day – we swap cards but, as agreed, no presents. In saying that, after givin spiralising a whirl with the wee manual gadget I bought last week Margaret did buy an electric spiraliser as a mutual gift. A half-price bargain on Amazon.

A spiraliser, for those who haven’t caught on yet, is a gadget that turns veg into spaghetti-like strings for salads, stir-frys or carb-free ‘zoodles’ – spiralised courgette (zuchinni) that is a remarkably good substitute for pasta!

In the studio I do (very) rough mixes of a couple of tracks recorded at Friday night’s show then take them to the house to check out. There’s definitely potential, so we discuss ideas, logistics and possibilities…as well as, of course, the economics of putting on an special show to be recorded for a live album.

At lunchtime we test the new spiraliser on some mooli (daikon radish) and carrot which I warm in a  spicy peanut sauce. I tried it last week and despite the sauce being a bit wet (or ‘runny) it was good. Today’s sauce is thicker and has more chilli and…Margaret likes it!

We get some more work done then go for a walk, stopping in at Betty and Joe’s to help get their Skybox and Firestick working on the new wifi network. Once done we carry on our walk then stop back in for a coffee on our way back.

Thanks to Betty’s help and enthusiasm, we decide to set up a live recording show at Buchanan Memorial Hall…we need to move fast as time isn’t on our side and when we get home Margaret checks availability and books for Saturday 4 November. It will be a special gig! And I’m especially happy that, as well as helping out on a technical (audio/video) basis, my pal Lee is gonna come and do a short warm-up set.

Tickets will be extremely limited and are available here.

Continuing our low-carb efforts, I make basil, lemongrass and lime tofu with cauliflower rice. My carb intake today has been one slice of wholemeal toast and a can of lager. While I could cut them out, I’m not sure that it’s necessary to be ‘carb-free’…my aim is simply to cut down on sugar and carbs and see if there’s any difference.

Click above for info/tickets for the upcoming ‘live album’ show!

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Monday 13 February 2017

Leaving the lights of London behind as we fly back to Glasgow…

OFF TO London…but not so early as to have to catch the red eye.

My meeting’s not ’til 2.30pm, but my flight from Glasgow to London City leaves 1/2-hour late which means I have to rush across London to get to Musicians’ Union (MU) HQ so’s not to be late. I get there bang on time.

The baldy wee fud next to me on the plane ignores the announcement to stow away laptops and table as we prepare to land…then he ignores the stewardess’s polite request to put it away. I’m torn between telling him myself and saying nothing to see how long it’ll take him to put the computer away. He doesn’t. And of course by the time we’re on the ground it’s pointless saying anything anyway.

I can’t help wondering how someone can have the arrogance to behave like that. Is he stupid? Was he hoping to start a fight? Ass-hole. I resist the temptation to smack him in the pus for being such an arrogant wee shite once we’re off the plane! Anyway…

The meeting was called at late notice to deal with some urgent business. It’s dealt with quickly and we also manage to get through a few more important issues – we’re done just after 5.30pm and it’s been a very positive and productive afternoon.

I don’t have to rush quite so much on the return trip and have time to stop off en route to pick up a  sashimi salad to eat at the airport. For all it’s convenience, London City airport has a crap selection of food available…and what there is, is incredibly over-priced. 

I panic as my bag’s pulled aside at security. Maybe they’re gonna confiscate my sashimi…there’s likely a wee bottle of soy sauce in there. The security guy says “you have liquids!’…I look back quizzically and pull out the sashimi salad box. Nope. I rummage about again. Turns out there’s a wee bottle of hand wash in the bottom of the bag. It’s been in there for years and goodness knows how many airport security checks it’s gone through unnoticed!

I apologise as he runs a check on the wee bottle, bags it up and gives me it back with a smile.

The flight back to Glasgow is quiet and I sleep most of the way. I tighten the cap on the miniature of malt and slip it my pocket to enjoy later…better not drink it on the plane ‘cos I’ve to drive home.

It’s nearly 11pm when I get home and share a bottle of red with Margaret then head to bed.

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Friday 10 February 2017

Awesome night at the Hug & Pint thanks to Jamie (Little Fire), left, and soundman Doug 🙂

GIG day today – so first task is printing out set lists and getting some last-miniute online and social media promo out.

We’re also gonna try recording tonight’s show and I spend a while gathering an assortment of mics, cables, splitter boxes and other stuff along with the eight-track recorder.

I’m just about to pack the car when Joe shows up to measure our front door to see if their old canopy could be put to good use. I finish packing then there’s time for a coffee and a blether. Joe heads back along the road and we head for Glasgow.

The Hug & Pint is – along with Broadcast, King Tut;s and the Glad Cafe – one of our favourite Glasgow venues and I;m really looking forward to tonight’s gig.

Soundman Doug is ready and waiting when we load in – he’s done my sound a few times in the past and always been great. We’re set up in no time and Doug goes way beyond the call of duty in helping us set up to record the show with minimum fuss…he plugs in his laptop, has loads of good ideas and soon we;re soundchecked and back upstairs enjoying some amazing grub. The food at the Hug & Pint is amazing too!

My pal Jamie – aka Little Fire – who’s opening the show arrives just as we finish eating and is all set up and soundchecked by the time doors open at 8pm. 

There’s a good crowd in for Jamie kicking things off and he plays a wonderful set. So glad we managed to sort a show together after years of talking about it!

I do a quick Facebook Live from backstage and sink a wee dram before I start my set. The place is pretty packed – a nice mixture of old and new faces 🙂

After load out there’s time for a drink then we make for home, stopping off for a haggis supper en route. That’s fucked the low carb efforts of the last few days!

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2017

At The Green Room, Perth

THE merch that had gone missing en route to the USA has turned up! Phew!

But there’s some orders come in thatI need to get packed up and away before the last post pickup at midday.

Also realised I hadn’t made up set lists for tonight’s show.

There’s lots to get done before I can get into the studio – we’ve got folks coming for dinner tomorrow and I’m planning to smoke a pork loin. I get a big dod of pork loin, trim off as much of the excess fat then make a bacon lattice, add some ‘Memphis dust’ rub and wrap the pork in the bacon. Ready for the smoker tomorrow 🙂

In the studio I pull in all the audio files from Thursday’s show into ProTools. All’s good except that the sample rate of the stuff direct from the mixing desk is different to what we recorded with the stereo pair of mics out front…so after a few minutes the tracks are out of sync 🙁

No time to work it all out now, so we sort some of the gear for the gig and had to Perth. We need to get there before 5pm so I can pick up any sales cash from the record store.

Next stop, the venue. We load in and Ewan soundchecks things…there’s a few setbacks (only one of the venue;s six DI boxes works!) and the stage is a bit rickety to say the least, but he’s on the case and does a grand job.

Lee arrives and soundchecks, we grab some pizza then doors open at 8pm..there’s a good wee crowd in when Lee kicks things off and by the time I’m onstage things have hotted up a bit. A steady stream of drams from Will, Catriona, Greig and Les keep me fuelled through out my set and there’s time, for a blether and a few drinks afterwards.

We drop Catriona and Will off on the way home, and roll up home sometime around 2am. Bed.

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Lee opens the Perth show

Thursday 2 February 2017

My pal Lee opens the Edinburgh show….

ANOTHER early start into Glasgow…glad I packed the gear for tonight’s show yesterday!

There’s quite a lot to get done in town before we head for Edinburgh, including a bunch of last minute online promo for the gig at the Voodoo Rooms. First stop when we get there is Lesley’s flat where we drop off some stuff and she comes with us to the venue.

There’s a fair bit of setting up to do. As well as the usual soundchecks and stuff, we’re recording the show to try and assess if it’s feasible tor us to make a release-quality live recording. We’re also videoing the show for good measure.

Sandy from Edinburgh’s Channel7A is waiting for us – they want to stream a special piece live from my soundcheck and, I think, planning on reviewing the show.

Once we’re done, Lee soundchecks and everything;s ready in time for doors opening at 8pm. Phew!

There’s a great crowd in – lots of pals and familiar faces from past gigs…and lots of new faces too.

Both Lee and I have a show…I’m pretty knackered after my 90-minute set tho’ – my last gig was mid-December in Dundee and I struggle a wee bit physically even if, I hope, the audience is unaware. Must get match fit!

There’s lots of drinking and chatting after the show and it;s well after midnight when we load out and head back to Lesley’s where we drink wine and whisky, eat pizza and all sorts of stuff and chat ’til after 3am.

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

I’m pretty knackered after my 90-minute set!

Wednesday 1 February 2017

The Live at Five team at STV….

NOT too an early a start…but we still need to get to STV’s studios in Glasgow soon after 11am.

STV is starting to feel a little like a home-from-home. Innes comes to meet us in reception and Murray and Dot are on the studio floor getting everything ready to pre-record my two songs for tonight’s Live at Five.

Given the name of the show, it does seem a little weird that the music isn’t live – but it’s only recently it’s been  pre-recorded…the first couple of times I was on it really was live. No problem for me, but a little nerve-wracking that a broken string or some other technical mishap could really fuck things up.

My two new songs – Givers & Takers and 1923 – are both recorded in one take and before we know it we;re packing up, chatting with the crew and then off for some shopping.

There’s some stuff to be dropped off at Betty and Joe’s and we stop for a coffee and a quick chat then head home.

Not only have I to deal with a load of social media stuff around the STV show going out at 5pm and tomorrow’s gig, I need to sort a set list, rehearse, re-string guitars, print ‘forthcoming gig’ postcards and sort all the gear to record (audio and video) tomorrow’s (Thursday) Edinburgh show.

We take a break to watch Live at Five in between times…then it’s suddenly 9pm and I embark on the black pepper tofu for dinner…

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player
 and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Pre-record of two songs for tonight’s Live at Five show on STV

Monday 23 January 2017

This second hand bargain picked up after a wee appeal on Facebook could be the key to a live recording…

BLUDDY cold today…so we light the fire as soon as it’s set!

There’s a lot on the to-list so we have a ‘Buzz meeting’ to catch up. In addition, I really need to update the ‘Introduction to Dave Arcari’ video  that means trawling through, and selecting, a load of video clips and also filming a ‘personal’ piece to top and tail the thing.

Margaret’s not so sure we need the extra bit of personal filming, but I’m adamant that it needs a couple of seconds at the start and finish to give some perspective and insight into what I’m busy with rather than just jamming together a set of clips. We spend time debating and discussing…but it’s important! Looks like decent weather on Friday so we’ll film something then. Meantime, I’ll try and identify some video clips.

The need to do a Facebook Livestream – mainly to promote the upcoming Scottish dates – is becoming urgent. However, we face the  usual crap broadband service at home issue…Margaret suggests a wee test, and we manage to get ‘connected’…but the stream is constantly interrupted and sound etc breaking up/ The replay works OK, but that defeats the purpose of the live stream which, for me, is all about the real-time interaction with folks watching.

So with the home broadband being too flaky we decide the only thing to do is wait ’til Saturday and do it from ‘somewhere up the lochside’. So, 2pm Saturday it is – at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic

A courier delivers the Zoom R16 multitrack recorder – a second hand bit of kit at a bargain price after a wee appeal for one on Facebook. This may be the key to a successful (ie: usable) recording for a live album.

In the studio I rehearse a couple of new tunes for next week’s (Wednesday 1 February, 5pm) appearance on STV’s Live at Five show.

I also manage to complete all the backup, organising and archiving of hard drives I started a few weeks ago. All that remains is to make a safety copy of the resulting archive so I can move/copy every six months or so to maintain the integrity of the data. It appears that even hard drive archives can become corrupted and the best way to prevent that is to copy form one drive to another and rewrite the data every so often. Bleedin’ hell. More work.

I take a couple of mics and some headphones back to the house and run a few tests on the R16 recorder to make sure it’s all working as it should. All’s good, so the next step is to source some mic splitters to take direct live feeds – I don’t want to take outputs from the venue’s mixing desk or use ‘y’ cables which could compromise the sound of both the show and the recording. And although I’m pretty well up on recording techniques and procedures, I reckon there’s gonna be a bit of trial and error even working out if the live recording idea has legs.

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Friday 20 January 2017


Scottish shows info/trailer video…click above to watch!

THERE’S a note in the diary that the episode of Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks featuring yours truly is airing on ITV tonight. I spend a while spreading some ‘hints’ around Facebook, Twitter etc.

With an upcoming session of STV’s Live at Five – Wednesday 1 February, 5pm – I run through the new songs I’m planning on performing and rehearse a few more for good measure.

Mikey arrives mid-afternoon – he’s coming through for the night so Margaret can deal with his accounts and get his tax return done in time.

I’m planning a Facebook video ad to promote the upcoming Scottish shows – but before I can make the ad, I have to create the video…just a short piece to camera.

Half an hour back in the studio with some minor editing and I have a wee clip to upload along with the gig dates/info. Although it’s destined to be an ad, I upload it now to get some traction before throwing some cash at an ad campaign.

Betty pops round with info for us and we have a drink and watch Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks – despite her questionable (but understandable) pronunciation of some of the place names, the half hour show is a fatastic depiction of our area…and the closing segment with Margaret watching yours truly playing Loch Lomond outside the local coffee shop has survived the threat of the cutting room floor!

After dinner we chat and I set up the Facebook video ad. Rather than promoting (or ‘boosting’) single Facebook events, we’ve found we get much better results and more bang for our buck by having an ad direct to a landing page on my website. And video ads have a much higher success rate than standard ads on Facebook 🙂
 

A quick search found the above clip from Julia Bradbury’s Best British Walks online! Click the image to watch the segment featuring yours truly 🙂

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Friday 13 January 2016

IT CERTAINLY is ‘Friday the 13th’ – either that or I got out the wrong side of bed this morning.

First up, I’m getting security notifications when visiting my website. The SSL certificate I installed the other day seems to be creating more problems than it solves. I raise a support ticket with my hosting company to see if they can shed any light on things.

Second – our broadband speed has gone from poor to virtually unusable.

And thirdly – to cap it all – my tour dates aren’t showing up on my website. I use bandsintown to populate my tourdates page and, (I’m assuming) after yesterday’s WordPress update to version 4.7.1, something has happened.

I try a few edits and changes but nada. No solution. My bandsintown page and everything is OK so it must be something to do with the WordPress update that’s preventing the content showing when embedded in my own website. My Google ads ain’t showing up either but that’s no real loss.

Nothing I try wants to fix it so i end up creating a new tourdates page that will suffice until I work oiut what’s gone wrong – or WordPress, bandsintown or someone posts a ‘fix’ or update.

That’s the day all but gone. Dealing with shit. Not a single thing on my to-do list even looked at. I fiond myself wondering how everyone else manages to deal with all this crap. Firefighting.

I spend a couple of hours archiving and organising hard drives in the studio before throwing in the towel for the night and conjuring up a  green curry.

On a more positive note, though, following my meeting with Google the other day, Ekaterina’s advice has already resulted in my site coming up on the front page of search results for the three keywords we chose 🙂

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

 

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 🙂

...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 🙂

 

 

 

Tuesday 9 August 2016


Good Friend Blues live at Glasgow’s O2 ABC2

AN EARLY start – need to get the gear for tonight’s show packed and get into Glasgow for a photo job for a pal.

Margaret comes with me and we spend four hours taking photos at Rouken Glen park –the brief is quite extensive and I hope I’ve got all they need.

Next stop Costco to pick up some stuff then we head to the O2 ABC2 on Sauchiehall Street to load in for tonight’s show.

Bob Wayne and his band are just finishing their soundcheck when we arrive and soon I’m getting my gear sorted and my check’s done and dusted

Support act Panic Anchor – Andy – and another pal John arrive and soundcheck then we all hang out and chat before doors open.

Andy and John play a great opening set and soon I’m on stage and being fuelled by whisky from the crowd – it’s a great audience and their enthusiasm is second to none.

Next up, Bob Wayne and his band play a blinder. We hang out at the merch desk for a while then load out helped by our pal Jonzip. Next stop, Ka Ka Lok on St Georges Road for a late dinner – Asia Style a few doors away used to be my favourite, but recent visits and it’s update to Asiama have been disappointing. Ka Ka Lok is nothing short of stunning…best soft shell crab ever and all three of us enjoy our main courses.

We drop Jonzip off then head for home. Been a busy day, Knackered 🙂

Panic Anchor plays a fine set ably assisted by big John Mackay on harp...

Panic Anchor plays a fine set ably assisted by big John Mackay on harp…

..and Bob Wayne and his band play a stormer too :-)

..and Bob Wayne and his band play a stormer too 🙂

 

Thursday 28 July 2016

We enjoy a beer with Martin before tonight's show at the yacht club....

We enjoy a beer with Martin before tonight’s show at the yacht club….

AFTER breakfast at the yacht club we go back to the room and get some work done…no show ’til tonight. My last show in Parnu.

Our pal Martin’s staying on a  yacht moored at the club’s marina. I meet him and we take a walk into town to the supermarket and get some supplies while Margaret gets some other bits and bobs done in the room.

The main stage music at the yacht club kicks off at 5pm – but they only just start rigging the PA at 4pm, so I rather doubt anything will start on time.

After last night;s food fiasco Martin and I booked a table for the three of us for 6pm. They say service is still an hour-and-a-half so we worked back from our ‘would like to to eat at’ time of 7.30pm.

We get our table, have a beer and we’re served our food by 6.30pm….oh, and the band that was meant to start at 5pm has only just started. The usual Parnu chaos.

My stage time’s 9pm – with just one and after me, my pal Al’s new band Cathouse Radio. Meantime, we go back to Martin’s yacht and enjoy a beer in the cooling breeze.

When we get back across to the yacht club, Al’s there so we have a beer and catch up…and wonder when we’ll actually take the stage. Margaret asks one of the organisers who shrugs her concern off, saying they can have live music ’til midnight and there’s probably half hour leeway after that.

Despite everything running late, some of the bands have already overplayed they’re originally allocated time…absolutely no stage management or organisation whatsoever.

As the band before me concludes their over-run set, I ask the sound engineer – and one of the main organisers’ sons – if they need me to cut my hour-long set. He asks if I can cut it to 40 minutes – that’s OK by me…but weird I have to go to them to initiate the proposal!

There’s a lot of folks we know here tonight and many are getting a bit annoyed at how long things are over-running…my 9pm stage time is now looking more like 10.45pm and they’ve been waiting for a long time. A lot of them have brought us gifts too!

I kick of my amended set…and I’m just 30-minutes in when the other main ‘organiser’ comes to the stage and tells me my current song is the last one! No warning. That’s fucking out of order…not only would I have completely re-organsied my chosen songs, but I don’t even get the chance to say thank you to the audience over the mic…I just come to a stop. I’m furious. I’d have been prepared to cut my set by another ten minutes to 30 minutes if I’d known…

The anger is diluted by so many folks coming to shake hands and stopping me for photos, but still….

The piece-de-resistance comes when Margaret goes to get a drink but comes back two minutes later covered in blood and with a handful of teeth. She’s tripped over a cut stump of pipe sticking out the ground and landed smack on her face. I immediately take her indoors where the yacht club staff call an ambulance and help us deal with the situation.

Luckily Martin is still with us – a fluent English speaker he’s an invaluable translator when the ambulance folk come in, Luckily I’d grabbed our European health cards when i rushed some gear back to the room while we were waiting for the ambulance. Off we go to emergency at the local hospital which seems to be totally empty.

Margaret manages to stay calm and uncomplaining through the whole thing and gets a couple of stitches in the hole where her tooth came through her top lip and told to take some paracetamol. There’s no dental people at the hospital and we’re instructed to go to the city’s main dental place first thing in the morning…it opens at 8am.

Luckily Martin is driving us to Tartu tomorrow  (Friday) and is happy to leave at 7am to get to the dental place early….

It's after 1am when we get back to the yacht club and poor Margaret's still not complained about her accident....

It’s after 1am when we get back to the yacht club and poor Margaret’s still not complained about her accident….but that’s gonna hurt (even more) in the morning 🙁

Wednesday 27 July 2016

First show of the day at Versa in the town centre...

First show of the day at Versus in the town centre…

WE’RE up in time for breakfast at the yacht club….watermelon, cheese, cold meat, bread and lots of coffee. 

The temperature’s through the roof again today and I have two shows. One at 3pm at Versus, then a main stage show at the yacht club tonight.

Luckily we were able to leave the gear and merch at Versus after last night’s show so we don’t have to carry anything in the heat. We have lunch and watch the opening acts then I take the stage for a 45-minute set, trying to play a different set from the one I played last night.

I hadn’t been expecting many folks at a mid-week afternoon show and although not as busy as last night, the place is still full and I have a great show. I’m soaked through, though – we get a cab back to the yacht club for a cold shower and hang my clothes up to dry (hopefully) in time for tonight’s show.

We chill for the rest of the afternoon then meet our pal Martin for dinner while the yacht club main stage is rigged for the show. There’s just myself and a local support act tonight – the ‘big’ show is tomorrow (Thursday) night.

We’d hoped to have dinner in the restaurant, but the place is so busy there’s no chance of eating before I play at 10pm! There’s a pizza/fast food place at the yacht club too so we order there….Margaret’s fish and chips turns out to be two fish fingers but then,m what can you expect for €4. My veggie pizza is kinda bizarre…a cheese-fest topped with a few slices of red peppers and at least half a jar of pickled onions. Pickles onions? On a pizza? Yup!

The support act is possibly the weirdest support act I’ve ever had, but they warm up the crowd then I get ready. That’s when the festival folks realised they forgot to set up any lights, so they hastily rig some lights while I set up gear  – not sure which is worse – playing in the dark, or having the lights cook me alive and attract what seems to be every mosquito within miles of the place. I’m hot, sweaty and bitten to fuck – but the crowd’s great and the whisky dulls the pain.

...and then the main stage at the yacht club :-)

…and then the main stage at the yacht club 🙂

Tuesday 26 July 2016

 

On stage at Versus, Parnu...blues fest underway!

On stage at Versus, Parnu…blues fest underway!

WE’RE pretty gubbed when we wake up…and we’ve slept in a bit.

Not to worry, we;re soon up, dressed and on our way to Versus – ‘the blues cafe’ – the venue for today’s kick off shows for Parnu Blues Festival.

We need something to eat and rock’n’roll piano man Louie Digman is playing at 2pm. We eat, watch Louis and then our pals form the Parnu Blues Club band. Great to catch up.

It’s blisteringly hot and sweaty and we’re glad of the zircon at the shopping centre when we stop at the supermarket for some supplies – wine, beer, whisky…and some fruit.

Back at the hotel we rest up for a while then  make our way back to Versus with the gear. My show isn’t ’til 9pm but we need to get there in time for loading in and changeovers.

The band on before me is Joensuu Riihimäki from Finland. Frontman Sami suddenly asks me up to sing with him on  Dylan’s I Shall Be Released….jeez…don’t know all the words but we busk it anyway and it’s all done in the spirit of the moment! The guys put on a  great show and are one of the most refreshing bands we’ve seen in a  while.

There’s a capacity crowd in the room – and a lot of folks we know from previous Estonia trips…Seppo and Marina, author Toomas Raudam (who brings us a big punnet of raspberries from his garden) and a load of musicians 🙂

The place is packed, there’s two guys filming the whole thing with about eight cameras, a few photographers and it;s boiling hot….I’m soaking before I’ve even hit the first note!

The crowd is fantastic and I have a real blast…plenty whisky keeps me going until the end when I collapse in a heap backstage. Not time to rest though – folks to talk to and a stage to be cleared.

Once we’re done we find a nice quiet restaurant and relax over a belated dinner before heading back to yacht club for a last dram then bed. Some day.

Sami and Joensuu Riihimaki   get me up on stage to help out on I Shall be Released....

Sami and Joensuu Riihimaki get me up on stage to help out on I Shall be Released….

With Finnish band Joensuu Riihimaki after the show – me, Mollu, Kari and Sami

With Finnish band Joensuu Riihimaki after the show – me, Mollu, Kari and Sami

Monday 25 July 2016

Phew. Despite all the setbacks we manage to get the Helsinki – Tallinn Ferry. Time for a beer. Or two.

Phew. Despite all the setbacks we manage to get the Helsinki – Tallinn Ferry. Time for a beer. Or two.

THE alarm goes off just before 2am. Three hours’ sleep…uuuurgh.

After a quick shower we pack the car, drive to Glasgow airport and checkin with KLM – looks like we’re good to get the guitars in the cabin…if there’s a problem they’ll check them at the gate.

It’s just after 5am and I’m getting hungry so I go find a coffee and a pulled pork sausage roll. Odd breakfast!

Our bags are checked all the way to Helsinki, so when we transfer at Schipol we only have to lug the guitars, my effects case and Margaret’s bag. We just have an hour to get off the plane, find the gate for the Helsinki flight and hot foot it. It’s a long walk, but luckily there’s trolleys.

The Helsinki flight’s full, so the guitars are checked at the gate, so at least we know they’re on the right plane. Sure enough, when we go to baggage reclaim, the guitars show up – but our two big bags don’t.

After a queue at baggage services tor report the missing cases we make for the train station and take a half-hour train ride into Helsinki centre. We realise that our bags being lost could be a blessing in disguise – guite how we’d manage to carry everything I don;t know…although we do have a folding trolley. In one of the lost cases!

At Helsinki station we follow the sign for taxis. None to be seen. We hang around for a while, but time to get to the harbour for the ferry’s tight. Margaret goes back into the station – no info desk, but someone at a burger shop says we need to go too the other exit. We pick up a cab, Margaret clearly tells the driver we’re going to Tallinn and need the Tallinn Terminal. Twice.

We don’t recognise the terminal, but the driver assures us this is correct. But it’s not. We’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, not a taxi in sight and half an hour to get to the ‘other’ terminal which is, at best, a good 20-minute cab ride away. If we miss this ferry we’re in deep shit!

A girl at the Viking Line desk the terminal calls us a taxi which rocks up. We have twenty minutes – the time of the journey – to get there, buy tickets, and check in.

Somehow we make it and collapse in a seat on the boat with a beer. Phew!

When we arrive in Tallinn a taxi takes us to the bus station where we board a bus for the two-hour bus ride to Parnu. The driver’s a bit of a fud and directs us to take the guitars on board. But there’s no place to put cases/bags/anything and we don’t want to take up extra seats on a busy bus. Eventually he reluctantly opens the boot and lets us – and a load of other folks – put our bags etc in. He just couldn’t be arsed!

I sleep all the way to Parnu where we get a taxi to the Yacht Club, check in and enjoy dinner and drinks outside as the sun goes down…it’s just after 10pm.

Someone from Tallinn airport calls to day our bags are there, but as KLM does’t fly to Tallinn, we have to arrange for the bags to be taken to Parnu. No way! Margaret tells them in no uncertain terms, so they get onto KLM and call her back to say OK…the bags will be sent (by taxi!) to us in Parnu at KLM’s expense. They should be here by morning.

In some perverse way, our bags getting lost has been a benefit….we would have had a nightmare trying to hump them along the way. Now if only we could have sneaked into that taxi too 😉

Friday 15 July 2016

Reading support Greg Mayston plays a fine opening set

Reading support Greg Mayston plays a fine opening set

WE CONTINUE heading south today – last show of the mini-tour tonight at Smokin’ Billy’s in Reading.

Check out time’s 11am, but I still have some stuff to finish off, so I sit in the hotel foyer and take care of business while Margaret packs the car.

Just a few hundred miles but traffic jams every 50 miles or so make for slow progress.

Our hotel’s not too far from the venue and there’s time to stop off, dump our bags and have a coffee before we head for Smokin’ Billy’s.

We load in at the venue – a big American style restaurant-cum-club not unlike a Hard Rock Cafe that’s home to Reading’s Third Friday Blues while the arts centre’s refurbished.

Our pals Scott and Sue arrive just as I finish soundcheck and join us while we eat. The place fills up and just after 8pm Greg Mayston takes the stage for a short opening set of nicely played tunes.

The night goes swimmingly and we have a great time, lots of folks to chat to after the show and then we make our way back to the hotel, getting there sometime after midnight for a wee dram and a snack before bed.

Hotel breakfast on a budget...strawberries, croissants and coffee...fine by me :-)

Hotel breakfast on a budget…strawberries, croissants and coffee…fine by me 🙂

 

Tuesday 12 July 2016

WE enjoy a lazy breakfast with Chris and Richard then catch up on a bit of online work.

Awesome time at The Blues Kitchen :-)

Awesome time at The Blues Kitchen 🙂

Our pal Barry is only a few miles away and he’s not been well recently so we drive over ti see him and catch up over a coffee.

Back at Chris and Richard’s we get some stuff ready for tonight’s show and have a nap before heading of to Camden.

After load-in at the Blues Kitchen we’re fed – the food is great here – and chat with folks we know as they arrive for the show – including an old school pal I haven’t seen for 36 years! We resolve to catch up.

By the time I take the stage at 10pm there’s a great crowd in. Costas does a great job on the sound and I have a great time…it;s really, really warm though! Lots of folks to chat to at the merch table then we load out and make our way back to Chris and Richards’ where we chat over a bottle of red and finally hit the sack sometime after 2am…Newcastle tomorrow (Wednesday)

Saturday 2 July 2016

Great crowd at Clarks....

Great crowd at Clarks….

OOOFFFT…feeling pretty broken and busted this morning. Too much whisky, hard bed and generally knackered.

We head off to meet Susie for coffee in the centre of Dundee and have some lunch too. Nice to see her and catch up.

There’s some stuff we forgot to bring so we drop into Boots and Superdrug then make out way back to the hotel where I have a wee nap.

Load in at Clarks is at 5pm and Kit’s there to meet us and help us in. It’s a whole different world from last night – great room, top PA and an engineer!

By the time I kick off at 6pm the place is rammed. A faulty guitar takes the wind out my sails and I have to retune another, but the crowd doesn’t mind and I have a fantastic time playing. A great crowd and magic vibe throughout.

We’re fed after the show then we go for a drink to somewhere a but quieter with Catriona, Viv, Mike, Laura, Grant and some more pals.

A magic night apart form the fucked guitar. If there’s time tomorrow I’ll get hold of some tools and soldering iron and see if I can sort it out in time for the night-time shows. if not, back to retuning the back guitar!

Friday 10 June 2016

The Hellbound Train EP goes into the iTunes blues charts at number seven. Hell yeah!

The Hellbound Train EP goes into the iTunes blues charts at number seven. Hell yeah!

WELL…EP release day, video premiere day…and a show in Edinburgh tonight that needs last minute promo.

So you can imagine my annoyance when the hotel wifi decides to go on a go-slow. Just gotta bash on though and somehow we manage everything….first I deal with the new release.

Then liaising with The Blues Magazine for the online premiere of the Hellbound Train video and co-ordinating it with my Facebook page, we get that all going before moving onto some last minute promo for tonight’s (Friday) show at Sneaky pete’s in Edinburgh.

We get checked out the hotel and leave Aberdeen behind. When we stop for a coffee I do some online stuff and, on checking out iTunes see that Hellbound Train has entered the iTunes blues chart at number seven. Result! It’ll probably only be there for a day, but it’s up there in the top ten with some big names 🙂

Arriving in Edinburgh, we drop our bags off at Lesley’s, pick up ticket money at Ripping Records then load in at Sneaky Pete’s.

There’s a good crowd in when Lee opens the show at 7.30pm and by the time I kick off my set the place is pretty full. A great crowd.

I have a real blast playing and after two encores manage to get off the stage. Covered in sweat, whisky and buzzing from everyone’s enthusiasm. Great to catch up with pals old and new too.

Back at Lesley’s we eat, drink and chat til after 2am then….zzzzzzzzzz….

An amazing night at Sneaky Pete's :-)

An amazing night at Sneaky Pete’s 🙂

 

Monday 30 May 2016

Brilliant night playing the Hardtail Blues Club, Heather :-)

Brilliant night playing the Hardtail Blues Club, Heather 🙂

WE’RE worried about bank holiday Monday traffic jams and check out our hotel before 9.30am…but need to find some breakfast.

There’s a Sainsbury’s nearby and despite my moans at the price and the time it takes to be delivered to our table, it’s pretty good and sets us up for the drive to Heather (pronounced as in heathen, rather than the plant).

Typically there’s no traffic problems and we arrive early afternoon, load in to the venue then make our way to the B&B we’ve been booked into a  few villages away.

I’d planned a wee rest, but decide instead to out the time to good use and start a wee bit of work on a pal’s website…nothing spectacular, just some added functionality to help them implement some ideas.

There’s a 5.30pm soundcheck and the venue is a brilliant room at the back of The Crown. Soundman Andy – aka Shakes – has the rig and lighting all ready to go and the soundcheck goes like clockwork. The booker Simon brings us some grub and we get ready for doors.

Opening act Thomson plays some good stuff then I hit the stage for two forty-five minute sets….and a lot of beer, whisky and sweat. Venue, sound and audience are awesome and we have a fantastic time.

After loading out there’s time for a couple of drinks with folks before we head off. Think I’ll be sore in the morning!

Opener Thomson plays a great set....

Opener Thomson plays a great set….

Tuesday 12 April 2016

The State Bar house band in full flow....

The State Bar house band in full flow….

I MANAGE to get a few things off the to-do list before a courier drops off a garden seat/swing thing that Margaret ordered from Amazon the other day at a bargain price.

She’s always wanted an American-style porch swing, but our house doesn’t have a porch or any reasonable way of adding one, so this is the closest we’ll get for the time being.

We open the massive box and find – as usual when something is a ‘bargain’ – there’s a million ‘bits’. Anything that could be separate is…millions of different sized screws, nuts, blots, spring washers, normal washers…and as many bits of metal and material. This is gonna take a while to build.

The rain comes on and postpones our swing-building until, probably, tomorrow.

Meantime, we get some more work done. I’ve got a bunch of posters and flyers to be packaged up and sent to various venues/promoters then we drive down to the village, drop the poster packs at the post office, leave the car and jump on the bus into Glasgow. It’s the State Bar’s 20th anniversary blues jam tonight.

We drop into Nanakusa for a quick dinner then into the State Bar where Martyn and Louise have commandeered a table. It’s gonna be a busy night, so good to get a seat!

Although we’ve been to a few things in the downstairs room over the last few years, this is the first time we’ve been to the Tuesday night blues jam since we moved out of Glasgow nearly seven years ago. We used to live at Charing Cross just a few blocks away and it was regular mid-week haunt for us.

It’s nice to see State Bar main man Jason and catch up with house band members Al Fleming, Sandy Smart and Tim Clark as well as regulars John Beattie, Callum Ingram and loads more fellow musicians and pals amongst the packed house. There’s lots of other folks it’d have been lovely to chat with too, but the place was so busy it wasn’t gonna happen.

Kenny and Lottie join Martyn and Louise and I at our table and we have a grand night of music, beer, whisky and chat.

Louise has an early-ish start in the morning and has opted to drive so we pile into Martyn’s van for a ride home. A grand night out.

Great company and chat with our pals Kenny, Al, Lottie, Martyn, Louise and Margaret

Great company and chat with our pals Kenny, Al, Lottie, Martyn, Louise and Margaret