Thursday 22 November 2018

Splendid night at King Tuts πŸ™‚

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

 

Saturday 20 October 2018

We manage to catch a few songs from our pals Dig Deep at Badger State Brewery before heading to ZZQ for my load in

NOT much time to hang around this morning – we need to get to Green Bay and pay Kip at Printables Inc for the tour t-shirts he printed and shipped to New York.

He’s around ’til 1pm.We leave Wausau int he snow and hit Green Bay and Kip’s place with 15 minutes to spare. Great top see him and hang out for a while.

My show at ZZQ isn’t ’til 3pm and our pals Dig Deep are playing at the Badger Brewery taproom at 1pm. We drop by to see them and have Philly cheesesteaks for lunch before checking into our motel and hitting ZZQ.

Booker Misty is waiting for us – and some folks in the music room are wrestling with an old PA system. They call for help and soon Jesse arrives, disses the house PA and brings in his own rig!

We’re up and running pretty quick and I have a blast playing a couple o 45-minute sets. Shame the show was moved from a nighttime show to the afternoon, but there’s still a good bunch of folks in. The Dig Deep guys have hot-footed down after their show and catch a few songs, we sell some merch and chat folks then I tidy up the stage area.

Pete – Dig Deep bass player – ands wife Chris hang out with us for some dinner and a few drinks. Great to catch up with them…these guys became pals on very first trip to the USA back in 2013.

We’re back at the motel soon after 10pm and relax a while before crashing.

Fun and games at ZZQ in Green Bay

And a wee Glengoyne with our pals Pete (Dig Deep), Chris, ZZQ owner Bob and booker Misty…

Sunday 14 October 2018

Montrose Saloon, Chicago….

IT’S snowing when we wake up in Winona…and we’ve a good five hour drive to Chicago ahead.

We pack up, say cheerio to Ken and hit the road, stopping at Perkins for some breakfast.

The weather eases up and we take turns driving, arriving at our pals Mark and Nan’s just after 5pm.

Load in at Montrose Saloon is 7pm, so we’ve time for a catch up before we head down there. We dump the gear and go in search of food, find a pizza place nearby and take it back to the venue where John Ballantyne’s Crazy Heart have just started their set.

We bump into PR man August Forte who has helped me out with some PR and media stuff in the past but we’d never met…Eric from the venue had him do some promo on tonight’s show. Hey;s done a grand job and it’s great to meet him and hang out.

After a quick change over I hit the stage for 70-minute-or-so set and have a blast. The PA struggles a bit to start with, but Eric’s on the case and we have a great time…the place is pretty crammed and everyone seems to be having a great time and in the spirit of things.

Its nice to see so many of our Chicago pals out…Nan and Mark go back to the house after show and give us a key to get in once we’ve finished packing up and loading out. A grand night πŸ™‚

That’s been 11 shows in row – gonna be nice to have a couple days off…

John Ballantyne’s Crazy Heart open the show with a fine set…

And we share a wee dram with PR maestro August, the door guy and venue co-owner David.

Friday 12 October 2018

Great to be back at McAuliffe’s in Racine – thank you everyone for a wonderful night πŸ™‚

A BIT of a fluster this morning…we need packed up and on the road as soon as possible. Four hundred and thirty miles to Racine today.

There’s some stuff we need to pick up then we hit the road.

We keeper eyes peeled for a Panera Bread but end up having a quick pit stop at a  McDonalds for lunch..thank goodness they do a grilled chicken sandwich here…doesn’t feel quite as bad for you!

We roll up at McAuliffe’s at 6.30pm. Our pal and venue owner JJ meets us outside and helps us load in…and soundman Erin is on hand for soundcheck. He’s done my sound the last couple of visits so is pretty on top of things.

There’s a big baseball game on so we plan how best to run the night…and Lauren and Trey from Capitol-Husting – JJ’s drinks supplier – have brought along a supply of 10-, 12- and 15-year-old Glengoyne to incorporate a whisky tasting into the evening.

Once soundcheck are done we eat, Brenda has prepared a huge buffet of ribs, mac’n’cheese, cornbread, coleslaw and mash. Awesome.

Margaret goes to check into the hotel and I get some pre-gig stuff done before showtime.

I kick off just after 9pm and we have a grand time. Two 45-minute sets and a brilliant crowd and lots of chat and laughs after the show.

It’s well after 1am when we get back to the hotel and I dig into some of the leftover ribs and enjoy a glass of red before falling off to sleep.

Venue owner JJ (right) arranged for Lauren and Trey from Capitol-Husting to come along and do a Glengoyne whisky tasting as part of the evening.

Thursday 11 October 2018

Great to be back at Rich’s in Annandale….

AFTER clearing the decks work-wise, we’re out the hotel by 11am and on the 150-mile journey north to Annandale, Minnesota.

We stop for fuel and pick ip some stuff in a supermarket, grab a snack and continue on our way. Load in is 5pm and we want to get checked into the hotel before we hit the venue.

Our pal Casey and his buddy Ian have the PA ready when we load in – soundcheck goes like clockwork and after catching up with venue owner Rich we’re fed and watered – well, maybe that should be ‘beefed’ – and back downstairs in the venue in time for doors opening.

It’s looking pretty quiet until just a few minutes before showtime…then the place suddenly fills up and I have a fantastic couple of beer, whisky, bourbon and fireball-fulled sets.

We’ve lots of friends here and it’s grand to catch up and share a few drinks.

Back at the hotel we have a snack, a glass of red and catch some zzzzz’s……we’ve a 400-mile journey on a mixture of roads to get to Racine tomorrow (Friday)

Soundcrew and pals Ian and Casey enjoy a well-earned Glengoyne

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Time for a dram with Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, the Trongone Band, soundman Eric and bar tender Morgan. Great night.

AFTER breakfast and the now normal routine of emails, social media and last minute “today’s show” online promo we hit town.
Margaret want to go to T J Maxx and we need some stuff to fix my necklaces.

On the way back to the hotel we pick up some stuff for lunch then I restring the guitars for tonight’s show.

Load-in at the Raccoon Motel is 5.30pm. The Trongone Band is sound checking as we load in then soundman Eric get me set up in good time for my 7pm stage time.

The place is pretty empty at ten to seven…but miraculously fills up as I take the stage. I have an absolute blast then clear the stage for the Trongone Band who play a blistering set before Sarah Shook hits the stage with her band, the Disarmers. Sarah’s albums have been on constant rotation back home since our pals at Bloodshot records tipped us off about her music.

We’re loaded out just after 10pm and back at the hotel slightly worse for wear soon after…some grub and then I crash!

I kick things off at the Raccoon Motel…

…then the Trongone Band….

…and Sarah Shook & the Disarmers.

 

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Jesse Malin at Coney Island Baby, NYC

GOOD morning New York!

The guitars have arrived and the concierge guys have ’em downstairs. I go and pick them up and all’s well so we celebrate by going for breakfast at the Silver Dollar diner a couple of blocks away on 2nd.

Back ay Ginny’s we go down to the storage area in the basement and pickup all our USA tour stuff as well as my National ResoTone and the banjo.

I tune up the instruments and we do a quick livestream then Margaret gets busy folding and rolling t-shirts. We decide the best way to pack ’em is rolling thump with some masking tape round them marked with the size. We don’t have any masking tape tho’, so I go out an find an art supplier shop inside the interior design school then stop off at Morton Williams…a cool grocery store we like…and pick up some sushi and a couple of treats for lunch.

We eat then tape up and mark the shirts, do a little more work then make our way downtown to find something to eat before we go to Coney Island Baby to see Jesse Malin. The noodle place Margaret checked out inline is mobbed and there’s no chance of a table. After  wee bit of wandering about we find a poke bowl place which is pretty good then carry in to the bar/venue.

The support bands are good and the place fills up. I’m amazed there’s only one toilet cubicle for the entire place…mind you, at ten bucks a drink people probably don’t pish much here!

Jesse and his band – including hr guitar player I saw him with in Glasgow a couple weeks ago. – hit the stage soon after 10pm and play a storming 90-minute set.

When we get outside after the show there’ major rainstorm going on. After a couple of false starts we manage to get an Uber which drops us off back on the upper east side and we fall into bed at Ginny’s…

Sunday 12 August 2018

A fantastic experience playing for Sofar Sounds in Edinburgh…

AN early start (for a Sunday)..we’re up, showered, some work done, breakfasted and on the road by 10am.

First stop is Perth for a session on touring in Australia, New Zealand and China organised by Showcase Scotland and Help Musicians Scotland as part of The Visit – a delegation of promoters, agents and festival organisers from these territories.

The session is informative and useful and there’s time to network and meet the delegates afterwards.

We grab a late lunch then head for Edinburgh where I;m paying a Sofar Sounds show. It’s a kinda secret thing with the venue only revealed to successful ticket applicants on the day of the show. And they don’t know who’s gonna be on the bill!

Tonight’s event is being hosted at Rock’n’Rose – a cool  hairdressers which has been transformed into an intimate 50-capacity gig space. It’s been sold out in advance and, like many Sofar events, had many more folks applying for tickets than there is space. That’s a good start.

We arrive just after 5pm and are warmly welcomed by the organisers, camera and video crew and the owner of the space.

I’m curious to experience first hand how the Sofar thing works. The concept has attracted a fair bit of positive and negative comment, touted in some circles as ‘the Uber of house concerts’. While the performer fees are pretty low – and can be be forfeited in lieu of a professionally shot video – this, in my humble opinion is not the point of Sofar. The big positive here is that the audience don’t know who they’re gonna see, so artists perform to an entirely new audience. I expect them to be pretty open-minded music lovers who are getting to experience new music in a pretty perfect environment….we’ll see…

There’s three other artists performing tonight – uke-wielding, looping songstress Joanna Wallfisch, performance poet Toby Thompson and a solo performance from Steven Milne of Little Kicks. Yours truly is scheduled to be on last.

Although it’s an acoustic event – save for Joanna’s looping pedal which adds some layers to her vocals in places – everyone does a quick soundcheck for the audio/video recording.

Everyone is friendly and enthusiastic, and immediately the first major positive of Sofar is obvious…the acts have been all been well chosen and curated…I suspect the format will be the catalyst for many friendships and collaborations amongst artists.

Doors open at 7.30pm, there’s refreshments on hand for all the artists and Joanna kicks things off at 8pm sharp with a captivating 20-minute set. Toby follows with an intriguing clutch of poems…again, this is another win for the Sofar format – having been scunnered with schooldays poetry I’d never have imagined enjoying this art form but Toby is fucking amazing. And judging by the audience reaction, they agree.

Next up is Steven Milne – an Aberdeen singer/songwriter better known as part of Little Kicks. Another fantastic performance and I’m getting pretty nervous at the thought of following this lot. I’m also trying not to over indulge in the beer!

Then it’s my turn. reservations vanish into thin air and I have a blast playing my short five-song set. The audience is fantastic and more than live up to the hopes I mentioned earlier.

By 11pm we’re packed and on our way home. Would have been nice to go for a drink afterward, but we have a long-ish drive back to East Loch Lomond and an early start in the morning.

Back home I pour a large dram and, both impressed and happy with my Sofar experience, do a bit of research into the operation. I find this is a pretty serious and passionate business…critics of ‘the deal’ should take a step back, find out what’s involved.

These shows are not about the money – not for anyone involved – it’s about audience development, networking and friendship which at the same time gives those lucky enough to attend a Sofar show a fantastic experience. Plus, we’ll have some official photos and video to share soon.

In order of appearance…Joanne Wallfisch, Toby Thompson and Steven Milne.

 

Thursday 14 June 2018

I manage to set up a Spotify pre-save – click the image above to check it out…

THE BOIL that appeared on the inside of my leg seems to have calmed down a bit…the hot compresses have helped, I think.

I have a landing page to sort out for my pal Rab’s website. It’s not due to go live yet, but it can be a technically challenging thing to set up, so I want to be prepared and also send him some ideas of how it could look. 

It takes me all morning to come up with a technical solution.

The high winds have wreaked havoc in the garden so we try and tidy up some of the mess and hope things’ll calm down over the afternoon.

I’ve been stuck between a rock and a hard place about the promo for next week’s release of Whisky Trail. With no iTunes/Apple Music pre-order, I’ve been holding back any promo until the track is actually available to download/stream…but thinking again, that’ll likely all hit too late. I decide to get some promo out immediately.

I get a news release written up and put out to press, radio, web and other media along with a private listen/download link then go out for a walk.

By co-incidence the podcast I listen too is about new music promotion and the benefits of setting up a pre-save on Spotify. A pre-save is kinda like a pre-order but works for streaming. If someone pre-saves, the track is delivered to their playlist immediately it becomes available (ie: on release day).

I’d looked into this, but discounted it as none of the ‘free’ solutions offering to set it up worked. Now, I’m thinking again and that it might be worth paying the small fee to set it up..even if it only gives us an idea of whether to pursue it in future.

When I get home I set it all up, create a landing page for my own website and cross my fingers its worth the (albeit small) cost and work. Check it out here.

It’s after 8pm when I light the charcoal and cook the Vietnamese beef…fast becoming one of our favourites!

Monday 7 May 2018

First live show in a while for yours truly…nice to be back on stage πŸ™‚

AFTER the routine stuff I nip across to the studio and run through my set for tonight’s show at Broadcast in Glasgow.

It’s been a couple of months since my last show and I need to make sure I’m match fit. I manage to remember the words to everything then pack the guitars, banjo and other stuff.

We take advantage of the sunshine to get a few bits and bobs done outside – Margaret re-pots our indoor tree and I cut the grass and do some strimming. Best get these jobs done before the rain comes back!

Load in at Broadcast is at 6pm and soundman Darren does a fine job soundchecking. Doors are advertised for 7pm, but everything gets pushed back a half-hour..there’s a good crowd in when I kick things off just after 8pm.

Next up is Serious Sam Barrett and James the Fang – it’s nice to see Sam, having played a show together in Stamford a few years ago. The pair play a nice mixture of roots and Americana peppered with some folk influences from this side of the pond.

J D Wilkes closes the night with a slimmed-down Shack Shakers backing him and plays some old Shack Shakers favourites and old and new stuff from his solo and Dirt Daubers sets.

A grand night and brilliant crowd –especially for a Monday night.

…Serious Sam Barrett and James the Fang…

J D Wilkes and the Legendary Shack Shakers close a fantastic night at Broadcast

 

Monday 16 April 2018

I manage to reinstate the accidentally reformatted FlashAir card…

A 6.45am call from a courier with a delivery gets me out of bed…

No bad thing, really, as Margaret’s gonna be in Glasgow all day today and the kitchen folks are coming around 9am to start ripping out our cranky old kitchen.

After breakfast I tidy up some more stuff in preparation for the kitchen chaos and am already out in the office getting some work done when the guys arrive. 

I get them sorted out then back in the office embark on my first priority job – fixing the Toshiba FlashAir wifi camera card that I stupidly reformatted in the camera on Saturday resulting in the loss of the wifi functionality.

The Toshiba software won’t run on the latest Mac OS that runs on our laptops…and the big Mac in the studio is running an OS that;s too old so I had to try and find another way. Despite fruitless searching online – all pointing to reformatting the card using computer software – I mess about and fix things by accident. Re-setting the card and using the default wireless key to reconnect to the iOS app.

Next, I have a story to prepare for publication on the G63.scot website later in the week.

I put together a makeshift lunch – avocado with tuna, spring onions and sriracha mayo – in the office then get busy with my dreaded tax return.

I’m about a third of the way thought when  the internet drops out and I realise the guys working in the house have turned the electricity off. A wee warning  would’ve been good!

Anyway, a few hours later, the tax return is done and submitted electronically. Phew.

King Tut’s announce my Glasgow show on Thursday 22 November and put tickets on sale here.

I have a  bunch more stuff to do then we head along to Betty and Joe’s – knowing our kitchen is out of order for the week, they’ve very kindly invited us along for dinner πŸ™‚

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Artist Dave Mach ‘in conversation’ with our pal Rab Noakes. Fantastic event.

MARGARET drives to the village after breakfast to get stuff to make lunch for some pals passing by later…I get busy with my accounts in the office. Looks like my PRS royalties this quarter could save our (financial) ass.

When Margaret’s back I accompany her on day two, week two of her ‘couch to 5k’ regime.

Next, into the studio for my daily songwriting effort. Was gonna do a process/progress livestream this morning but better leave it ’til tomorrow. I’m a bit tight for time.

Jane. Tricia and crew – all eight of them – arrive just after 1pm. They’ve been on a walk over the Conic and ready for Margaret’s lentil soup, stovies and brownies. They hang out for an hour or two then wander off.

We make for Glasgow to pick up the flooring for the kitchen – the fitters start work on Monday – and Margaret’s got tickets for For Fact’s Sake..a new BBC comedy series being prouced at Pacific Quay.Doors open at 6pm and when we get there a few minutes after we’re told ‘sorry, the studio’s full’. Even when you;ve successfully applied and been allocated tickets, there’s small print that says ‘first come first served’ and apparently folks were queueing outside from 3pm. Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

I remember our pal Rab is hosting an ‘in conversation’ event with fellow Fifer, artist Dave Mach at a gallery in Queen Street where he;s been working on an installation. It started at 6pm and we didn’t RSVP as we’d already committed to the  BBC thing (obviously the BBC didn’t!) but we decide to stop b y anyway. The gallery folks are very nice and welcome us with open arms…Margaret gets a glass of red and we join the audience in the packed gallery.

Rab does a fantastic job steering the chat and both he and Dave provide non-stop interesting conversation. For me, anyway, this has been a much more interesting event than being in the audience for a BBC comedy. Every cloud and all that πŸ™‚

We’re home by 10pm, crack open a beer and a bottle of red and watch a movie about Steve Jobs and Apple.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Wednesday 21 March 2018

First up at the Quay Sessions is Annie Booth…

WE’RE off to the BBC’s Quay Sessions this evening, so both of us go into Glasgow early.

I drop Margaret off then go for coffee and spend an few hours on the local community trust website before parking up at the People’s Palace and wandering into town to pick up some mail.

After a quick snack I get a few bits and bobs of shopping then pick up Margaret. We head to Ikea to check out lighting for the new kitchen, wander around a bit then have some grub before parking up at the BBC’s Pacific Quay.

There’s a fair amount of hanging around for the ticket validation.

We elect to stand rather than the go for the rather restrictive seating, grab a couple of glasses of red then the music kicks of with Annie Booth and her band. Nice stuff.

Even better is second act – Albin Lee Meldau from Gothenburg currently enjoying ‘album of the week’ status on Radio 2.

We discuss the evening on the way home. The music from both was good. For me, though, there was very little performance or entertainment beyond the music. It’s all very safe. That’s probably why, we conclude, that Margaret’s numerous efforts to get me on the Quay Sessions over the last year or two have fallen on deaf ears.

…then some nice stuff from Albin Lee Meldau

Thursday 15 March 2018

Fun’n’games at the Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

FEELING a bit ropey this morning..no hangover – more my balance is all funny and I’m a bit dizzy.

A shower and breakfast later I’m still feeling odd, but no time to worry about that ‘cos all the gear needs sorted for tonight’s show in Edinburgh.

I get some more bits and bobs done and have the decks cleared in time for a phoner interview with Cara for an upcoming feature in fRoots magazine. We chat for a good hour or so then we hit the road to Edinburgh.

First stop is Les’s flat to drop off our bags and take her with us to the Voodoo Rooms. We’re all loaded ina nd ready in time for my 6pm soundcheck with engineer Keith.

We have some grub – ace burgers all round – then Mark who runs a Lothian events page arrives to do a wee video interview…see his page and the video here.

My photographer pal Jim, who I haven’t seen for 20 years has been in touch to see if he could take some pix. There’s time for a quick catch up before I hit the stage for the first of my two 45-minute sets.

There’s a good crowd in. Don’t think we’ve ever sold so many advance tickets for an Edinburgh show and by the time I start my second set the whisky’s flowing.

After the show there’s time to chat with folks round the merch table and catch up with some pals who’re out for the show.

We’re back at Les’s flat by midnight – eating and drinking red wine.  Maybe gonna regret all this in the morning…but it’s fun!

Saturday 3 March 2018

Hicks play a fine opening set

WE CHECK the weather and roads situation first thing. I’m nervous about getting into Glasgow and really hope we don;t have to cancel tonight’s show.

Things look fairly positive and after packing the gear and merch we hit the road just after 11am – a good few hours earlier than we would normally leave for the city. I need to know in good time if there’s gonna be any problems.

Luckily the road to Drymen has been cleared and although still a bit dicey, someone has ploughed through the eight foot snowdrifts that blocked the road last night. We take the less exposed route through Balloch and hit the road.

All’s good and we get to Braehead in time for some lunch. There’s still time to kill, so we go and check out a kitchen place in Hillington called Kitchen Depot that someone recommended to Margaret. We’re immediately impressed by the family-run firm and the girl we sit down to talk designs with is amazing. Looks like we’re gonna go with this! Dunno where the dosh is coming from tho’.

Next stop, the Hug & Pint. We load in and meet the guys form Hicks who.re doing the support slot. Soundman Ross is excellent and soon we’re all soundchecked and upstairs having a beer and some fantastic grub.

Advance sales are pretty good and the place slowly fills over the half hour between doors opening and Hicks taking the stage. They play a cracking set, then it’s my turn.

I have a grand time and it’s a great crowd…luckily there a fair amount of walk ups, especially as a fair few ticket holders don’t show. The bad weather must still be scuppering folks’ plans.

We’re loaded out and back at Jonzip and Maggi’s before midnight. Maggi’s made a big pot of chilli…we eat drink and chat…another 4am shot.

I really enjoy playing at the Hug & Pint

 

 

Wednesday 24 January 2018

From this…to this…to this…the green curry paste process πŸ™‚

TOP of my list today is to try and give my shows a higher profile/visibility in Google search using Google’s ‘data highlighter’.

Because my tour dates come in via Bandsintown, Google doesn’t index them as individual events, so yesterday I set up a hidden gigs page on my website and a set of individual gig pages – one for each show – behind it.

I check using Google’ Search Console (part of Webmaster Tools…anyone with a website/s should have it/them linked to a Google account to access all this good stuff) this morning and  Google has indexed these pages already, so now I can use the data highlighter tool to map information in a way that Google can understand and index.

Might take a few days to see if it works, but if it does it could be a game changer. To find out more check out this great article.

I venture back to the house to make a big batch of green curry paste.

The replacement double battery box (and a spare) has arrived so I check my toolbox to see what I might need to do the repair…no solder or desoldering braid left, so  go onto Amazon and order what I need.

After lunch I go back to the studio and film a bunch of green screen stuff to make up some Facebook videos for the upcoming Scottish shows. I drop in some backgrounds and create the social media-favoured square format for the first video then post it on YoTube and Facebook…once it;s got some traction I’ll turn it into an ad.

In the office there’s some USA booking stuff to progress and also an invitation to speak at a music industry event in Edinburgh I need to respond to.

Finally I get the spicy beef ramen underway, we eat, watch some telly and then some zzzzzzZZZs

Monday 22 January 2018


Belfast videoblog – click to watch!

AFTER shovelling away some of the snow and ice outside the house and office I start dumping all the various video clips from the weekend’s Belfast trip onto the laptop.

With the rest of the routine chores and breakfast out the way I start going through the video and putting together a rough videoblog edit. There’s clips from the wee camera, GoPro and both our iPhones. Interestingly, the footage from our iPhones is probably the best overall quality!

Betty and Joe pop in for a coffee and invite us along for dinner later.

More video editing then into the studio to see what’s wrong with the ‘black guitar’. I manage to get the battery box out and check out all the connections. All seem OK, so it must be the battery contact. I put it all back together and plug in. Not working. A jiggle here and there reveals it’s the lower battery box and looks like it’s the ‘springy-ness’ of the contacts that’s the culprit. 

I find replacements online for Β£13 and order a couple. It’s important I’m able to fix this myself in future. If it’s a disaster I’ll book the guitar into the repair shop.

While in the studio I record a voiceover for the video blog then take it back to the office and finish the edit. I;m finished just as it;s time to go along to Betty and Joe’s.

We have a grand night…when we get home I spot a nice review of the Belfast show in Folk and Tumble then off to sleep.

Saturday 20 January 2018

The day gets underway with a live session and interview with Gerry Kelly on BBC Radio Ulster

NEEDLESS to say we’re starving when we wake up – a two blueberry muffins and a large dram was no substitute for dinner – especially at 1.30am after spending the evening in the hotel bar!

Premier Inn breakfast is good, but we don’t have too much time to hang around. We need to go and get the car and gear and load in at Black Box at 10am. Venue manager Neil is waiting for us a with coffee and I get my gear sorted out. Just after 11am a taxi to takes us to the BBC studios where producer Peter introduces us to presenter Gerry Kelly and the rest of the production team.

After a quick soundcheck we have (more) coffee then just after midday we’re live. Two songs – Got Me Electric and Good Friend Blues and a good chat. Gerry’s a great host and we have a blast before a taxi whisks us back to Black Box for soundcheck.

Engineer Barry has done my sound before and has everything under control well before doors open at 1.30pm. The black guitar’s playing up a bit – think there’s a duff connection in one of the battery boxes, but hopefully it’ll hold out for the show. I’ll get it into the guitar hospital next week.

Fantastic to get a chance to catch up with old school pal Gordon Richardson πŸ™‚

Backstage, I get changed and chill in the dressing room ’til showtime then hit the stage. The place is full and everyone seems out for a good time. A burst string puts the banjo aside ’til the second set and the enthusiasm from the crowd carries on through the afternoon. The black guitar holds out save for a couple of minor dropouts, we have a great time and there’s lots of chat and photos at the merch table after the show. 

Finally I get packed up and we load out just as the artists – Yola Carter and her band – load in for the evening slot.

We drop the car, go for some grub to a place nearby called Yardbird – not bad value and fills a hole, but my ribs are more ‘boiled’ than BBQ!

Back at the hotel we chill for half an hour then go round the corner to Black Box to see Yola Carter and her band. Our intentions to go right back to the hotel after her show…but a couple of bottles of wine and chat see us hang out for a while…then Cara, soundman Barry, festival mainman Sean, Margaret and I all go off to the pub. I think we get back to the hotel around 2am….

With BBC Radio Ulster’s Gerry Kelly

…onstage at Black Box for the Out To Lunch Festival…

Good to see our East Side Blues buddies

…Yola Carter and her band in the evening slot..

Saturday 2 December 2017

A wee selfie crossing the Danube spur that runs through Vienna. Nice to have some time to look around πŸ˜‰

A GREAT sleep and a wee lie in…but still up in time for breakfast – doesn’t finish here at the rather swanky Ruby Marie hotel ’til 11am πŸ™‚

John Spillane’s hosting a songwriting workshop at midday at a venue on the other side of the city centre. We jump on the underground and catch the end of the session. Enlightening and inspiring stuff.

We have a wander though the city and stop off at a traditional restaurant for lunch…the food’s good, but the service is awful. We wait 45-minutes for our drinks to arrive and our order to be taken!

We make our way back to the hotel and get stuff ready for tonight’s Schottenfest show. We’re picked up at 5.30pm and soon we;re loaded in and sound man Bobby has my soundcheck nailed.

Upstairs we have some dinner then back into the venue in time for doors opening. Aera is a fantastic room and it’s already filling up nicely when Doug Andrews opens the show.

Next up it’s Grainne Hunt who, like Doug before her, plays a blinder.

The venue’s full when I hit the stage for an hour and a bit. I have a blast and the crowd is fantastic.

Plenty time afterwards to chat with folks round the merch table and enjoy a few drams with everyone before we pack up, load out and share a cab back to the hotel with Grainne. Been an awesome day πŸ™‚

Doug Andrews opens the show….

…followed by Grainne Hunt…

…then yours truly.

 

Saturday 25 November 2017

Weirdy beardy action at Strathblane Village Clubtrathblane,Balnefi

AFTER a lazy morning I do some last-minute online promo for tonight’s show at Strathblane Village Club and print off the list of advance ticket sales .

I make a big pot of veggie black bean soup – a bit of an experiment after last week’s effort using soaked black beans and a smoked ham hock. This version only takes an hour rather than the four or five of the last batch!

There’s a lot of gear to get ready – not just the usual instruments and stuff, but also the PA, some extra lighting and a backdrop as well as tablecloths, tea lights and other bits and bobs to help ‘transform’ the village club into a ‘venue’.

We have some of the black bean soup which is good, but not as tasty as the ham hock version then I pack the car and Margaret gets all the merch ready.

We stop in at Glengoyne distillery en route to pick up a couple of banner stands, a bottle of cask strength to give away and a good supply of 10-year-old to give folks a courtesy arrival dram.

We start setting up the room about 4.30pm and it’s a bit of a stress-fest trying to get everything in order before doors open at 7.30pm. The PA’s being a pain and not wanting to link in stereo but I find a work around and overall we’re pleased the way the new remote mixer works.

Doors open on time at 7.30pm and the room has been transformed. The whisky starts to flow. There’s a fantastic crowd in and I have a blast playing two 45-minutre sets. Not sure if it’s the music or the whisky – or maybe a combination – but the place is jumpin’ πŸ™‚

There’s a fair amount to strip down after the show but with the help of some of the Village Club folks we leave the place as we found it and roll up home just after midnight. We’ll unpack the gear int he morning!

With Connie – lucky winner of a bottle of Glengoyne Cask Strength πŸ™‚

Welcome drams courtesy of Glengoyne

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Nice to catch up with Maggie and Niall at the Blues Kitchen πŸ™‚

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

Saturday 11 November 2017

Great crowd at Broadcast πŸ™‚

MY website’s still getting messed up by the malware or whatever…seems to have injected a script that’s still hanging around. I think it may be ‘hidden’ in the database.

I escalate by efforts to rid the site of the infection and cross my fingers it’s gone this time. I leave the website in maintenance mode with a holding page until I’m sure we’re clear.

After breakfast I start making a big pot of black bean soup. I’ve had the black beans soaking overnight so drain them and replace the water, bring it to the boil and add garlic, onion, green pepper, salt and pepper – then in goes a smoked ham hock and some olive oil. It needs to simmer away for four or five hours.

Ivor drops by to pick up some CDs has a coffee then I carry on with some work in the office before packing the gear/merch for tonight’s show in Glasgow.

Mikey was meant to be here by 1pm but it’s after 3.30pm when he arrives, so it’s straight into the car and off to Glasgow.

Load in and soundchecks go great – engineer Jim is on the ball and opening act Hicks are all set to go soon after doors open. It;s nice to hang out and chat with our Left Lane Cruiser pals before the show.

Hicks play a grand set then I take the stage. The place is rammed right up to the front which is nice and there’s an electric atmosphere. Then Left Lane Cruiser close the night with a spectacular set.

Broadcast is one of our favourite venues, but their ‘evacuation policy’ of herding folks out as soon as the music finishes so the place can be prepared for the following club night is terrible. Same thing happened at my album launch show on 1 September. Not only does the venue insist the merch table is hidden away at the back in a poorly accessible spot, folks are herded out with little or no time to buy merch. I make my feelings known to the bouncer and the sound engineer. Ozzy – Left Lane Cruiser’s tour manager isn’t happy either. Regardless, we all do pretty well on sales…but it could be so much better.

After loading out we have a drink with everyone in the dressing room then head to KaKaLock for some grub. Home before 2am!

Left Lane Cruiser play a blinder…

Time for a drink in the dressing room before we head off.

 

Saturday 28 October 2017

With Neil Silverman of Newtone Strings who organised the event…and supplies my guitar (and banjo!) strings

EARLY start to head south…I pack the gear and merch and we’re on the road soon after 9am.

It’s over 300 miles to Horsley Woodhouse in Derbyshire where I’m playing a special event organised by Newtone Strings who make and provide my guitar strings…in particular, the ‘’Dave Arcari signature’ set.

There’s music ’market’ all day and a bunch of folks playing in the afternoon including ace baseman (and guitar player) Fred Thelonious Baker and then in the evening there’s two acts – Becky Langan and myself.

We stop for some grub en route, then at our hotel were we check in before arriving at The Old Oak about ten miles away. The afternoon’s in full swing and we”re in time to catch a stunning set from Fred then enjoy a blether and a beer.

Fun and games playing Newtone Strings’ event

The room is re-set for the evening performances and we load in and soundcheck before going for some dinner.

Becky kicks things off at 8pm and plays a very accomplished 45-minutes’-worth of instrumental percussive acoustic guitar stuff.

At 9pm, it’s my turn and I have a blast – a great audience and lotsa fun.

There’s more beer and chat aerwards then we load out and make our way back to the hotel where we have a snack and a wee nightcap…and look forward to an extra hour’s sleep. The clocks go back tonight!

Becky Langan kicks off the evening set at Newtone Strings’ event in Horsley Woodhouse.

Saturday 21 October 2017

Buena Vista Sofa Club…three in a row for Estonia…amazing shows…thank you!

NOT too much panic this morning…I get some emails and admin done as well as the last minute promo for tonight’s show in Rakvere out the way before we pack our bags.

We take everything downstairs when we go for a late (10.30am) breakfast then check out and grab a taxi to take us to the bus station.

I nip onto a shopping centre to get some insoles for the boots I wear while playing…my feet have been killing me the last few days and they might help cushion the impact while I’m stomping!

I’m back just in time to load the gear onto the coach and we’re off…two-and-a-quarter hours to Rakvere and the coach is less fancy and more cramped than yesterday’s luxury coach. Doesn’t stop me sleeping most of the way though!

Club owner and promoter Eduard and his soundman Ants meet us and we go straight to Buena Vista Sofa Club. Its another great venue with a first class sound system. We have a coffee, set up and soundcheck…then Eduard takes us on a quick tour of the town and on to our hotel. It’s 4pm…we’re being fed in half an hour and a car will pick us up at 8.30pm.

We settle in then go downstairs to the restaurant where we have a couple of monster-sized beers and a nice meal. We’re just finished when Eduard appears. There seems to be some problem to do with accommodation…we;re not sure what, exactly, but its something to do with some Russians wanting to stay somewhere else…so he’s wondering if he can move us.

That’s OK by us, so we get our bags and are driven to accommodation at the theatre which is as good – if not better – than the original place.

I had an urgent message for help form a musician whose two websites I built and maintain….she’d in New Zealand on tour and thinks she’s had her email hacked. I advise her its more likely that her address has been used as a reply address by spammers – a fairly common thing these days…a bit of a pain, hut it usually passes and doesn’t pose any security/privacy threat. But she’s binned her email and started  a new one which has implications for both her websites’ contact details/contact forms etc. I reconfigure everything and let her know some other things that may be affected by the email change….

There’s time to chill for a while before driver arrives to take us to the club. Doors open at 9pm.

We’ve just had a big meal..and there’s more food and drink backstage!

Backstage there’s enough food for an army…especially considering we’ve not long had a meal. Beer aplenty, some weird-ass Estonian liquor from soundman Ants…

I hit the stage at 10pm sharp for the first of two 45-minute sets…there’s some folks we know in the crowd and the place goes crazy. I manage to speak to as many folks as possible at the break then hit the stage again. We have a fantastic night and a lot of fun. This has been the best Estonia trip ever…even if it’s  2am and we have to be up at 6am for a bus to Tallinn, then on to Latvia. Hell yeah \../

 

 

Friday 20 October 2017

Awesome time in Tartu…and great crowd at PΓΌhaste Brewery πŸ˜‰

A GOOD night’s sleep in a comfy bed helps restore things…physically, anyway!

We need some milk so I take a walk to the supermarket and find some croissants, fruit and milk and get back to our funky old town apartment for breakfast.

Our pal Merli drops by to say hello as we pack our gear then Madis comes to pick us up and drive us too the bus station where we board the bus to Tallinn – a big coach with comfy sets, good wifi and personal entertainment screens on every seat back. Very swanky.

I deal with some online stuff and emails and sleep the rest of two-and-a-half hour bus ride to Tartu where Andres and Siim are waiting to meet us.

Siim drives us to the Hektor ‘hostel’ where we seem to have an entire suite booked for us by the good folks at PΓΌhaste Brewery where I play tonight.

We have some grub in the cafe and rest up for a while before Andres and Raul collect us to go to the brewery which is right on the edge of town.

Ivo has a nie PA rig already set up in what is otherwise a huge, empty room…Jeez…hope we mange to get enough folks in here!

I just finish my soundcheck and the power goes down. Something’s tripped a fuse, but the folks here have no access to the part of the building where the main board is. A few phone calls, a little stress and an hour later, power’s back on…just in time for doors. Andres, Raul and the Sawmill Roots Orchestra manage a quick soundcheck then we’re all good to go.

The place fills up and by the time the Sawmill Roots Orchestra kicks off the place is pretty full πŸ™‚ The band is great…Andres and Raul playing fantastic instrumentals supplemented with trumpet and clarinet to create a really unique, original and sophisticated sound.

There’s a break for changeover and I finish the evening with swell-received 80-minute set. Like last night, the crowd is great and there’s lots of photos and chat round the merch table after the show.

We load out and Siim drives us back to our place where we have a snack, beer and bed. Another brilliant night πŸ™‚

Andres and his latest project – the Sawmill Roots Orchestra. Fantastic!

Friday 13 October 2017

Tobias Hug leads what turns out to be a fantastic vocal looping workshop from the MU at the Scottish Music Centre

MARGARET goes to meet our American pals for a coffee before they leave the village…I’d like to go too, but have far too much to get done before I have to go into Glasgow at midday.

Turns out my old graphics tablet won’t work with my current laptop, so I bite the bullet and order a new one. Things have moved on in the 15 years since the old one was commissioned, so it’s probably all for the better.

A look at Tobias’ favoured loop station…the Boss RC-505

After making up a  shopping list and grabbing a bag full of coins – pennies, two-pence and five pence from the containers in the bedroom I drive into Glasgow. A yellow light appears on the dash which indicates a problem with the catalytic converter. Shite! No time to get it to the garage today and I’m driving to Forfar and Kirriemuir on Monday…so Tuesday will be the first opportunity to have it looked at.

I need to be at the Scottish Music Centre at 2pm for a Musicians’ Union (MU) vocal looping workshop …I;d hoped to get all the shopping done before, but roadworks and slo-mos have made the trip into town a lot slower than usual…I decide to leave Costco ’til later and meanitme stop in Tesco to chuck the bag of coins through their ‘coinstar’ machine and grab a sandwich which I eat on the way to the Scottish Music Centre.

I arrive just before 2pm and there’s a nice wee group in for the workshop..most of them folks I know. The workshop is led by a cappella singer and looping expert Tobias Hug – and while looping (vocal or otherwise) is not something I would likely include in my live show, I can see how it might be a great compositional tool and a cool way to work on ideas and get out a rut. it’s informative, interactive and fun. Everyone had a great afternoon…the MU in Scotland is arranging a load of great events like this which also provide great networking opportunities and worth the membership fee in their own right πŸ™‚

I have a meeting right after the workshop then pick up some stuff form Costco before heading home.

This is first night of ‘chill’ since we got back from the France tour…and we’re off south next week then straight on to Estonia and Latvia, so we make the most of it and relax with a bottle (or two) of red in front of the box….

Sunday 8 October 2017

Awesome time playing at FestivalBAR πŸ™‚

NOT much time to spare this morning as we need to load in at the festival site around 11am.

The weather’s not so good today, but I don’t think it’ll cause any problems. There’s plenty of folks on hand to help with the load in and soon I’m sound checked and ready for my 1pm show.

Preparation of the big festival lunch – a special gumbo – is being overseen by yesterday’s headliner  Larry Garner who’s brought his own recipe from his home in Louisiana.

There’s so many folks we know here for my show – plus many festival organisers, promoters, magazine folks and a heap of photographers from all over France. There’s great enthusiasm, interest and encouragement and I have a great time playing.

Margaret is swamped at the merch table and it’s a good thing we brought extra merch. Once things have calmed down I pack my gear then go to do an interview with one of the French blues magazines whose journalists ply me with whisky.

Official business over, we go backstage and have a huge plate of gumbo…I’m gonna have to pester Larry for the secret!

Sugaray closes the festival with an awesome afternoon set…with a highlight being an acoustic section and some accapella numbers.

We hang out backstage with Larry, Sugaray and his band while some work is done breaking down the village outside, then at 8pm work stops and we all eat and drink for the next few hours. It’s been an awesome few days…and a great trip.

The hospitality and kindness form  our hosts has been exceptional.

Long trip home tomorrow…

The FestivalBAR team at the close of a great weekend..

..and Sugaray closes the festival stage in style.

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 FranΓ§oise – 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Wednesday 4 October 2017

We have a fantastic night at Conservatoire Tyndo in Thouars.

IT’S LATE when we wake up at the old mill and go downstairs for coffee, pain au chocolate and get a little work done.

Once the routine stuff and some last minute promo’s out the way we drive into town and have lunch at Les Temps des Crises with the festival team and some of the volunteers who are building the festival ‘village’ around the town hall.

We take a walk to see how things are going  β€“ all very exciting..the festival kicks off on Friday and tomorrow (Thursday) night, I play a special private show for the festival team, volunteers, musicians and VIP visitors from other festivals, venues and French music industry. Gonna be some kick-off party!

Then it’s back to Les Temps des Crises to pack all the gear in Dominique’s van for tonight’s show at Conservatoire Tyndo in  Thouars. It’s a 45-minute drive (at Dominique speed!) and soon we roll up in Thouars which is a beautiful town. The Conservatoire has recently undergone an €8 million restoration and has a state of the art concert hall and sound/lighting systems.

Cyril – of French band Vicious Steel – who has organised the gig meets us and we load in. Technician JΓ©rΓ΄me is waiting and soundchecks are done and dusted in not time. The concert hall is spectacular and has a great sound…it’s also pretty big!

Cyril takes us all – Dominique, Marie-Claude, JΓ©rΓ΄me, Margaret and myself – to a nearby restaurant for a lovely meal, then we’re back just in time for doors opening.

The place fills up quickly and by the time Cyril kicks of his set there’s a great crowd in. This is gonna be a hard act to follow.

I needn’t have worried tho’..the crowd is fantastic and right behind my hour-long set and a nice encore. Quite a spectacular evening…fantastic, hall, sound, light, people – and amazing promo by Cyril πŸ™‚

We’re back just after midnight and say goodnight to Dominique and Marie-Claude before heading back to the old mill for a nightcap.

Cyril Maguy opens the show

With Cyril, Dominique and Marie-Claude after the show

Lots of advertising around town for my FestivalBAR show on Sunday πŸ™‚

SaveSave

Friday 29 September 2017

Point B@r, Bain de Bretagne πŸ™‚

BREAKFAST at the old mill, then we go to Avoine and pack the van for tonight’s show in Bain de Bretagne.

We relax for a while then Dominique and Marie-Claude drive us all the way to Bain de Bretagne and tonight’s venue, Point B@r which has a great music room at the back.

Soundman Luc is ready and waiting. Load in and soundcheck is a breeze and we relax over a few beers as showtme isn’t ’til 10pm.

We’re taken for a meal before the show then at 10pm I hit the stage. There’s a fantastic crowd and the place is jam-packed and rockin’ πŸ™‚

Afterwards there’s lots of people to talk to and we hang out drinking for another hour or two. I think it;s after 3am when we head to our hosts Armelle and Luc’s for the night.

Sharing the Glengoyne love after the show with Luc, Dominique and Marie-Claude after the Bain de Bretagne show.

Sunday 24 September 2017

My two forty-five minute sets go by in a frenzy – and a full house at the Hope Tavern πŸ™‚

ONLY about 80 miles to go today and we have a courtesy late checkout at the hotel near Weatherby.

We have a lazy morning and catch up on some work then hit the road. 

First stop is Halford in Selby to pick up a mains adaptor for our powered coolbox. The 12v car cable is working fine but the adaptor that lets us plug into 240v mains in hotel rooms and stuff seems to have given up the ghost.

We roll up at the Hope Tavern in Holton le Moor at two o;clock and are immediately greeted and sat down for a huge carvery lunch. My showtime is 4pm and if I’m not careful I’ll be playing sitting down!

After lunch the place is closed and the room prepared for the show – backdrops, PA, lighting…the whole shebang. 

The place is full when I take to the stage and  play my two 45-miniute sets. It’s a nice relaxed vibe and plenty of time to chat to folks round the merch table and enjoy a few drinks.

The promoter has booked us a hotel in nearby Market Rasen so we make our way there, check in then go out and find somewhere to eat. The only place we find open is an Indian restaurant…I love Indian food but have to be careful as there certain spices/blends that put me in the hospital. I choose carefully and we enjoy a lovely meal with no ill effects πŸ™‚

I share a dram with venue owner Graeme after the show

Thursday 22 September 2017

Live session and chat with Ross Macfadyen on Celtic Music Radio…

A BUSY day today…lots to get ready for the next couple weeks’-worth of shows and we leave tomorrow morning.

Once the daily emails and other routine stuff’s out the way I pack a couple or guitars for tonight’s live session and interview on Celtic Music Radio 95fm – but first we’re off to Edinburgh to take part in an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) course that Lesley‘s (my sister-in-law)  running with her pal and NLP guru Sue Knight.

The course has been running all week and there’s still a couple of days to go. Lesley’s invited us along for lunch – prepared by Sue’s extremely talented partner, cook Dan – and also to be part of the afternoon’s training session. She’s also asked if I’d play a coupla songs for the course participants.

The course is being held at Lesley’s pal Vicki’s house on the edge of Edinburgh. A spectacular setting and great learning environment. There’s a dozen folks on the course and we meet them all over a fantastic lunch then spend a couple of hours taking part in the afternoon sessions. What a nice bunch of folks…and an insightful afternoon.

Once we’re done we head to Glasgow, grab a snack then make our way to the Celtic Music Radio studios where I spend more than an hour chatting and playing some live tines on Ross Macfadyen’s Thank Folk it;s Friday show. Great fun and great to catch up with Ross. There’;s a wee Facebook live clip on my Facebook page.

It’s after 11pm when we get home…a dram and a wee bedtime snack follows…then zzzzzz’s. Busy couple weeks coming up.

Great afternoon with Lesley (front right), Sue (middle back) and lunch by Dan (back right) and meeting their NLP students at Vicki’s (front middle)

Saturday 9 September 2017

Fun at the Tooth & Claw, Inverness

WE’RE packed and on the road by midday…some stuff to drop off at Catriona and Will’s then up to Inverness.

After checking in at our B&B we drop some vinyl copies of the new album off at Union Vinyl β€“ the owner’s enthusiastic and apologies he can;t come to the gig tonight – the first he heard of it was when he saw my Facebook ad this morning πŸ™

We carry on to load in at The Tooth & Claw.

The upstairs venue is still in a bit of turmoil but manager/soundman James is on the case and soon I’m set up and soundchecked. It’s a pretty good room – good vibe and decent sound. 

We nip out to find some grub and notice that none of the music shops or other places with posters nearby have any posters for my show. Disappointing as we had a big bunch of posters printed and sent to the venue….there’s one up in the venue window, but other than that, nada.

The big ‘what’s on blackboard outside has a blank on tonight’s date. We query the blank and it appears “the guy that does that has been off sick”. I blu-tak some flyers on the board.

Sadly, it’s the same story we’ve found with most venues we hire for self-promo shows….they promote their own bookings but when a third party is taking the risk event details/visibility is minimal. Bizarre as you’d expect these places would want a busy night and maximise their bar sales. Moral of the story, I guess, is that we need someone ‘on the ground’ in place we’re doing self-promo shows…

Shame really, because we love the place, the people and the sound.

Regardless of  lack of promo support there’s a nice wee crowd in and I have a blast – two 45-minute sets – then time to catch up with folks and, after hours, share a little of the Glengoyne love.

It’s midnight when we retrieve the car from a nearby multi-storey, load out, grab a pizza and head back to the B&B.

After hours I share a dram of Glengoyne’s special ‘Dave Arcari’ single malt with soundman James, Joan and Bugsy πŸ™‚

Saturday 2 September 2017

Snacks, drinks and chatter when we get home after the show

WE have a lazy morning – I drive to the village to post of some merch orders –then we take Lucy a walk up the lochside.

On the way back we stop in at Betty and Joe’s for a coffee before wandering home, packing the car and making our way to Edinburgh for a 4pm load-in at Sneaky Petes.

Soundman Ross takes us both through soundchecks and there’s time to grab some grub from a place along the road…Lucy enjoys her veggie haggis wrap. Margaret and I have pulled beef tacos. All good πŸ™‚

Doors open at 7pm and it;s nice to see some familiar faces…Lucy’s godmother and her partner gave driven up form Lancashire to surprise her and we have a nice wee crowd in. Lucy plays another spectacular set and we resolve to do a show together at our local village hall next time she comes to Scotland.

The winner of my Facebook giveaway for guesties, special edition Dave Arcari whisky from Glengoyne and vinyl test pressings is in for the show and picks up her winnings after the show.

There’s time to chat with folks at the merch table after the show then we load out and are home just after midnight.

Snacks, drinks and chat follow and before we know it it’s after 4am. Another grand night πŸ˜‰

Lucy plays another killer set…

…then I hit the stage

With Laura Dewar – winner of my tickets/whisky/test pressing giveaway on Facebook – after the show.

 

Saturday 26 August 2017

Great to see Trev and Emma at Hardtail Blues Festival πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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

Friday 18 August 2017

A capacity crowd at the The Cluny means Margaret can’t get to the front to take pix πŸ™‚

AFTER packing up some more pre-orders to drop at the post office I get the gear read for tonight’s show in Newcastle.

We leave just after midday and take turns driving. It;s not so far, but the traffic as we hit Newcastle is terrible.

The Cluny has booked us into a nice hotel at Gateshead quays and we’ve time to stop by there, check in and dump some bags before heading to the venue.

Rev and Breezy Peyton – and their drummer Max – have already soundchecked and engineer Dave is ready for me to load in and set up.

Soundcheck’s straightforward and it;s nice to catch up with everyone….Rev and Breezy have helped us a lot with shows in their hometown of Brown County, Indiana.

We’re taken through for dinner – which is great – then go back through to the venue before doors. The gig is almost sold out in advance and it looks like walk-ups will mean a capacity crowd.

I do a wee Facebook livestream from backstage and by the time I hit the stage the place is full. 

I have a blast and the audience is fantastic. Then I get to relax and enjoy Rev Peyton;s Big Damn Band, we chat with folks at the merch table and hang out for a while after the show then it;s back to the hotel.

Rev Peyton’s Big Damn Band play a blinder.

Saturday 12 August 2017

Amazing time at Old Cars, Rocking People Festival in Belgium πŸ™‚

OOPS…we’ve slept in for breakfast by 1/2-hour!

No problem, tho’…we’re welcomed by an incredible spread of food and we have a lovely breakfast πŸ™‚

The festival doesn’t  open ’til 1pm, so there’s a few ours to get some work done. I create a new landing page for the website and some new Facebook banners for upcoming gigs. It;s kinda cool to be able to have video banners on Facebook pages now…but they only seem to work on desktop πŸ™

We get to the festival site around 2pm and are given food, vouchers, drinks tokens and more than enough hospitality to get us through the day, let alone the next few hours.

The weather’s kinda patchy ad the first live music is from Belgian rockabillys the Swampboys. They play he outdoor stage and we’re given the choice of playing in the  big tent or outside….we reckon inside is the best bet and it’s a good choice!

The sound guys are great and the sound, by all accounts, is awesome! I have an absolute blast then spend some time at merch before going backstage to clear up.

We have more food, beer and then head outside to watch USA band the Screamin’ Rebel Angels…thankfully the rain’s off for their outdoor stage set. 

Backstage, we take care of business then say cheerio and head back to the hotel. Knackered. Magic day out πŸ™‚

Swampboys kick off the live music at Old Cars, Rocking People Festival

 

 

 

Screamin’ Rebel Angels

Friday 11 August 2017

Waiting for the movie to start…

A RELATIVELY early start and we leave Ponnie’s and Eastbourne to make our way to Ashford.

We get there with plenty of time to spare and go for some lunch…but as we get to the international rail terminal I get the booking papers out and Margaret realises we should be at Folkestone for the Eurotunnel. No idea why she thought we were leaving from Ashford!

She gets a little flustered but here’s plenty time and it’s only another 10/15 miles, so no need to panic

We get t Folkestone and through security and passport controls in good time and soon we’re driving through France on our way into Belgium.

The festival folks have booked us into a hotel about four miles from the festival site but we don’t have a name or address so we make our way to the site and find the booker, An, who makes us most welcome and gives us all our passes and info…as well as the hotel info.

Joe Dirt on the big screen.

The festival starts this evening, but no live music. Instead, a drive-in movie, so we drop our stuff at the hotel where we’re welcomes with a Belgian beer and then make our way back to the festival site.

Margaret’s done all the driving so far, so I go easy on the beer and am happy to drive back after the movie. There’s loads of cars arriving for the drive-in…many of them very cool old American cars.

We have burgers, popcorn and watch the movie – Joe Dirt. I think the film’s pretty crap, but Margaret enjoys it and these kind of events are more about the whole vibe and sense of occasion. The film is secondary!

Back at the hotel we have a glass (or two) of wine and snack before bed….then zzzzzzzzz….

At the drive-in…burgers and wine before the movie

We leave Ponnie’s lovely seafront flat in Eastbourne and head for Belgium

Thursday 10 August 2017

Komedia is a fantastic venue…great crew and staff too. We have a brilliant night πŸ™‚

WE wake up to sunshine at Ponnie’s in Eastbourne and after a long breakfast we go for a walk along the seafront. Like being on holiday!

Still, there’s quite a lot of online stuff and bits and bobs of work to tend to when we get back.

Mid-afternoon we leave for Brighton – a lovely 20-odd mile drive along the coast road – and load in at Komedia. Engineer Pete is on hand to help out and Jamie – who did my sound last time gives us a hand too. This really is a brilliant venue.

I’m just finished soundchecking when Nico and James  β€“ the Bitter Pills – who’re opening for me arrive.

We have some grub and I get myself sorted out int he dressing room and do a quick, impromptu Facebook livestream before heading back to watch the Bitter Pills who play a great set.

There’s a good crowd in, some of whom have been to my shows before…and lots of new faces too. 

We have a fantastic night and are back at Ponnie’s soon after midnight for a dram and a snack before bed.

The Bitter Pills play a powerful opening set.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Great to see Margaret’s cousin Steven and his pal John-Jo πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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

Sunday 30 July 2017

MugStock! And luckily it stayed dry for my set πŸ™‚

UP early! Gotta get everything sorted and hit MugStock Festival by midday.

My stage time on the main stage isn’t ’til 4.25pm, but we have to get parked up, loaded in and all sorted out.

Old pal Paul Henry greets us when we check in at artist liaison and takes us over to meet stage manager Dave Boardman,…another pal we know from his days booking acts (including yours truly) at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge. The world is shrinking very quickly!

An impromptu performance for Oxjam at their pop-up stage!

We hang out and watch some of the early afternoon music and are about to go for something to eat when a lassie comes and asks “are you Dave Arcari?”. Yup! Apparently I’m expected on the Oxjam stage for a few number like, now! I had said I;d be up for playing a few songs for them but no-one ever got back confirming anything, let alone day or time. No worries – we rescue a guitar from backstage and race to the wee pop-up Oxjam stage, plug in and rattle out three or four songs for them. Impromptu, but fun.

Oddly, most of the bands have been selling merch from the front of the stage, but that’s not much good in the rain and I hae to clear my gear of the stage pretty quick for the next act to get set up…plus, we’ve to hand over a prize bottle of Glengoyne, Dave Arcari t-shirt and CD to the Glengoyne prizewinner…and have a dram with her. Arrangements had been made during the week that we could do it in the beer tent opposite the stage, but when we took stuff in there earlier, the girl running the bar was pretty short (actually, bluddy rude) with us and basically said no, we couldn’t!

Luckily the MugStock folks came in and got everything sorted out.

So…back in the main arena after the Oxjam thing, Margaret gets  a table set up for the merch and I go backstage to get ready for my set. The weather on Saturday was awful, but has been OK today…and luckily it’s dry throughout my set. The stage crew and engineers are brilliant and I have blast…and it’s lovely that the crowd came forward and endured the mud at the front of the stage πŸ™‚ 

I quickly clear the stage and rush up to the beer tent and the merch table to meet the Glengoyne competition winner and hand over her prizes. Margaret takes some pixs and we have a few drams πŸ™‚

My cousin John and his wife Pam are there and press a beer into my hand. Lovely to see them and other folks drop past to check out merch and say hello.

I have to go and shift my stuff from the backstage storage area to free up some space for acts coming in later, so we say cheerio to everyone and get everything to the car. We’ve had a great time, but we’re pretty knackered so nip back to the mail arena, exchange our meal vouchers for some grub then hit the road.

We’re home, unpacked and chilling with a drink by 8pm. Phew. What a day πŸ™‚

Glengoyne compo winner Deirdre picks up her winnings at the merch table

Friday 28 July 2017

Glasgow Calling – Strummerville Foundation fundraiser at McChuill’s….

UP early  β€“ Margaret’s going to a funeral in Dundee and I’ve got a big list of stuff to get through before we go to Glasgow for tonight’s fundraising show for the Strummerville Foundation.

My main task to to get things set up so we can, hopefully, open up preorders for the new album net Friday (4 August). There’s a lot to be done and I manage to get a fair bit done by the time Margaret is back from Dundee and we have lunch.

I pack the car and we head for Jonzip and Maggi’s where we’re staying tonight. We sit outside for a while and then have some grub before loading in at McChuill’s in town. 

THere’s four bands, two DJs and a fair bit of setup before doors open at 7pm.

A band called Shane kick things off and are followed by Sweet Vendettas with the DJs covering the changeovers. I’m up next then The Zips close the night. I’m a bit concerned that my lack of Joe Stummer/Clash songs might not be the best way to win folks over, but the crowd is brilliant and I have a blast. Amongst the throng is a guy from my year at school who I hadn’t;t seen in over 35 years…we make lots of new pals πŸ™‚

Back at Jonzip and Maggi’s we have more grub…it’s nearly 5am when we call it a night!

The Zips play a blinder and close the night

Sweet Vendettas are second band on…and a hard act to follow

Friday 21 July 2017

Grand to catch up – and share the bill with – Bob Wayne again

IN the studio I run through some of the songs I’ll be playing at tonight’s show then start packing the gear.

Last time I played Bathgate we had difficulty finding somewhere to eat and ended up spending a fortune on shite sandwiches out the petrol station so I suggest we roast some veg and prepare some quinoa to make up salads with grilled halloumi. Cheaper and, I’m pretty sure, healthier πŸ˜‰

We get the veg and quinoa going so they have a change to cool down before we make the salads.

I spend a few hours editing the ‘making of’ video for the new album. It’s become a bit more labour intensive than I intended but hey-ho. Also there’s some cutaways and stuff needing filmed…and some graphics created. 

The car’s packed mid-afternoon and we hit the road to Bathgate. Opening band Brothers Outlaw are already there and setting up – Bob Wayne and his band are stuck on the motorway and gonna be late so we all soundcheck and Bob’ll do a quick line check after my set.

Ahhhhh….whisky. Cheers Sandy!

Doors open at 7pm and when Brothers Outlaw take the stage to open the show there’s a good crowd in. It’s their debut show and they play a mighty fine set. We like these guys πŸ™‚

I manage to break a string just before starting my second song and hope the string change doesn’t cause too much of a hiatus…fair takes the wind oot ma sails tho’! Regardless, the crowd is enthusiastic and I have a blast.

Bob Wayne & the Outlaw Carnies play a stormer and then we hang out at the merch table chatting with folks before loading out soon after midnight.

A stop at McDonalds keeps hunger at bay and we’re home by 1.30am.

I survive a broken string at the statr of my set…

Brothers Outlaw open the show and play an impressive debut

Friday 14 July 2017

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

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 πŸ™‚

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…

 

Friday 30 June 2017

First of two Almost Blue Festival shows – Church, Dundee

ANOTHER early start to get Ted and Laurie into Glasgow for their train to London – glad we didn’t drink too much last night!

Once I’ve dropped our guests off I pick up a bunch of new-design t-shirts – and a couple of experimental hoodies – from Kenny at T-Shirt Cat in Dennistoun. Good to have them in time for tonight and tomorrow’s Almost Blue festival shows in Dundee.

When I get home there’s time to get a little work done, including putting the new shirts on sale on the online store then I pack the gear and we make for Dundee, pick up house keys from Alison who we’re staying with, then load in at the venue.

Engineer Lee greets us at Church and soundcheck’s done in a jiffy so there’s plenty time to go and get some grub in a nearby pub. After the excess of the last week – and the likely over-indulgence later tonight and tomorrow – we go for the healthy options. Chicken caesar salad for Margaret and I opt for a quinoa salad with grilled halloumi. And a bottle of water.

Back at the venue, The Good Doctor kick things off. They’re followed by VFLambda who play a brilliant set – haven’t heard them before, but we really like them.

Then yours truly takes the stage for a 90-minute, whisky-fuelled set. After chatting with folks round the merch table we load out and go back to Alison’s for pizza and red wine then crash.

VFLambda play an awesome set

Wednesday 21 June 2017


Click above to watch Whisky in my Blood at Glengoyne distillery πŸ™‚

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 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.

SaveSave

Tuesday 6 June 2017

I GET cracking on the holiday lodge website – and start uploading a video ‘walk through. 

We reckoned it might be a good idea to put out a download-only single in advance of the album launch – so Givers & Takers will be released on Friday 14 July.

Givers & Takers single coming soon!

So while the website video is uploading (slow progress!) I hit the studio and do some artwork to accompany Givers & Takers. Not my usual style, but I want it to stand out in the digital field and not be confused with the live album or the already-released EP.

Back in the office, the video walkthrough has hardly started the upload, so I abandon that until I can get a better connection and set up the release and distribution for Givers & Takers.

Then I get busy with the other parts of the website that I can do without a fast connection. 

By dinner time I’ve got things pretty much as I want them – a few details to be confirmed and info to be checked – and just a placeholder where the video will be – so I call my client and let them know the holding page will be down for the next few hours to let them have a proper look at progress. They agree to let me know any changes either later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Saturday 3 June 2017

Filming an acosutic session for the festival…

IT’S roasting in the tent when we wake up…a good thing, in a way, as it means it’s nice weather!

We make breakfast outside then catch up on some emails and other bits and bobs of work – looks like there’s some shows sorted for Latvia and Estonia in October πŸ™‚

We’re not long tidied up when the festival programmer comes for a chat, then Chris from Bopflix films stops by. He filmed my Blues Kitchen sessions in London a while back.

Chris is filming for the festival and as well as catching on-stage performances, he’d keen to film some acoustic sessions around the festival site. We find a spot and record an acoustic version of See Me Laughing.

We hang out and catch more music then take a wander up to the Howling Woods DJ spot where our pal Joe Cushley is spinning some tunes.

On the way back to the net we redeem our food tokens and pick up some really good burritos then rest up for a while.

At 7pm a buggy comes to pick us and the gear up and takes us to the stage where we unload backstage and hang out ’til my 8.40pm stage time. Engineer Chris and stage manager Perry do a great job…the crowd is awesome and I have a blast. It;s nice catching up with folks at the merch table…some of whom have seen me before.

Our pal Ian is on after me β€“ just as he starts the buggy comes to take us and the gear back to the artists’ campsite and once everything’s put away we rush back and catch the last few songs of Ian’s set. He’s the final act on the Red Rooster stage. We hang out and chat for a while then make our way to see the final act on the other stage….

Breakfast time

On stage at the Red Rooster festival…

…then Ian Siegal closes the stage

Sunday 28 May 2017

DESPITE the late night and amount of bevvy we’re up and about ay a semi-reasonable time.


Watch the Livestream on replay above
– or visit my Facebook page.

Alastair and Karen get breakfast on the go and after we eat we spend the rest of the morning gabbing and drinking coffee.
I start to flag a bit on the way home and call my pal Martyn –Margaret suggested we drop in to see them on the way past. They’re around, so we stop for a coffee…but Martyn hands me a beer instead. Does the trick πŸ™‚

We carry on our way home, having invited Martyn and Louise for an impromptu dinner later…I;m keen to let them try our favourite black pepper tofu.

It’s a nice afternoon and we decide to put the tent up in the back garden to check all the bits are there and it’s not got mould or mushrooms growing. We’re gonna camp at the Red Rooster Festival next weekend and the tent’s been in the attic since I played Glastonbury about five years ago!

The tent seems in fine order.

Next, we get things ready for my 5pm livestream on Facebook. Instruments out and tunes – I plan on asking folks which guitar/instrument they want me to play – tripod set up etc…five minutes before ‘go live’ the 4G signal drops to 3G. Bluddy hell, why does this happen every time we try a livestream! We get going, but after a minute or so the signal drops again.

I wonder if we need to move the phone and try again – just a few metres to the left seems to improve the stability fo the signal and we get through it without any more mishaps. Watch the livestream on replay via the embedded video above or see it on my Facebook page.

After tidying up I get some prep done for dinner then our pals arrive. It;s nice having a fairly impromptu, off-the-cuff night and as it;s a Sunday we don;t kick the arse out of it too much!

 

Wednesday 24 May 2017

A good night at the SAY Awards longlist announcement

WE BOTH hit Glasgow early.

I make my usual stop at McDonalds for coffee and wifi and get a bunch of stuff done, including getting the four track Live EP up on Bandcamp.

We’re also delighted that our pal, London-based singer/songwriter Lucy Zirins will be my special guest opening the Glasgow show at Broadcast on Friday 1 September and Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, on Saturday 2 September.

I get Facebook events set up for the two shows and get the ball rolling on spreading the word.

I have mail to pick up in the centre of town so park up at the People’s Palace and enjoy a walk through Glasgow Green. I check out a few things int he city centre, pick the mail, deal with some other and pick up a wrap and walk back. Just as I get tot he car a huge bird shite lands on my left leg, Uuuurgh, Luckily the People’s Palace toilets have hot water!

I eat my wrap then go to pick up Margaret via Tiso’s where I get some advice on walking footwear. My walking boots have soles in both soles and are pretty worn – they were a bargain a year or so ago at about Β£60 but even so, I’m surprised the soles have worn so fast. The assistant in Tiso’s confirms my thoughts that the wear is down to the amount of walking on tarmac and we come to the conclusion that a shoe with a sole more suited to tarmac, trails and paths might be a better choice. I can always get a new pair of boots later on for the more serious hill walking.

Downside is, as usual, we’re skint! I get Margaret and she’s adamant we should go back to Tiso;s and get the shoes, so that’s what we do. Then we pick up some shopping and make our way to the O2 ABC for the Scottish Album of the Year longlist announcement. IT;s a good event and there’s a load of folks we know. Nice to catch up. The live music from Steve Mason, Admiral Fallow and Mungo’s Hi-Fi is disappointing. We like all three and were looking forward to seeing them, but the performances are lacklustre and lacking in any dynamic…we hang around for the longlist announcement and listen to a bit of Mungo’s Hi-Fi’s DJ set then head for home.

Saturday 22 April 2017

Wide Days’ keynote – Olaf interviews Music For Nations chief Julie Weir after lunch at the Usher Hall

FEELING rough again this morning…I blame the late night chips. My belly’s not used to the carbs these days!

We get the bus into the centre of Edinburgh and meet up with some of the other Wide Days speakers and folks. Olaf’s taking us all on a bus tour. It’s a good networking morning and another chance to catch up with folks.

The bus tour includes a stop for a walk up Calton Hill which blows away most of the cobwebs then we roll up at the Usher Hall for coffee, drinks and lunch on the stage, Once we’ve all eaten and chatted, Olaf interviews Music For Nations head Julie Weir who we met yesterday..then there’s a tour of the Usher Hall and a whisky tasting. A great way to round of the event.

We get the bus back to Lesley’s, pick up the car and head for home.

Matty – who’s staying the night – arrives at the same time.

The vinyl test pressings for my forthcoming double live album have arrived. No time tonight to check ’em, but we’ll put aside a couple of hours aside tomorrow to ensure that all’s good before the main manufacturing run. Exciting.

Test pressings for the forthcoming double vinyl live album…

Friday 21 April 2017

Margaret’s panel at Born to Be Wide goes great πŸ™‚

UH-OH…hangover central when we get up just before 7am. A shower helps then I run p to Waitrose to get milk for coffee and some rolls.

Doesn’t open ’til 8am tho’. I’d spotted an M&S food store when we came into Edinburgh last night…it’s shut too but a wee grocery store has some milk.

We run for the bus into town and bump into my pal Jonny, then the carb-free day goes for a burton with a sausage and egg baguette from Greggs on the way to Teviot House for Born to Be Wide…Scotland’s music industry conference. We have full passes and Margaret’s speaking on an international touring panel this afternoon.

There’s loads of folks we know here and it;s nice to catch up. A day of interesting panels and networking is followed by showcases at Teviot House, La Belle Angelle and the Liquid Rooms. Pix of all the acts and stuff are on my Facebook and Twitter pages. Our favourite act of the night is Declan Welsh.

A taxi home,  chips and a glass of red…then bed πŸ™‚

Thursday 23 March 2017

Edwyn Collins brings some magic to the BBC Quay Sessions

WE drive into Glasgow early, drop Margaret off, then I take Mikey to the bus station before making my way to Braehead.

I’ve only just got a coffee and the laptop open when an alarm goes off and the place is evacuated due to ‘an incident’. I sit in the car and get some work done, then go back inside and do some work on trying to sell the guitars/amo to finance the live album pressing.

Next job is trying to suss out how to work OBS – the live streaming software I hope to employ on my next Facebook Livestream. It’s not the simplest configuration, but I eventually get some tests done that suggest I’ve nailed it, We’ll see.

I pick up a bean wrap in M&S for lunch then have a walk before picking up Margaret and stopping off at Ikea to kill some time before we go to the BBC for tonight’s Quay Sessions.

We bump into a few folks we know and catch up with my cousin Sharon who’s in charge of proceedings. It;s a special Quay Sessions – not only because Edwyn Collins is playing, but also because the event kicks of the BBC’s 6Music Festival which is happening in Glasgow over the next few days.

Modern Studies kick things off, followed by Anchorsong and then headliner Edwyn Collins to complete a great night of music.

My cousin Sharon welcomes the audience to the BBC Radio Scotland/6 Music Festival Quay Sessions.

Modern Studies kick off the evening

Anchorsong – accompanied by a string quartet for his Quay Sessions set

Sunday 12 March 2017

AFTER breakfast I work on a web development and photography proposal out of a meeting last week.

Once done, I’m back onto the tracks from the live album. Getting the various playlists from iTunes onto my new phone is a bit of a carry on until I work out that, if you use Apple Music, it’s necessary to switch off iCloud music on the phone/device. Then you can manually choose playlists to sync – once done, back into the phone/device settings to re-enable iCloud music. What a fanny dance! And the process ain’t documented anywhere,

In the studio I do a quick video edit of one of the songs that hasn’t made the cut for the album, Stagolee. Nothing wrong with it – we just have to be ruthless with the track selection. The video footage from Urbancroft is looking good and the resulting video is pretty sweet….uploaded, but not shared for the moment. You’ll have to wait for that πŸ˜‰

I take a walk and use the break to listen through the track mixes and proposed running order. We need to have that decided and all the metadata (ISRC codes and other release info) off in advance of tomorrow’s mastering session at Chem19.

We take a wander along to see Betty and Joe then home to make dinner and tie up a few loose ends work-wise. Been a pretty hectic weekend.

Saturday 11 March 2017

We enjoy a wee Glengoyne 15-year-old while consdiering final tracklistings for the CD and vinyl formats of the forthcoming live album

AFTER a long lie we have breakfast and I start pulling the live mixes we’ve been working on over the last few days into iTunes and onto our Sonos server so we can listen easily.

We spend the remainder of the morning and all afternoon listening and checking tracks, deciding which tracks to go on the final release then working out timings.

The timings are particularly important for the (hopefully) vinyl release – four side that should ideally be between no longer than 18 minutes…and certainly no more than 24 minutes. That involves a fair bit of juggling and we also need to consider inter-song chat/stories and where we can cross fade applause. We can’t have too much vinyl real estate taken up by stories and chat, but it does need a little.

Of course on top of this, we need to think budget. After tomorrow we’ll have spent the best part of Β£1000 that we don’t have on mixing and mastering. I’m hoping the studio can take credit card payments ’til we work out how the hell we’re gonna pay for it.

It all seems a little careless (economically), but if we don’t move things forward the album just won’t happen ‘cos we’ll never have the cash!

We also need to work out how we’re gonna pay for manufacturing CDs and vinyl. Neither Margaret nor myself feel the crowdfunding model is appropriate…I have a couple of guitars I can sell (a Lowden acoustic and a nice National Resolectric)...but one has been on Gumtree, Facebook etc for a while and I’m not getting any takers, so while their sale could help (a lot!) it’s not looking too postive from that angle. So if any of my blog readers know anyone wanting to ‘invest’ in a guitar/s and in doing so help our cause, please put them in touch!

The pre-mastering logistic work takes us ’til after 8pm when we decide to call it a day and re-visit tomorrow (Sunday).

I make a green curry and watch a documentary about the making of Primal Scream’s 1991 album Screamadelica – can’t believe it’s that old – before having a (relatively) early night.

Friday 10 March 2017

30+ songs mixed in two days at Chem19 studios with Paul Savage πŸ™‚

ANOTHER early start to get to Chem19 studios for the second day of mixing the live tracks recorded last Saturday.

We go more than halfway yesterday, so the pressure’s off a bit – but there are some alternative takes and technical issues on a few tracks we need to resolve.

Both Margaret and I really like working with Paul – not only is his knowledge, technical ability and empathy with what we’re doing second to none, he’s such good company too πŸ™‚

With a break for lunch – steak in pepper sauce from the catering can along the road – we’re done by 8pm. It’s been a long, but not laborious day, and everything is sounding promising. We take home 30-odd mixes which we need to sort out over the weekend…we’re going back on Monday to have the mastering done.

Normally we wouldn’t have the same person (or even studio) doing the mastering, but Paul now has a solid understanding of the project and the needs of the various formats we’re planning. He and the studio are also available, so we can keep the project moving and it makes sense at every level.

It means we need not only to listen through and check all the mixes, we need to decide formats (CD, vinyl etc) and what tracks will be on each – that’s gonna be a lot of discussion and juggling…and there may be technical considerations to take onto account too.

We stop for some shopping and get home sometime after 10pm, by which time we;re ready for a drink!

After we eat we decide to watch Lost in France, a movie about the Chemikal Underground label and some of it’s bands – which co-incidentally includes Paul and his wife Emma (Delgados) – re-visiting a trip from the mid-1990s to play a show in Brittany. We love it – available on Curzon Home Cinema – the app is available on smart TVs, Amazon Firestick etc…

Tuesday 7 March 2017

I DROP Margaret off in Glasgow and then drive to Perth for a music consultancy meeting.

There used to be so many calls from musicians and songwriters wanting to ‘know stuff’ that, despite being keen to help everybody, I just had to start saying “I offer a music consultancy service if that;s of any interest” and directing them here.

As you can imagine, the calls for free advice became less and less, but I do have the odd musician/songwriter/band that does want to take me up on the consultancy side of things.Today’s meeting is with one of those musicians.

The meeting goes great and I leave armed with info and a clear idea of where my client wants to be in the short to medium term. Next stage will to be to make some suggestions in my report and create an action plan.

I grab a sandwich at the petrol station and head back to Glasgow to pick up Margaret who;’s just had a call that Mikey has broken his wrist snowboarding in Austria. Jeez. Hopefully his travel insurance will take care of things, but it doesn’t stop Margaret worrying.

We have a few things needing done before we go to a Help Musicians‘ session to discuss what forms of work they could do in Scotland. The venue – the Old Hairdressers in Renfield Lane – is a poor choice. It’s noisy and difficult to hear folks talking above the ambient noise and we’re all crammed into a little uncomfortable corner upstairs.

Still, it’s a productive session/meeting and nice to catch up with some industry pals.

Saturday 4 March 2017

Lee warms up the crowd with an awesome set at my live album recording show.

WE’RE up early and have breakfast then pack the car with the rest of the gear for tonight’s show.

By 10.30am I’ve got a time-lapse camera set up to capture preparations for the gig and all the gear’s in the hall.

Margaret leaves me to rig the PA, lights and get the recording stuff set up and comes back a few hours later to help me fly stereo mics out front and an audience mic then I soundcheck and we set some basic recording levels.

Lee arrives and Margaret leaves me to run his soundcheck. A problem with one of the stereo mics turns out to be unresolvable…think it’s the preamp on the audio interface. Ah well, should still be enough to capture the sound.

Martyn comes in with a couple of cameras and sets up to film the show then we all head off for dinner.

We’re back at the hall a good half hour before doors open to sort the tables and seating. It also gives Martyn and Louise a chance to set the cameras with the proposed stage lighting.

By the time Lee hits the stage at 7.30pm, the hall is full and he plays a great set. Then it;s my turn. Two sets of about an hour each to try and get as much material recorded as possible…33 songs!

All goes pretty much to plan and we have a great night…the audience is fantastic other than a wee group of guys at the back that Margaret ends up chucking out, their chat and behaviour was affecting folks sitting around them.

After some time chatting and thanking folks for coming out we start de-rigging and tidying up.

Catriona, Will and Matty are staying over so we have a few drams and finally get to bed sometime after 2am…I’m gubbed. Been a fun, stressful and exciting all at once day.

Have a blast recording stuff for a live album…

Thursday 2 March 2017

Ivan Hall Barrientos’ session is one of many highlights at Glasgow University’s introduction to the music industry event

INTO Glasgow early. Again. I drop Margaret off then take the car to the garage to have the underbody cladding fixed and two new tyres.

Margaret will pick the car up later, meantime, I’m off to a music industry day at Glasgow University which kicks off at 9.15am. As I walk from Maryhill, hunger makes me forget the carb-free stuff today and I pick up a roll and sausage with black pudding at the Kelvinbridge Cafe.

There’s a good turnout for the event which kicks off with welcomes from UK Music’s Jo Dipple, Fiona Hyslop (Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs)  and event organiser Martin Cloonan.

A panel session gets things underway, then Martin is ‘in conversation’ with our pal Paul Savage of Chem19 studios and the Chemikal Underground record label – he’s worked on my last four albums and is about, I hope, to tame the recordings that come from Saturday’s live album recording show.

A keynote from DF Concerts’ Geoff Ellis is followed by lunch where I talk over my recording set up for Saturday with Paul. I’m keen he gets the best possible raw audio files. A few other music biz pals join us at lunch then we go back to the main event for three more sessions – Leo O’Brien discussing the role of PPL, a  music production masterclass from Ivan Hall Barrientos then a songwriting workshop with Carla Easton (Teen Canteen/Ette). All really good stuff.

The whole thing is followed by networking/drinks where Margaret joins us and we catch up with lots of pals for a few drinks before saying cheerio to everyone and heading for the Hanoi Bike Shop for dinner. I’ve still got a voucher Catriona and Will gave me at Christmas πŸ™‚

After a fantastic meal we make our way home and crash. Gonna be  busy few days coming up…

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’ πŸ™‚

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

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

Thursday 23 February 2017

At Perth College – pic: Paul Oliver (via Instagram)

THERE’S a fair bit of snow when we leave the house at 7.30am and when we reach Croftamie, there’s a big tailback of cars. Not moving.

Normally the road’s almost deserted, so this ain’t good as I need to get to Milngavie to catch a train into Glasgow, then another to Perth where I’m speaking at an educational music networking event at Perth College at 1pm.

We turn round and head in the opposite direction along the A811, thinking we can join the A81 at Ballat…but a mile or so we get there, there’s another tailback. Everything’s at a standstill. Someone who must’ve turned round near the blockage tells us two lorries have got stuck in the snow, so we turn round and take a wee ungritted road toward Balfron where we manage to get onto the A81 and make some prgress. Margaret drops me at Milngavie station at 9am  and I;m in Glasgow by 9.30am, bumping into a pal – Allan Nimmo – on the way.

At Queen Street Station I buy my return ticket to Perth then nip out to a nearby Greggs for a roll and sausage and a coffee. I’m meet up with fellow panelists Richy Muirhead (Scottish Alternative Music Awards/BBC Social) and singer/songwriter Finn LeMarinel and we travel together, getting to Perth College in plenty of time for the 1pm event.

Organiser Laima meets us in the coffee bar and takes us to the lecture theatre where we’re speaking. Laima and her fellow students Kaia and Janina were at the Scottish Music Industry Association’s (SMIA)  ‘creative conversation’ event I was speaking at a month or two ago – nice to see them and catch up.

There’s a good audience in when we kick things off and the panel moderator does a great job in directing questions and getting us to talk about the kind of stuff the folks want to hear about.

We’re done soon after 3pm and head to the students’ union to hear some live music. Finn’s had to head back – Richy and I have time to hang out for a while before we have to make our way to the station for the train back to Glasgow.

Margaret picks me up at the station and we make it home in time for a Skype guitar masterclass I’m teaching at 8pm.

After dinner I do a wee bit extra promo on next Saturday’s (4 March) special live recording show at the Memorial Hall, Milton of Buchanan. Tickets are going well and there’s a fine balance between having good crowd in and not having the place too packed out.

Friday 17 February 2017

Margaret tastes her way to creating her own single malt as part of our day out at Glengoyne Distillery

WE’RE up at a reasonable time and got some work out the way by the time Davie from Glengoyne distillery comes to pick us up at 10am.

Stuart at the distillery has lined up a day of whisky-related activities for Margaret and I and is waiting to welcome us.

We have blether over coffee and a nice dram and are introduced to Arthur – our guru for the day.

First stop is the warehouse and a wee gander round the distillery. Arthur’s knowledge of whisky and Glengoyne’s distilling process is impressive and we learn a lot about wood and cask sizes as well as a number of other things that play an important part on making Glengoyne’s whisky all that it is.

Then we’re poured another rather nice dram while we get ready for the malt master experience where Arthur gives us a good background before we sample five different flavours from different Glengoyne casks, tasting and mixing our way to create our very own cask-stength, un-chill filtered single malt. Arthur carefully bottles the result for each of us, packing our unique bottle with a label and note of our recipes to take away. Fantastic!

If you like whisky – or know someone who does – the malt master experience is an amazing treat.

Stuart joins us for some lunch – in itself a treat – then leaves us with Arthur to enjoy a whisky and chocolate-matching session. Aside from the amazing chocolate and rare drams, the experience itself is unlike anything else we’ve tried…the flavours – cocoa, raspberry, lemongrass – resonate with the two specially chosen whiskies (a 15-year-old and a 21-year-old) in a way you just couldn’t imagine. Jeez, things couldn’t get much better.

Actually, they do…but that would make a short story longer than it should be for my blog – Stuart joins us for another dram (or two) and a photo then Arthur very kindly drives us home. What a day πŸ™‚

Back home we chill and have dinner…and talk over our grand day out.

…learning about the art of the malt master at Glengoyne

whisky and chocolate!

with our Glengoyne hosts Stuart (centre) and Arthur

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 πŸ™‚

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 β€“ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™

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

Sunday 29 January 2017


The new ‘intro to Dave Arcari’ video….

I HAVE an important MU (Musicians’ Union) meeting in Glasgow at 11am…the roads are quiet and parking easy and I arrive bang on time.

iI’s early afternoon by the time we’re done and I pick up some shopping and a sandwich on the way home.

First job is getting the smoker fired up for the bacon-wrapped pork loin I prepared the other day. It only take three or four hours and while smokes away we nip along to say happy birthday to Betty.

Back home I finish off the wee ‘intro to Dave Arcari’ video I’ve been putting together, run it past Margaret then upload it to my YouTube channel.

The pork’s ready and we have it with black beans and rice.Pretty damn good if I say it myself!

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 28 January 2017

Facebook livestream from the car…a bit cramped, but we pull it off! See the result at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic

AFTER a late breakfast, Matty heads off and I get the stuff together for my 2pm Facebook livestream.

I’ve bumped my gums often about how our broadband at home;s so slow we can’t do a Facebook livestream from the house, yet a mile or two up the lochside  in the middle of nowhere – I can get a fast enough mobile signal.

Of course, it’s pishing with rain. We expected that, so my plan is to do the livestream from the car – so we’re gonna need at least one light, something to mount it on and a support for the phone/camera.

I’d planned to put the back seats down and sit on the ‘floor’ but there’s not enough headroom, so I rejig my ides and decide to sit on the back seat, with Margaret filming and relaying questions/comments from the passenger seat. Gonna be cramped.

I spend a half-hour before we venture out spreading the word about the livestream – a healthy live audience, comments and other interaction all help boost the all-imoportant traction.

The prep is worthwhile as all goes to plan and I mange not to fall out the open car door and into the loch! My whole right hand side is soaked as the wind is blowing the rain off the loch and into the car.

I play a brand new song – called 1923 – chat about the upcoming Scottish shows and Wednesday’s scheduled guest slot on STV’s Live at Five, respond to comments and chat and close with a rendition of Bring my Baby Back. You can watch the replay on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic.

We’re cold and wet when we get back home and have some lunch…then I hit the studio to work on the edit of the new ‘intro to Dave Arcari’ video. I get a wee bit lost in time and dash back to the house – we’re off into Glasgow to meet a pal from New York for a drink..then we’re meeting other folks for some grub. It’s all go.

After a couple of beers at Brewdog with Siouxie and her pals we hit the Hanoi Bike Shop for ’round two’. The food is, as always, amazing but a mix up means Margaret’s main comes a good 1/2-hour after everything else…the staff are very apologetic tho’ and offer a very generous discount. We love the place, people and food and feel a bit bad complaining, but they are totally understanding.

IU’m not sure what time we roll up back home, but we’ve had a grand night out with opals old and new πŸ™‚

First stop Brewdog – and a few drinks with our pals Siouxie and Deborah

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 πŸ™‚
 

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 πŸ™‚

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 30 January 2016


I stumble across a neatly edited clip from River City earlier this year featuring yours truly….click above to watch!

ANOTHER (!) long lie. Yesterday’s alcohol-free day and exercise doesn’t seem to have made waking up any easier.

Ah well, can’t have done any harm.

Once the decks are clear I put a little more thought into a possible live album project. Looks like we need some serious cash before we can start any serious planning tho’.

While looking for something else online, I find someone’s edited and uploaded a clip from BBC Scotland’s River City that I appeared in back in May.

In the studio I search through various hard drives –backups, archives etc – and realise that I need another drive if I’m going to keep archiving stuff. At least, even, just to shuffle the archive files between drives. Apparently they degrade even if they’re being used. Jeez. 

I also need to make a decision on whether or not to keep the gigabytes’-worth of unused footage from various projects. I shuffle stuff around but not really sure if I’m achieving anything.

It’s getting late when I head back to the house for dinner and collapse in front of the telly and watch a documentary about Adele and chill.

Thursday 29 December 2016

I’m always fascinated by the ‘Milarochy Tree’ when walking up the lochside…

WE sleep in. Again. Dunno if this is down to tiredness, lack of exercise or too much bevvy. It certainly isn’t down to a lack of things needing done!

At our pals Duncan and Irene’s the other night, Duncan re-inforced the idea of doing a live album. A lot of people at the mech table have been asking Margaret “is there a live album?” and, of course, there isn’t. Add in the fact that two of my five albums are now ‘deleted’ and unavailable in physical format and another two are all but sold out, maybe a live album would fill the gap nicely. There’s a bunch of new songs that could go on there too.

I spend the next few hours thinking it through and writing down some ideas. Might just be the way to go!

After a late lunch of home made lettuce soup – sounds crap, but it’s amazing – I spend some time downloading various audio software updates. Technical stuff’s been a bit neglected over the last year.

While the downloads are…erm…downloading, I make the most of the last of the daylight and go out for a walk.

Back home, I try and install the software updates in the studio. Every fucking one of them fails – either directly because my Mac OS is ‘out of date (purposefully, as it can be a can of worms getting caught in the disparity between ProTools and Mac OS updates) or crashing as a result of something being out of date. Jeez. Waste of time…and a wake up call. We can’t afford to update the machine in the studio, or the main software so looks like my trip into obsolescence is about to start πŸ™

Oh well. I’ve decided to have an alcohol-free day and offer my insides a wee bit of relief, so it;s a quiet night after dinner reading and watching a bit of telly….

Thursday 22 December 2016

The Facebook livestream festive special goes to plan – click the picture to watch again on my Facebook page…

STRAIGHT into the studio after breakfast to work out what I’m gonna play in this evening’s Facebook livestream ‘festive special’.

I run through a few tunes and, as we’ve got a live audience, a few songs to warm ’em up before we go live on Facebook.

There’s some online stuff to do and some promo then we get busy with more prep for Christmas.

Lesley rolls up mid-afternoon, then we pack the car and head off to the mystery location for tonight’s Facebook Live and party. We don’t go live ’til 8pm, but we get there just after 5pm to work out how we’re gonna play things and conduct the 1/2-hour livestream.

The audience is arriving between 6.30pm and 7pm….and, of course, the beer’s flowing!

We have a fantastic night and the livestream goes to plan…I maybe have a little too much to drink..but then, I think everybody else has too πŸ™‚

If you missed the livestream, you can watch it on my Facebook page here

Wednesday 14 December 2016

It’s a tradition to sink some red while writing the Christmas cards!

BEFORE I do anything else, I go up the attic and get the Christmas tree and decorations down.

I doubt we’ll have time to do anything with them today β€“ or even tomorrow – but if we’re tripping over the boxes and bags in the hall we;re likely to get on the case soon!

In the studio I get some guitar re-strinbging done. The internet’s so slow today I don;t want to have to do any more stuff online than necessary.

I put some quinoa on to cook for the basis of my next few days’ lunches then a few folks call and I chat while the quinoa cooks.

A couple of online t-shirt sales need to be packed up ready to go and I realise I need to print a new sheet of Buzz address/return stickers with the new mailing address. That’s a pain in the ass fiddly job, but eventually I make a template and get it all lines up so the addresses fit on the silly wee labels.

All the stuff I picked up to make a batch of black bean sauce/paste is on the worktop in the kitchen, so I get that all made up and blended then realise all our little tubs that we freeze stuff like this in have been used up with the green curry paste I made the other week…I call Margaret who’s in Glasgow and ask her to pilck some up when she’s done at the haiurdresser.

Back in the studio I run through some songs..still one guitar to re-string, but that’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow – I need to start preparing dinner!

After we eat we tackle the Christmas cards and get a good bunch of them done with the help of some beer, wine and …erm..a wee 15-year-old Glengoyne πŸ™‚

…and in the studio I enjoy a cheeky wee Glengoyne while ruinning through songs for tomorrow (Thursday) night’s show in Dundee.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Sunday 27 November 2016

Before leaving Kirriemuir we stop for a selfie at the Bon Scott statue....

Before leaving Kirriemuir we stop for a selfie at the Bon Scott statue….

A LITTLE delicate when Margaret goes upstairs to get coffee, but by the time the coffee’s drunk and we’re up and washed I’m feeling a bit more human.

We go along to Visocchi’s  for breakfast…square sausage and black pudding rolls for me…bacon and egg rolls for Margaret and Susie…and loads of coffee.

Back at the gallery we load up the car and make for Dundee, but before we leave Kirriemuir we stop for a selfie at the Bon Scott statue...a fantastic tribute to the legendary AC/DC frontman along with the town’s annual Bonfest event.

In Dundee we stop off to see Mikey then pick up some shopping and head for home.

We get the fire going and relax for a while then I make dinner. The black pepper tofu is great despite me burning two fingers and thumb on my left hand with hot oil while frying the tofu.

I spend the rest of the night getting some work done with my left hand in a bag of ice. Ouch.

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

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Chatting onstage at the Hard Rock Cafe with Dougal Perman for the Scottish Music Industry Association's 'Creative Coversations' event.

Chatting onstage at the Hard Rock Cafe with Dougal Perman for the Scottish Music Industry Association’s ‘Creative Coversations’ event.

ANOTHER early start…a beautiful clear blue sky but freezing cold and the car takes a good while to defrost before we head into Glasgow.

A warning message on the dash tells us there’s some kind of airbag problem, so after I drop  Margaret off I nip into McDonalds for a coffee and free wifi and call the garage…kinda hoping they might be able to have a look but the auto electrician’s not in ’til tomorrow. Jeez, yet another journey into town.

I get some work done while drinking my coffee. My task lists in Asana – our favoured to-do list/project management app – are almost up to date…but there’s still shitloads to do. I should really be learning some lyrics for Saturday’s unplugged show in Kirriemuir. I rarely play cover versions, but this is a different kind of show and before playing my own stuff, I’m planning to kick off with a set of covers  β€“ all influences on my own music/style but it’s been so long (30 years in some cases) since I played most of them, I have no idea of the words!

Instead, I sort out a PRS for Music Members’ Fund (PRSMF) visit with a grantholder who’s in hospital later this afternoon…I do annual visits for the PRSMF which amounts to little more than two or three days’ work a year, but it’s nice to play a part in helping folks who’ve hit hard times or bad luck.

Although I’ve been experimenting with Facebook ads and boosted/promoted posts for a good while now, I’m getting the feeling that Instagram is catching up fast. I have an image I created a few days ago to use in a test Instagram campaign which I take some time to set up now. I guess my evaluation will come up in this blog soon.

Margaret’s had a few days doing supply teaching which will, I hope, help tide us over a lean gig schedule over the next few months and has inveigled me into taking a guitar into the school and playing some songs for – and chatting with – the kids. I wasn’t sure if they’d dig my stuff, but I needn’t have worried…the kids are magic and we have a great half hour.

Next stop, Soul Barber Room for a haircut…first time things have worked out in ages to let me have a haircut at my favourite barbershop and Scott doesn’t disappoint, He and Lisa are the best barbers I’ve ever been to.

Then it’s off to the hospital for the grantholder visit before dashing into town to the studio for a Music+ session. En route, tho’, an email comes in from my student apologising he can’t make it…he’d forgotten about it and made other plans. Grrrrrrr….

That takes the pressure off time-wise, so we pick up some bits and bobs then park up and make our way to the Hard Rock Cafe for a Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) event which sees me in ‘creative conversation’ with SMIA chairman Dougal Perman. There’s a good crowd in and the event goes great…chatting with some folks afterwards indicates the audience found it interesting and informative. The whole thing’s been filmed so will, no doubt, be available online in whole, or part, sometime soon.

It’s after 9.30pm when we leave and decide to grab something to eat on the way home…we plan to stop at KaKaLok on  St Georges Road, but on the way we spot a new place called Satu Satu and give it a try. Good call, Margaret – it’s brilliant πŸ™‚ We love the friendly atmosphere and no-frills authentic Malaysian/Asian fare – my squid ho fun with black beans sauce is great and Margaret enjoys her generously served beef with ginger and spring onion.

Then home for a wee dram and bed…gotta get the car into town to the garage early tomorrow πŸ™

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Click above to hear my latest session and discover loads of great music on Daytrotter

Click above to hear my latest session and discover loads of great music on Daytrotter

FIRST job is to trawl through some old backups and see if the missing/updated spreadsheets are there.

I spend a good hour going through time machine backups on hard drives for both Margaret’s and my machines. Nothing. Although I’m pretty OCD about that sort of thing, and I’d be surprised if some things hadn’t been updated more recently, I’m starting to think that the reason the info isn’t there is because we (or, more likely, I) didn’t put it there in the first place!

On the up side, my Daytrotter session is sorted out and is live here. Go check it out – not only can you get a free trial of the service, you’ll discover some great music from major names to breaking acts unavailable anywhere else…all recorded live and exclusively for Daytrotter.

I make an early dinner – beef, green peppers and onions in black bean sauce – then jump in the car and head for Perth where I have a consultancy meeting with a band.

We have a good two or three hours’ chat and I get a good feel for where they are at the moment and where they’d like t be in a year’s time…next step is for me to put together a wee action plan and make recommendations to help them get there.

I drive back in torrential rain and pull up home just before 1am. Time for a wee nightcap….

Friday 11 November 2016

FUNNY being back into the early morning routine of cleaning the fire, chopping wood and stuff before breakfast…already feels like we’ve been home for a month.

The diary’s full of things to get done – mostly small jobs – then I put out a news release about by forthcoming Creative Conversations event with the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) a week on Wednesday (23 November, 6.30pm) at Glasgow’s Hard Rock Cafe…info here.

I have a music consultancy meeting and a Music+ mentoring session needing set up then I start trying to figure the sync problem between our phones and laptops…I really need to have Margaret’s phone tho’, so I put it on hold for now.

It’s book club tonight and I still have half of Mornings in Jenin to go. I start off thinking I’ll just skim the rest of the book, but I can’t help slowing down to read it properly…it’s a really good, thought-provoking book set around the Palestine/Isreal conflict.

The book’s read by the time we make dinner then head along to Fiona’s where we discuss the book briefly and then get on with the important part of book club – wine, food and chat! Next book is The Good Guy by Susan Beale – physical copy available here….or Kindle edition here.

It’s after 2.30am when we get to bed….

Wednesday 9 November 2016


The fifth and final part of the 2016 USA tour videoblog…click above to watch…

WE land at Heathrow sometime after 6.30am…I only just woke up πŸ™‚

By the time we negotiate umpteen boarding car checks and border control we’re starting to cut things a bit fine to catch the Glasgow flight. When we hit security, I’m amazed how many folks are ill-prepared. You’d think they;d never been on a  flight or through airport security as they fanny about with their bags, laptops, shows at the scanning machine. To make things worse, some of them seem to have handbagfuls of liquids that aren’t in the regulation clear plastic bags so getting through takes a while. 

The guitars and my effects case go through OK, but Margaret’s duty free – which is still heat sealed in it’s clear plastic bag with the paperwork/receipts staples on – is taken aside and about four ‘for inspection’ bags behind. There’s no real reason for this – it seems they check ’em at random – and when she tells the security official we’re on a tight transfer he shrugs and starts to drag his heels with the bag he’s working on. Jobsworth wanker.

Margaret asks another security guy who’s understanding and helpful and gets us on our way. Just as well, ‘cos we make the flight by the skin of our teeth and would’ve missed it otherwise!

All our bags arrive OK in Glasgow and Jonzip’s there to meet us and give us a ride home. Margaret goes straight to bed, Jonzip and I have a coffee and blether for a while before he heads off home.

I upload the last part of the USA tour videoblog – see it here – and get some other jobs out the way then wake Margaret up – we have to go back into Glasgow for my 3pm emergency appointment at the eye hospital. We’re there for a good few hours then go on to pick up some shopping.

It’s well after 8pm when we get back home, put the shopping away then wander along to Betty and Joe’s to pick up our mail…and have a couple of glasses of red while we catch up on all the local news.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Great time playing the final show of the tour at Rockwood Music Hall, New York

Great time playing the final show of the tour at Rockwood Music Hall, New York

WE wake up in the van in McDonalds’ car park around 6.45am. Feeling a bit rough…and drive the couple of blocks to Enterprise to hand the rental back.

Looks like it doesn’t open ’til 9am tho’, so we walk back to McDonalds and have some breakfast and the place is open by the time we wander back.

Then New York Marathon is playing havoc with the roads in Manhattan, but a bus and a subway ride get us to Lexington then a short walk to my cousin Ginny’s place where we’re staying. She’s already been downstairs and brought up all the gear we dropped off at 3am…we have a chat then grab a couple of hours sleep.

An Uber ride gets us and my gear downtown to Rockwood Music Hall in good time for my 5pm show…we load in and then nip across the road to Arlene’s Grocery for a quick drink where our pal Siouxie joins us…then back to Rockwood for a quick set up and…showtime!

Ginny, John and bunch of cousins and friends are in for the show and I have a great time playing…cool to see everyone πŸ™‚

We hang out for a drink afterwards and watch a set from San Diego artist Hilary Lankford…then join everyone for a bite to eat in a nearby Greek restaurant. 

There’s time for another drink and we hang out for a wee while downtown then head back to Ginny and John’s….been a great tour and whirlwind five weeks, but we’re knackered and need some sleep πŸ™‚

We're lucky to catch some great music from Hilary Lankford....

We’re lucky to catch some great music from Hilary Lankford….

...then dinner with family and friends...so cool to see everyone :-)

…then dinner with family and friends…so cool to see everyone πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Friday 4 November 2016

Banda de Goma join me for a song later in my set

Banda de Goma join me for a song later in my set

BREAKFAST at the hotel in Providence then we get some work done before checking out.

There’s just a couple of hours’ drive to Newburyport, Massachusetts so we spend some time at a shopping mall then drop into a Panera Bread for lunch.

We aim to get to Newburyport between 4 and 4.30pm, but the traffic as we go through Boston is unbelievable…and the presidential candidates’ motorcades that are on the route are causing havoc too!

It’s nearer 5pm when we arrive at the Carriage House, an amazing building in beautiful surroundings, where the house concerts series is held. Organiser Jason helps us load in and I get set up…his partner Lynne and mum Lesley are busy getting the place ready for folks arriving from 6pm.

There’s a load of food being prepared and, in true US house concert style, guests bring ‘pot luck’ food – everyone eats and chats then showtime kicks off just after 7pm with a short set from Pat Pollard (who also did the amazing poster art for the show) then Jason, Lynne and Matt – aka Banda de Goma –play a set before I take the stage.

The room is jam packed and the audience is incredibly enthusiastic and out for a good time.

There’s lots of chat after the show then Jason, Lynne, Lesley, Margaret and I have a nightcap before turning in sometime after 2pm.

Pat Pollard opens the show at Carriage House Arts & Music...

Pat Pollard opens the show at Carriage House Arts & Music…

..followed by Banda de Goma

..followed by Banda de Goma

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™‚

 

 

 

Tuesday 1 November 2016


Click above to watch part four of the USA tour videoblog….

A FOUR hundred-and-fifty mile drive from Elyria to Utica on our way east today.

But there’s an β€˜oil change’ message popping up on the van dashboard, so first we have to find an Enterprise and see where to get the oil changed…we also need to renew the contract as we’ll have the vehicle more than 30 days.

We’re direct to a nearby Firestone where the work’s done in half an hour then we hit a post office and start our journey.

My cousin Dot gave us a Panera Bread gift card – that, along with one form Margaret’s pals Bill and Dorothy – have been seeing us right for many lunches. We do it again today πŸ™‚

I take a turn driving, then Margaret finishes off the journey having done the majority of the work today.

The Utica Hotel is a grand old place. A little tired, but a funky, interesting downtown place to stay. The restaurant doesn’t tempt us tho’ so we head out for a walk and find a nice place where we have dinner – steak for Margaret, scallops for me…all pretty good –then wander back to the hotel for an early night.

Monday 31 October 2016

ProSoundNews Europe...click above to read it!

ProSoundNews Europe…click above to read it!

WE give Nan a lift to the Bloodshot Records office and pop in to say hello…and end up with a load of cool Bloodshot merch. Thanks Nan!

After stopping at a Panera Bread to pick up some grub we leave Chicago behind and start the 350-mile  drive to Elyria which is between Toledo and Cleveland.

We make a few stops for fuel, toilet breaks and to swap driving duties and, after crossing a time zone  making it an hour later, we arrive at our hotel around 7pm.

After dropping the bags we head out to a nearby Japanese restaurant called Wasabi. It’s almost empty – party because it’s hallowe’en (a big deal here!) and the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs have another World Series game tonight. The food’s pretty good – my usual soft shell crab followed by a well-made maki roll and some of my favourite sashimi – surf clam. It’s all about the texture! Margaret has gyoza and yakitori.

Back at the hotel Margaret opens a bottle of red while I crack open a beer and prepare my November eNewsletter to go out first thing in the morning. Read it here. The wifi in the hotel room’s a bit patchy so I sit in the foyer to get it done.

The November edition of ProSoundNews Europe not only has a four-page feature on my summer gigging activities, but also a full front cover featuring yours truly! Read it here πŸ™‚

Once done, I go back to the room where I import the last week’s-worth of video clips and spend a few hours getting the bones of an edit together for part four of the USA tour videoblog. It’s after midnight and I reckon I’ve done enough…I’ll do the voiceover and final tweaks tomorrow – there’s no way it’ll upload form this crappy internet here anyway!

Sunday 30 October 2016

Nice to have a night off in Chicago with our hosts Mark and Nan...and share some of the Glengoyne love...

Nice to have a night off in Chicago with our hosts Mark and Nan…and share some of the Glengoyne love…

BY the time we get up and get all the online stuff out the way, we chat with Nan and Mark then head to out to pick up some stuff…Matty’s asked if we can find a baseball shirt from Chicago.

By the time we hit the shops we’re thinking about having a snack and stop by a place called Sanders. We both order breakfast ‘skillets’ which turn out to me mountains of food and, for the first time ever, I’m beat…it’s awesome, but I can’t eat it all!

We trawl round the shops but can’t find the shirt for Matty…lots of other cool stuff tho’!

Back at Nan and Mark’s we get some work done – I do a wee bit of online promo for the three remaining gigs of the USA tour – Friday in Newburyport, MA; Saturday in Kingston, NY; and the final show of the tour at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on Sunday (5pm).

We’d all planned to go out for dinner, but we’re all still full from eating earlier – instead we open a few bottles of wine and share some of the Glengoyne love. It’s great to have a night off and catch up with our friends πŸ™‚

Friday 28 October 2016

House party in Kalamazoo...what a night!

House party in Kalamazoo…what a night!

WE sleep in a bit then have breakfast and coffee at Doug and Micki’s.

We’re not long done when folks start arriving for the big party…Pete and Sue are first here…then Sue and Jim.

Jim and I go for a walk round the trails in Doug’s ’70-acre ‘garden’ and when we get back more folks are starting to arrive. There’s snacks appearing and beers being passed round.

By 4pm here nearly 30 folks here and the party’s in full swing. Lots of folks we’ve met before…and some we haven’t. More food appears and then I play the first of two sets, unplugged, in a great room.

We break for desert then I play another hour or so with a Glengoyne break to continue spreading the love…our supplies ran out in Traverse City, but our pal J J – venue owner in Racine who had me play a week or two ago – not only drove 4-Β½ hours to Nahma for my gig there on Tuesday, but sourced another bottle of Glengoyne as he was concerned we’d run out! Amazing guy!!!

This is one helluva party. Sometime after midnight we all end up downstairs with Doug and I playing guitar and Tom joining us on harp…the drink’s still flowing and suddenly it’s after 2am. There guys, as we found out last year, know how to party!

Sharing the Glengoyne love again....this time, courtesy of our pal JJ from Racine :-)

Sharing the Glengoyne love again….this time, courtesy of our pal JJ from Racine πŸ™‚

Tuesday 25 October 2017

The hardcore at the Nahma aftershow enjoy a wee taste of Glengoyne

The hardcore at the Nahma aftershow enjoy a wee taste of Glengoyne

WE sleep in. Totally mis-managed the time difference!

Regardless, there’s an amazing spread of breakfast stuff waiting when we get downstairs and we eat and then enjoy chatting with Charley over coffee.

Part three of the tour videoblog has been uploading overnight and is finally live.

These guys have bought the old general store next door to the Nahma Inn and Charley’s happy to show us round. Wow. What a place. Like going back into a massive 1950s time capsule.

Then we take a wander down to the older burner tower by the water and enjoy hearing about the history of this amazing wee place.

Back at the inn, we load in all the gear an get set up for tonight’s show.

I’m keen to make a quick video in the old general store so we grab the banjo and do some guerrilla filming in the store…and I edit it up into a fun wee video. We didn’t have an audio recorder and the camera loses focus in places, but it’s a nice way to remember our visit.

Laurie make sis dinner…a huge frack of amazing ribs for me, and a chicken salad for Margaret then we chill in Β our roomΒ until near showtime. It sounds like there’s a handful of noisy folks downstairs…or a big crowd. We head downstairs and find the latter πŸ™‚

AdditionalΒ chairs have been brought in to accommodate the extra folks and I have a brilliant time playing for one of the best audiences ever. Fantastic. And to add to the whole thing, our pal JJ – who promoted my Racine show – has driven 4-Β½ hours with his girlfriend to surprise us πŸ™‚

There’s plenty of time to chat after rate show and then a hardcore of us hang out in the bar and the drink and banter continue ’til about 3am. Quite a special night.


We finally get part thrEe of the tour videoblog uploaded!

 

Friday 21 October 2016

Awesome time playing at DAT Bar in Merrill, Wisconsin....

Awesome time playing at DAT Bar in Merrill, Wisconsin….

NOT terribly sad to leave Fond Du Lac behind…not the most exciting place to stay…and make for Wausau a couple of hours’ drive away.

Suffering from my 3am ‘everything’ burrito and pile of tater tots I need to try and eat something healthy. We stop at a Perkins again, but this time I have a cob salad then sleep the next 90 minutes while Margaret drives.

There’s time to catch up on some work and chill for a while before we head to Merrill for tonight;s show.

We arrive at DAT Bar and given a warm welcome by owner Dennis and some of the folks who’ve come out early…including our pals Tom and Alison. Tom’s playing with me tomorrow (Saturday) in Wausau and Sunday in Green Bay. Great to see them.

We grab a beer and and some dinner then opener Phyl Wickham arrives and we get all our gear in. Haven’t seen Phyl for a few years and he plays an awesome set and goes down a storm.

It’ nice to see so many folks from pervious shows here and I blast my way through an hour-and-a-half or so non-stop set and then enjoy chatting with folks ’til closing time.

Another late one…and looking forward to tomorrow’s (Saturday) show at the Polack Inn πŸ™‚

Phyl Wickham plays a monster opening set

Phyl Wickham plays a monster opening set

...and although supplies are running low, there's time to share a Glengoyne with, from left, local press photographer and reporter Jeremy Ratliff, Phyl Wickham, DAT Bar owner Dennis Fick, yours truly and Jackei Wendorf...

…and although supplies are running low, there’s time to share a Glengoyne with, from left, local press photographer and reporter Jeremy Ratliff, Phyl Wickham, DAT Bar owner Dennis Fick, yours truly and Jackei Wendorf…

Thursday 20 October 2016

Time for a wee Glengoyne after the show with Keil Grove, Dig Deep and venue booker Dave. Alright!

Time for a wee Glengoyne after the show with Keil Grove, Dig Deep and venue booker Dave. Alright!

THE Microtel in Fond Du LacΒ proves to be another breakfast disaster.

Available ’til 10am says the sign, but t 9.30am there’ nothing – fridge empty, no yogurt, bread, bagels, muffins, cereal, milk…just a waffle machine and some crappy waffle batter. The manager comes past and says he’ll get stuff brought out…Margaret gets some cereal and a jakey-lookin’ guy comes out with a tray with three or four bagels that loom like they’ve been picked up off the floor. I pass.

Back in our room I get on with some poster art and online promo for the Scottish shows when we get back later in November and December…Bank Street Gallery (100% unplugged!) in Kirriemuir on Saturday 26 November and Clarks, Dundee on Thursday 15 December.

My eyes are playing up. I’ve been feeling pretty crap since we arrived the USA and I’m kinda sick go fighting it day in, day out. I’ve been stressed, irritable and feeling terrible – hopefully it hasn’t shown through.Β I decide – again – to try and blitz the uveitis and bump up the steroids. Far from ideal, but if I can keep things at bay ’til we get home and start feeling even a little better that’ll do.

We’ve a book club night a few days after we get back and I try to concentrate not things long enough to at least start reading Mornings in Jenin that was loaded on the Kindle before we left.

The Cold Shot, in Appleton, is 40 or 50 miles away and we leave a little early so we’ve time to stop in at a Japanese restaurant called Bamboo when we get there. After a nice meal we unload at the venue and catch up with our pals Dig Deep who’ve sorted the show.

Texan troubadourΒ Kiel Grove opens the show with great songs and stories, then I hit the stage helped by a Β few large drams from the audience, then the Dig Deep guys finish the night off…there’s a fantastic crowd in and we all have a blast. Some night!

I’m little worse for wear when we load out around 3am and stop at a Perkins on the way back to Fond Du Lac. Ooofft…

Keil Grove gets things off to a great start at The Cold Shot....

Keil Grove gets things off to a great start at The Cold Shot….

...then yours truly....

…then yours truly….

...and bluegrass mayhem from Dig Deep :-)

…and bluegrass mayhem from Dig Deep πŸ™‚

Saturday 15 October 2016

On stage at McAuliffe's, Racine...

On stage at McAuliffe’s, Racine…

WE have coffee and chat with Ken before leaving Winona.

It’sΒ 250+ miles to Racine, and once we get a few miles under our belt we stop at a Perkins for some grub.

JJ – booker/owner at McAuliffe’s where I’m playing tonight – has sorted a hotel just a mile form the venue. We check in, sort out some stuff then make our way to the venue.

It’s a great place and we had a brilliant time last year. We load in and soundcheck then The Cow Ponies arrive and do the same. We have some pizza while they sound check and a few beers…Spotted Cow being the choice of the night πŸ™‚

Both my self and the Cow Ponies have a blast playing and although it;s not as busy a night as we’d all hoped for, everyone has a great time and it’s after 2am by the time we’re back at the hotel.

The Cow Ponies

The Cow Ponies

Sharing some Glengoyne love with Reggie and JJ

Sharing some Glengoyne love with Reggie and JJ

Friday 14 October 2016

Playing Charlie Parr's banjo at Ed's, Winona...

Playing Charlie Parr’s banjo at Ed’s, Winona…

BEFORE we leave Minneapolis we spend a while trying to sort out some iCloud Mac/iPhone sync issues…our diaries seem to sync sporadically and I really should get to the bottom of the problem.

We spend an hour messing about and trying to work out exactly what is – and isn’t – syncing but realise it’s a minefield and we decide it’s better to wait ’til we get home.

En route to Winona we stop off at a Whole Foods to have a look round and grab something to eat…pizza for Margaret and some amazing spicy tuna sushi for me.

It’s after 4pm when we roll up at our pal Ken’s where we’re staying tonight – we first met Ken on myΒ first US tour when I played Winona with Charlie Parr…Ken’s Charlie’s father-in-law and very kindly put us up. We’ve stayed with him every visit since πŸ™‚

It’s great to catch up over a coffee then we head downtown to Ed’s – one of our favourite venues here in the USA. We load in then nip along the road to a Mexican place where we have the most amazing quesadillas ever…and some hot tamales.

Back at the venue, support band Electric Ant are getting ready to roll and play a cracking set. There’s a load of folks we know in for the show – some from previous gigs here at Ed’s and other’s who’ve driven Β quite a distance.

It’s really, really warm and I;m sweating buckets before I even start my set…the crowd is awesome and I have a blast playing and enjoy a few drams passed to the stageΒ from the audience.

We hang out and chat for a while after the show then pack up and make our way back to Ken’s for a wee nightcap. Suddenly it’s after 2am.

Electric Ant open up at Ed's...

Electric Ant open up at Ed’s…

Sharing a Glengoyne with Ken

Sharing a Glengoyne with Ken

Thursday 13 October 2016

We love coming to Annandale and all our pals here :-)

We love coming to Annandale and all our pals here πŸ™‚

JUST 150 miles today from Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Annandale, Minnesota.

We stop short of Annandale to check into our hotel in Minneapolis but we’re way too early so find a Panera Bread for lunch. At 2pm I have a phone interview onΒ Winona’sΒ KQAL89.5 FM to preview tomorrow’s (Friday) show at Ed’s….I use Panera Bread’s wifi to Skype in to the station and have a nice 20-minute love interview.

Next stop our hotel where we check in and have time to catch up on some work before we leave for Annandale about 50 miles away.

Our pal Casey’s ready and waiting when we load in at Russells – load in and soundcheck is a breeze then we have a beer and dinner.

There’s quite a few folks we know in for the show, including a photographer we met at a show in Rochester, Minnesota last year.

Jesse Revel opens upΒ with a fantastic set…very cool music and all round good guy..then I play an hour or so’s set and have a blast.

There’s time to chat with folks after the show then we start packing up the gear and merch – but before we go we share a Glengoyne with the venue owners, promoter, soundman and Jesse. Everyone’s falling in love with this dram!

Jesse Revel plays an amazing opening set

Jesse Revel plays an amazing opening set

We share a Glengoyne with the venue owners, promoter, production team and Jesse

We share a Glengoyne with the venue owners, promoter, production team and Jesse

Wednesday 12 October 2016

There's a tremendous turnout for my show at The Plus in Eau Claire. Thanks everyone :-)

There’s a tremendous turnout for my show at The Plus in Eau Claire. Thanks everyone πŸ™‚

MY EYES are playing up which, combined with the lurgy I’ve had since we left home, made for a pretty restless night.

It’s hard to concentrate on things so I decide to up the steroids in my eyes for a few days and see if I can blitz this uveitis and get it under control. Last thing I need is to have to visit a hospital over here.

The background discomfort has been making me edgy, irritable and stressed. Hopefully it hasn’t shown through.

Anyway! We go out and pick up some shopping – my annual Levi’s purchase snags a pair of my usual back 514s at Macy’s for $35. Bargain. We also need to go to the post office and send off a t-shirt order. Back to the UK. $22. Ouch!

Catriona’s looking after CD and some other online orders while we;re away, but it would’ve been impossible to give her t-shirts – too many designs and sizes! I got so caught up in Balmaha’s Braw Weekend before we left that I forgot to take t-shirts temporarily off sale in my online store. Didn’t think it;d cost THAT much to send a t-shirt tho’!

When we get back to the hotel I make the changes to my online store!

There’s some other work to catch up on then we head downtown to The Plus top load in for tonight’s show. We get set up then we’re fed – fantastic pizza here – and start preparing for the show. There’s a load of pals and familiar facesΒ streaming in and there’s a fantastic turnout, especially for a Wednesday night.

The gig goes great and once we’re all tidied up we share a dram (Glengoyne, of course) with some of our pals who’re still around.

Once we've tided up after the show, a few pals are still around to share a Glengoyne :-)

Once we’ve tided up after the show, a few pals are still around to share a Glengoyne πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Monday 10 October 2016

Promoter Sean, Erin Rae and Liz Cooper & the Stampede join me for a Glengoyne after the show...

Promoter Sean, Erin Rae and Liz Cooper & the Stampede join me for a Glengoyne after the show…

WE have a busy morning in the hotel…

I have to edit a touring feature and photos for a spread in an upcoming issue of ProSound News Europe which we’ve been working onΒ for a while. That takes a bit of time, then we do a quick Facebook Livestream update.

Suddenly it’s time to head downtown to the Daytrotter studios – I’m recording my fourth session for the tastemaker online label/download service.

The session before me over-runs a bit so we hang out and chat with some of the Daytrotter folks then I hit the studio. Four songs recorded live direct to stereo – Parcel of Rogues, Still Friends, Hellhound Train and a new one, Givers & Takers – inΒ double-quick time...we’reΒ running late for theΒ soundcheck for tonight’s show.

When we get to the Village Theatre a few miles away though, there’s no panic, the headline and is still soundchecking and we’re OK for time, Phew!

It’s a beautiful venue and amazing sound. I open the show at 7.30pm then we relax and enjoy sets from Erin Rae and Liz Cooper & the Stampede. Erin Rae is a stunning performer and hits the UK in early November..catch her if you can!

Promoter Sean joins the other acts and myself for a dram of Glengoyne 12 year old then we pack up and load out. Been a great evening.

We’ve not eaten since breakfast time though – and it’s after 10pm. We’re starving so hit The Village Inn for some grub then make our way back to the hotel.

I open the show at the Village Theatre, Davenport...

I open the show at the Village Theatre, Davenport…

...followed by Erin Rae...

…followed by Erin Rae…

..then Liz Cooper & the Stampede

..then Liz Cooper & the Stampede

 

Sunday 9 October 2016


Part one of the US tour videoblog – seven days in four minutes. Click to watch!

WE’VE been invited back to the Pine Room for breakfast, so get out the motel room at a reasonable time and head back downtown.

Coffee and an amazing breakfast burrito for me and a big breakfast for Margaret set us up for the 350-mile drive to Davenport, Iowa. No show tonight, so we don’t have to rush.

We split the driving and roll up to the hotel in Davenport just after 7pm, unpack and then nip across the road for some dinner. Our meal is pretty unremarkable – and the service a little patchy – but the beer’s good.

We’re back int he hotel room in time to tune into the latest presidential debate – or should that be debacle? What a circus…more like the Jerry Springer Show than a debate between two people, one of whom will become one of the most powerfulΒ folks in theΒ world.

While the debate rolls on I put together the first part of a the tour videoblog and manage to cram a week’s-worth of clips into four minutes. It’s kinda laborious and I swore not to do this again, but so many folks asked if I’d be doing it I gave in. This year, though, it’ll be every five or six days..or whenever!

By 3am it’s edited, uploaded and I head to bed.