Wednesday 4 April 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 2 June 2017

We get the tent up in the artists’ camping area

UP early and we get all the camping gear packed into the car…glad I got all the music stuff in last night 🙂

We hit the road for the 400+ mile trip to the Red Rooster Festival near Thetford. A couple of stops for coffee, grub and shopping and we get on site just after 7pm.

Thankfully the rain stays off while we get the tent up in the artists camping area. We have a quick bite to eat and a beer then make our way to the Little Red Rooster stage where I play tomorrow (Saturday – 8.40pm) and on to the main stage to watch Cale Tyson and bump into our pal Joe Cushley who’s DJ-ing tomorrow.

We nip bag to the artist campsite for ‘the toilet’ and to recharge our glasses then back to the Little Red Rooster stage where we watch Robert Chaney. Brilliant.

Back at the tent we have a snack and a wee dram before snuggling up in our sleeping bags…

Cale Tyson is amazing…

…and great to bump into our pal Joe Cushley

Robert Chaney rounds our night off at the Little Red Rooster stage

Tuesday 30 May 2017

INTO Glasgow this morning. The usual routine – drop Margaret off and stop at McDonald’s for coffee and wifi!

I’m on a mission today. Having researched a bit on how best to make promo downloads of my forthcoming Live at Memorial Hall album I decide to give Soundcloud a tryout. I already use Soundcloud to provide the audio samples/downloads on my website but have never really examined the possibilities. For the last two albums I’ve used Bandcamp and promo codes, but it’s a bit of a fanny dance responding to requests by allocating and sending individual download codes.

For last year’s Hellbound Train EP and the recent Live EP I”ve hosted the downloads on my website and directed media to an ‘unlisted’ download page where they fill in their name, publication/radio show and email address in a form..when the form is submitted my system automatically sends an email with a link to download the promo stuff in a zipped folder.

Benefits of Bandcamp are you see who actually redeemed the download codes but that’s offset by the limited number of codes you can generate and the already mentioned fanny dance with all the admin. The self-hosted thing worked well but, on research, had a couple of drawbacks.

First, some media/recipients might not be comfortable downloading a zipped folder from what is essentially an unknown – and therefore probably untrusted – source. Also, there is no way to preview the tracks/release so the recipient has to commit to downloading the lot without knowing what it’s like.

Soundcloud offers a neat way around all these drawbacks at the expense, I think of some of the data…but the paid for (pro account – only £45 a year) option does promise some kind of data/analytics. I tidy up my existing Soundcloud accounts (I have a few!) and upgrade one to ‘pro’.

The fast wifi at McDonalds allows me to get all 26 tracks uploaded as 320k MP3s by the time I’ve finished my coffee 🙂

Next stop is Silverburn to pick up a couple of things we need for our camping at this weekend’s Red Rooster Festival where I play on Saturday night.

The wifi at Silverburn is crap, but back at the car I have a full 4G signal so tether the Macbook to my phone and manage to upload the same tracks as uncompressed .wav file versions – I want to be able to give folks the option of downloading 320k MP3 or WAV files.

I have time for a wee walk before I get some shopping and pick up Margaret before heading to the Scottish Music Centre for a meeting about the industry/media launch event for Live at Memorial Hall. We have a productive meeting and all looks good. Planning is everything!

Next stop is Costco for some more shopping and bite to eat before we go to Glasgow’s Citizen M hotel for a networking event co-hosted by the SMIA (Scottish Music Industry Association) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). We spend a good couple of hours catching up with folks and drinking beer (well I do – Margaret’s driving!)…great event, great evening 🙂