Saturday 20 October 2018

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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

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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 🙂

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.

Thursday 11 October 2018

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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

Thursday 14 June 2018

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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!

Saturday 25 November 2017

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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’ 🙂

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 🙂

Welcome drams courtesy of Glengoyne

Friday 15 September 2017

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Magic night at Aberdeen’s Blue Lamp

SOME last minute promo for tonight’s show then I print out the ticket list before heading to the studio to pack the gear.

We’re taking our own PA so there’s a load of stuff to fit in the car. Margaret sorts the merch and we’re off.

A stop in Perth for fuel and to eat the halloumi, roast veg and quinoa salads we made for lunch and then I take over the driving. Sandy from the venue calls to ask if its OK to move the show from the planned upstairs room, to the bigger venue downstairs. There’s been a lot of calls and interest in the show. That’s reassuring!

When we approach Aberdeen I start to feel rubbish…dunno if I’m gonna be sick, need the toilet or both. And, of course, we get stuck in traffic!

After loading in we nip off to check into the hotel and pick up some food for later. Still feeling crap, we’re back at the venue and setting up when Margaret realises she’s left (all) the merch – vinyls, CDs, shirts gig listing info postcards etc – at home! Sitting outside the back door she thinks. She calls Betty who goes along and rescues the bags…disaster averted, but a real bummer not to have merch for what looks likes gonna be a busy show.

I start feeling marginally better by the time doors open ad the room fills nicely. By the time I hit the stage for the first of two 45-minute sets the place is full.

I have a grand show and the by 11pm we’re tidying up getting ready to load out. 

There’s time to head through to the bar for a pint with our pal Chris before we go…and we share a little of the Glengoyne love too, 

Then its back to the hotel for a snack and zzzzzzs…I’m feeling a little better now!

Great to catch up with our pal Chris after the show…and share a wee dram of my special Glengoyne 🙂

Sunday 10 September 2017

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BED & Breakfast places aren’t always very ‘musician-friendly’ when it comes to breakfast times and checkout…the place we’re in – Abermar Guest House – is pretty good tho’, allowing us to have breakfast up until 9am.

And the breakfast’s good. Checkout is just after 10am, but we’re ready to go before then and hit the road. For once, I feel we’ve stayed in a place we can recommend 🙂

Margaret drives the first half hour or so then I take over ’til we get to Perth and pick up some shopping and grab a burger.

Just as we arrive home the heavens open and it starts bucketing rain. We unpack some of the stuff, but leave all the gear in the car until the rain’s off.

I have a load of online stuff to do. We didn’t take a laptop, so I’ve still to do my blog…I can do it form my phone, but the pictures I want to sue are on the camera rather than already on the phone so it’d have been a bit of a fanny dance.

Also, an email from Google this morning alerted me to some hacker activity on my website. I’m pretty sure the integrity of my website is OK as I have industrial-strength security, but I’m concerned the server it lives on has been the target of a malicious attack. I’m right…my site is OK, but there’s five or six folders of malicious files in the public html folder on my server.

I clear ’em all out, scan for any remaining offending files then change the login etc details before resubmitting to Google for the ‘all-clear’. If Google suspects a site has been hacked it’ll quickly go down in the search engine rankings. Jeez, glad I can deal with this myself!

I take some pix of the specially produced ‘Dave Arcari’ single malt produced by Glengoyne to mark the launch of my new album

Then new Facebook banners for my page and profile with the next show info. Same for YouTube. Then a video to be edited up to promote Friday’s (15 Sept) show at the Blue Lamp, Aberdeen.

Now the rain’s off I unpack the gear at the studio then I take some photos of the special ‘Dave Arcari’ 10-year-old single malt Glengoyne produced to mark the launch of the new live album.

it;s after 9pm when we have dinner, then I make up a special rub for the beef short ribs and other beef I plan to put in the smoker tomorrow. Duly rubbed and wrapped in cling film, the meat is in the fridge ’til tomorrow morning…

Sunday 30 July 2017

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MugStock! And luckily it stayed dry for my set 🙂

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 🙂 

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 🙂

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 🙂

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

Friday 14 July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday 20 June 2017

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A nice wee dram helps my video editing go smoothly 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday 15 June 2017

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Will and I have a great morning at Glengoyne and sample a little more than the angels’ share 😉

A RUSH to get out the door to meet Catriona and Will and Glengoyne.

I’d promised Will at Christmas that we’d go on a distillery tour at Glengoyne and we finally sorted a date. 

While we’re on the tour Catriona and Margaret go to a place nearby for coffee and cake. Meantime, Will and I enjoy the tour and enjoy a few drams. i also use the visit as a chance to catch up with the marketing folks who are arranging things for the media/industry album launch event and a few other wee partnership projects over the next few months.

Margaret and Catriona pick up up when we’re done and we go to a garden centre place near Killearn for lunch. Very nice.

Back home we chat over a coffee or two then Catriona and Will head off and I get on with some work before making dinner.


Tuesday 6 June 2017

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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 11 March 2017

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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 £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 17 February 2017

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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 🙂

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

Wednesday 14 December 2016

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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 – 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 🙂

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

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tuesday 6 December 2016

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It’s dark and cold outside…so I sit by the fire, work on some songs and enjoy a wee dram….

IT’S dark and cold when we drive into Glasgow and Margaret drops me at the eye hospital.

Normally my check-ups are every six months, but the recent uveitis flare-ups have made three-monthly appointments necessary for the time being. All seems to be making it’s way back to ‘normal’ and hopefully we’ll get back down to steroids every second day and keep it all under control.

All the stuff in my eyes means I can’t read or do anything of much use until early/mid-afternoon. Once I;m done at the hospital I wander into town then go into McDonalds for a coffee and free wifi…the ‘zoom’ feature on my phone and iPad let me check emails and stuff albeit a bit of a clumsy way to have to go about things.

Next stop is a wander round the shops int he hope of finding some Christmas present inspiration for Margaret but….nothing. Gonna have to dig a bit deeper to get an idea of what she might like.

There’s a few things to pick up before I head to St Enoch Business Centre to find out about their PO Box rentals. Our current PO Box – via Royal Mail – has gone up from £65 a year to over £250 and the amount of mail we get through it is negligible. We decided to do away with it but realise we need to put something in place to maintain our ‘privacy’.

I chat with the folks and the service on offer is as good as – if not better in many ways – than the Royal Mail service, so we get things underway. Looks like I’ll need to get busy changing our mailing address in countless places…and knock up some new business cards.

I have another hour or so to kill before meeting my Music+ student at the studios so another coffee it is…and my eyesight back to as near normal as it gets letting me, at last get on with a few bits and bobs of work.

The Music+ meeting is my student’s last session under the programme so I wish him well and hope to see him achieve his musical goals in coming years.

Like when we left early this morning, it’s cold and dark when we get home.

I get the fire lit and after dinner I sit with the guitar and mess with some lyrical ideas that formed in my head as I was wandering around the city earlier… a nice 18-year-old Glengoyne helps things along…

Sunday 30 October 2016

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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 🙂

Tuesday 25 October 2017

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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  our room 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 🙂

Additional 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 4-½ hours with his girlfriend to surprise us 🙂

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!


Monday 24 October 2016

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Sharing a Glengoyne with our hosts Charley and Laurie Macintosh at the Nahma Inn before tomorrow's show :-)

Sharing a Glengoyne with our hosts Charley and Laurie Macintosh at the Nahma Inn before tomorrow’s show 🙂

AFTER breakfast I try and get part three of the tour videoblog finished – some videoclips to be added, a voiceover added and then saved as a file for Facebook and YouTube.

I’m still at it when we need to check out, then I sit in the hotel lobby and get my blog done before we head off. We stop at a  mall and Margaret looks round T J Maxx while I sit in the van and finish editing the videoblog. We’ll upload it when we get to Nahma.

Afte a stop at #1 Pho in Green Bay or lunch we carry on our journey up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (the UP – pronounced ‘you-pee’). We split the 150-mile drive to Nahma where I have a night off before tomorrow’s show at the Nahma Inn…we’re staying there tonight too.

When we get there, though, the place is in darkness. I’m about to panic when Charley – who owns and runs the place with his wife Laurie – pulls up and welcomes us. They weren’t sure if we were arriving tonight…a wee bit of a breakdown in communication between the booker and the rest of us, but it’s no problem.

We’re shown to a room then sat down at the bar with a few beers and other drinks…and time to share a Glengoyne with our hosts.

Laurie rustles up some burgers…made with smoked brisket. Until now, the best burgers we’d ever tasted were at the Court’n House, Eau Claire, but Laurie’s burgers at the Nahma Inn top them by a mile. Both of us are agreed. These are the best we’ve ever tasted 🙂

We have a few more beers, realise we’ve crossed a time zone and head to bed. This is an amazing place and we can;t wait for tomorrow 🙂

Friday 21 October 2016

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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 🙂

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

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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 Lac 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. 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 troubadour Kiel Grove opens the show with great songs and stories, then I hit the stage helped by a  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 🙂

Friday 14 October 2016

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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 my 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 🙂

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  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 stage 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

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

We love coming to Annandale and all our pals here 🙂

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 on Winona’s 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 up 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

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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 🙂

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 faces 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 🙂





Monday 10 October 2016

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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 on 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 – in double-quick time...we’re running late for the 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


Saturday 8 October 2016

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After the Pine Room show in Nashville some of the locals enjoy a wee Glengoyne...

After the Pine Room show in Nashville some of the locals enjoy a wee Glengoyne…

BREAKFAST at the HoJo is pretty much non-existent….Margaret remembered we stayed here on a previous tour and it was shit…we’ll avoid them where possible!

So where do we go? Panera Bread, of course…right beside the hotel. Once we’ve eaten we organise money order to send to the t-shirt printers to pay for the merch they sent to New York for us, pick up some gaffa tape, batteries and other bits and pieces.

Its 180-miles or so to Nashville (Indiana) and we split the driving. When I take over we try a Facebook Livestream  but the mobile data stream’s not good enough – we get about 10 seconds done before it cuts out – so we stop outside a McDonalds and hop on the free wifi to do a wee live tour update.

We get to Nashville and l load into the Pine Room – a great venue that our friends Rev and Breezy Peyton got me booked into on last year’s tour. Booker Richard meets us and we’re immediately handed beers and a menu 🙂

We eat, I change the strings on the banjo,  get set up on stage  then we nip away to check into the hotel the venue’s sorted for us  – back just in time for showtime.

There’s a good crowd in – many of whom were at last year’s show. Margaret’s on sound and I play two beer and whisky-fuelled sets.

After the show we chat with folks round the merch table and then sit down with the venue owners and some of her pals to enjoy a wee dram – Glengoyne, of course. They love it. Seems our favourite dram;going down pretty good here 🙂

Thursday 6 October 2016

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The USA tour kicks off at Howlers, Pittsburgh...

The USA tour kicks off at Howlers, Pittsburgh…

WE broke the back of the NYC to Pittsburgh drive yesterday, so only 100-miles to do today.

Before we leave our Super 8 I do a quick Facebook Livestream update – I also attempt to sort some of the wee video clips we’ve taken so far, but for some reason neither Final Cut or iMovie will let me set up a library on an external drive. It sets up fine, but crashes when I try and import any files.

There’s not much spare memory on Margaret’s laptop, so I try and free some space by deleting some stuff out of Photos and backing the rest up on an external drive…but Photos is playing funny buggers and not working properly. Hard enough doing all this stuff not eh road when things work.

Frustrated with the technology we hit the road and, after stopping off to pick up a cool box and some lunch supplies, carry on to our Pittsburgh hotel.

We arrive soon after 2pm and I fight with the hard drives and Margaret’s laptop for an hour or two before giving up…anyway, it’s time to head downtown to Howlers to load in for tonight’s show.

I played this venue a couple of years ago – a great room, nice PA and good people. I get my gear loaded in and set up, booker Mary Jo orders us some pizza and support band – The Me Toos – load in. These guys have been promoting the hell out the show on Facebook, local music forums and wherever they can. And their music is shit-hot too. Good people.

Showtime comes around and first on David Musick plays a half-hour set to get things going. Next up, The Me Toos hit the room hard with their surf-indie-punk sound then it’s my turn to take the stage. Towards the end of my set I invite The Mee Toos up to join me on Good Friend Blues and we have a blast – I’m hoping Margaret’s managed to catch it on video…if I ever get the computer and hard drives behaving enough to get some video blogs going, you’ll see why I like this band so much.

Once we’re all done and tidied up we grab a bottle of Glengoyne, round up The Me Toos and crew and celebrate with a wee dram. With Glengoyne‘s support, part of my mission on this tour is to let fellow musicians and bookers taste  real dram…and entourage them to sip it rather than shoot it – #sipdontshoot !

It’s after 2am when we get back to the hotel and cash…a long day tomorrow (Friday) – and a gig with my pals Left Lane Cruiser at their hame base venue Brass Rail in Fort Wayne. Bring it on.

Local guys The Me Toos – magnificent :-)

Local guys The Me Toos – magnificent 🙂

The Me Toos and crew join me for a Glengoyne tasting session after the show – and they all agree it's a magic dram.

The Me Toos and crew join me for a Glengoyne tasting session after the show – and they all agree it’s a magic dram.





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