Well, I said in April that I would be in touch in a few weeks’ time and here we are, in August! It’s been a crazy time for everyone, I know, and my life is no exception. Most of what I anticipated in 2020 has either been postponed or rescheduled. The latest news always will be on the site here, and that’s the best I can do for you all just now, as I know you are all very keen to get some positive news about me and my career.
The ‘Scotsman Sessions’ song I recorded is now online, taken from the new album ‘Time is Going Faster’. I chose to sing that song as it’s the title track, but mainly to let people know that during the lockdown, I was continuing writing and sorting out some new songs.
That one has been complete for some time, and we recorded the original track for it last year, but it’s certainly taken on a new meaning for me, since all this madness began. I hope you like it. It’s also a skeletal version of the actual CD recording, as I was confined to performing on my own for The Scotsman. The song was part of a ‘duo’ batch I wrote with ‘Where Shadows Meet the Light’, a song we performed live in 2019. Both are on the album.
I’ve done very little in the way of performing during the quarantine. However, I have written three more songs and one of those is on the new CD, at the request of Nick and Troy who immediately pounced on it in it’s original demo form. It’s called ‘Goodnight, I’m Going Home’ and you’ll hear it, hopefully, late October or early November, which is when the album is scheduled for release in time for Christmas and the concert tour, 2021.
Things, as you well know, can change so keep visiting us here and we’ll keep you informed, I promise. Regarding those tour dates, we’re of course dependent on theatres opening up again.
On the subject of touring, we are selling tickets, albeit very slowly, while confidence is the way it is. What made me smile, however, is that Liverpool, Birmingham and Lytham are selling very well. Obviously the folks there are desperate to get out and resume a ‘normal’ life again. I salute you all for your support and the band and me will do our best for you. I’m so in love with the new album, I can’t wait to play these songs for you. We all feel this way and Nick, particularly, as he has produced this album.
On the family front, my son Colm is returning to Bristol to live and Gabriel and Archie are still resident in Edinburgh. Gabriel is now back at work and Archie has his first show since the lockdown with his band ‘Midnight Train’. I’m hoping that it’s the start of some sort of beginning again for him. It’s been very tough. Young people have had a very hard time, as they’re brim full of energy and raring to go, as you do at that time of your life. It’s all very difficult but I hope they can get out soon. I remember what I was like when I was their age so I feel for them.
There has been much sadness, of course since March, and dear folks have died. My lovely friend Anthony Toner lost his Dad, Leo, the subject of the terrific song ‘A is for Alzheimer’s’ and I just discovered that theatre producer and the motivational force behind ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ Andre Ptaszynski has died, absurdly early, at the age of 67. He was a terrific person and will be sadly missed. Also John Hume, a hero of mine, has just been buried in Derry, a city I love and have visited recently.
The new version of ‘A Shirt Box Full of Songs’ is finished now, but will go to the publisher very soon for artwork and production to start. I’m very happy with it, and John Abernethy and Alan Clyde have helped me enormously with the chronological business of writing events down, a task I always find difficult. If it's your life, then it is difficult, I think. I’m sure most people would feel the same. These projects feel so exciting when they are complete so I do thank John and Alan for assistance during what became a difficult and prolonged process!
Artwork is going ahead for the CD and the book after the completion of my photographic session in July with the wonderful Brian Aris. I’m really happy with his pictures of me, once again. It’s hard to capture a person on film to their satisfaction, but Brian has always captured the essence of me in his work over the years. I love working with him… I feel comfortable in his presence, as I’ve always felt ambivalent about being photographed. That’s maybe why I look miserable in so many of those old photographs!
My trip to Canada and the US is not happening in September and October, and I’m very disappointed not to see my beloved brother Alastair, and my friends on the other side of the ocean. I’ve no idea when I’ll see them again.
However, our Cathedral is now open. The power of prayer is mighty, I believe, so that's a real positive for me.
Now that things are slowly, hopefully, getting back to normal, I hope to be able to give you new music and live performances along with my wonderful band in the not too distant future!
Keep safe and well and I send loads of love to you all.