Here we are at the end of 2020. Well almost. Fingers crossed - can anything else happen? I do hope not. It is now time to come out from behind the sofa.
My previous blog this year was published in August. I had, at that time, just seen the beautiful photographs of me taken by Brian Aris and looked forward to the release of the new CD and my paperback autobiography.
I am happy to report that both are now out and were successfully launched as planned. The CD, despite any doubts from me (I always have them), has been well-received and had good reviews. The musical direction seems to suit most people, including me, and I thank you all for your support and encouragement. You are constant and I am lucky indeed that you are reading this and continue to be involved with me.
The only live work I have completed since March was in November. I played The Quay Sessions in Glasgow with Nick Holland on the 3rd. You may have seen the show and interview with Roddy Hart by now, via the BBC Sounds App. What a treat to take part in a concert, albeit so short in length. I was due to appear on that show a few years ago but was suffering from a virus and lost my voice. The lovely Alice Marra, daughter of the great Michael, was able to step into the breach for me on that occasion. So, I was keen to attend this time. Nick and I were quite emotional as it had been such a long time since we had seen each other, apart from some bits for the new album.
On the 20th November, I travelled again to Glasgow for the live streamed show at the STUC Conference 2020. Because of the restrictions coming into force that day, making Glasgow a higher tier than Edinburgh, we had to pre-record our piece and then race back to be in the capital again before 6pm. What drama. However, I was happy that Archie, my son, was able to join me that day, to play mandolin and sing with me and Rab Noakes. We are all proud members of the Musicians Union!
This year I launched my own online store and I have been delighted at the success of this new venture, with Christmas cards, tree baubles and seasonal items doing really well. At last, everyone can get hold of my CDs and other goods in one place.
Because of having the time recently, I have just finished an audiobook version of ‘A Shirt Box Full of Songs’. It was a bit of a voyage of discovery, as I had never undertaken a talking book before. Recording took six days, with each a three-hour session of three-chapter batches, to finish over 200 pages. It is amazing to me, having been in the studio all my life, that it was such a long process, keeping animation and energy injected into the text. However, even I was laughing, and it´s MY life! I just hope it was worth the effort and you enjoy me telling of my adventures over the last 73 years!
My life has been disrupted this year as I´m sure yours have been, with my visit to Sicily postponed and my planned trip to Canada and the US in the Autumn cancelled. That means I haven’t seen my dear brother Alastair for over 18 months now and have no idea, like most families, when we’ll be reunited. This has been the story for so many throughout the last 12 months.
The Time is Going Faster concert tour is now scheduled to go ahead in March and April 2022. The pandemic has closed most venues we play, and we continue to take advice from them in this situation but with huge and herculean efforts, most of the dates within the new time frame are now in place. There are a couple of destinations still missing, but hopefully they will find their way back into the tour. Keep visiting us to see when that happens. I do hope we will play all the theatres and concert halls we regularly visit and the anticipation of playing live again will be worth it for us and, more importantly I hope, for you.
In the short term, there are moves afoot to have a special hour-long show recorded in January for streaming in late February. This will comprise music by Nick and me and possibly a special guest, plus conversation with Nicola Meighan, a broadcaster I much admire, to discuss the new album and book and general plans for 2021 and beyond. All from the historic Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh. Do sign up for my mailing list where all will be revealed soon!
I sincerely hope that you all have a peaceful Christmas and New Year. I can only send love and blessings from my family to yours and hope that you can enjoy some time looking back on 2020 (but not too much), while holding a glass of something cheery. Looking forward to 2021 and better days for us all!
I hope to see you down the road very soon.
Happy Christmas to all!