Firstly, I’d like to wish you all the compliments of the season. I don’t know about you, but it feels like it was only a couple of weeks ago that I put the decorations away and now they’re out again!
I must admit to feeling a little more seasonal this year. I remember that in 2020, around this time, the next lockdown was about to begin on Boxing Day and that meant that my children who were due to travel up from England to Edinburgh weren’t able to make the journey home - that was a blow, but I guess you all have similar memories of the first year of the pandemic. It was a difficult and challenging time. Let’s hope this coming year is much better.
In October, Nick and I fulfilled our only concert dates of 2021, scattered around the UK. We did loads of travelling in a couple of weeks but we were just happy to be out there - playing again for people and sharing that experience has never been sweeter for me. I’m sure I speak for Nick too, in that we were all so grateful to be doing what we love best and that people had the confidence to come and support us. Thank you so much to everyone who ventured out!
I had a delayed break in Sicily after the tour dates, but it was a peculiar trip and we were bombarded by black hail falling from Mount Etna and then a huge cyclone, called a ‘medicane’ - in essence a hurricane in the Mediterranean! However, I met up with a couple of lovely old friends, so we cowered together in various locations, sampling the local food. It was worth it in the end, but the tests almost drove us mad!
I have become a patron of ‘Prisoners Week’ which highlights and draws attention to our prison population in Scotland. Recently, I visited Barlinnie in Glasgow, Polmont young offenders institution and Cornton Vale, all very different prisons, but I really learned a lot and hope to return to visit again.
I have been busy starting to plan for my delayed full band concert tour, now taking place in March/April 2022. We have Terl Bryant on drums this time. I’m sure he will be welcomed with open arms as he’s a great musician and has played percussion on various albums of mine.
We’re settling on a set list now which always excites me; especially this time with the prospect of singing songs from ‘Time Is Going Faster’ for the first time, properly with a band. We did give some of the new songs an outing on ‘Ballads and Blether,’ my online show, in February but there will be a few surprises too and the chance for me to introduce you to something new as well as old.
Later in 2022, all being well, I hope to visit the U.S. and Canada once again, as I’ve really missed that but it will be a holiday this time, as opposed to working. We were planning to go to New England last year to a place near Martha’s Vineyard, but of course our trip was cancelled - fingers crossed, we’ll be able to go next year.
In the meanwhile, have a wonderful Christmas. I hope to have my family here gathered around us and then, all being well, a trip to the west of Scotland for Hogmanay. In between, the Edinburgh panto, the Christmas show in Dundee at the Rep there and various get-togethers with friends all beckon. I can see a big diet coming in January!
Keep visiting us for the latest news. I’m so pleased you like the new ‘Heartbeats’ CD and with luck we’ll follow that up with some more of the old back catalogue in the future. You’ll be the first to know.
See you, I hope, in March and April on the road and in the meanwhile much love to you all and your families for a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2022!