I ran a songwriting workshop at Loanhead Music Festival and then hotfooted it down to the Archerfield Americana Night on 14th June in Archerfield Walled Garden near Dirleton East Lothian
We had our annual series of Foakies concerts at St Cecilia's Hall, 1st -5th August as part of the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival
We've been practising hard with Madelaine Cave and Graham Whyte who, along with Jane and myself, have formed a new band, which we call Tomfoolery. We completed a small tour of Germany and the Netherlands in October and it looks as though we'll return to wonderful Wolpinghausen on 17th October 2015. I did my very best to have another album ready for Germany and thanks to a few late night recording sessions we managed to produce a CD to take with us. As well as Wolpinghausen we played gigs in Apeldoorn, Arnhem and Eindhoven.
I also played various gigs throughout the year including
The Scottish Bird Fair at Hopetoun House
An impromptu session in The Gin Mill in Indianola, Mississippi
Moniaive Folk Festival
This was an incredibly busy year on the music front. Highlights to date include a very special House Concert in Tuningen, Germany, playing Athelstaneford (birthplace of the Saltire) on St Andrew's night, and playing live on Lionheart Radio on Fiona Elcoat's fabulous Big Boots and Celtic Roots show.
For the 2012 Festival Fringe I joined fellow Foakies organisers Mark Barnett and Simon Kempston for a 5 night run of the highly successful Scottish Songwriters in the Round.
My previous Edinburgh Festival Fringe gig in 2011 at The Acoustic Music Centre in St Bride's was a big success. I really enjoyed the show and I think the songs went over well.
I've been a guest on Leith fm twice recently; once to promote the show at St Bride's and also on Laura Kerr's Light and Dark Show where I read some poetry. I was also a guest and played a couple of songs live on Celtic Music Radio and had a song played by Jackie Storrar on her wonderful country music show on CMR Nashville, which is Europe's number one country music radio station. Jackie is a great singer songwriter and I've really enjoyed listening to her music and her shows. You should all tune in on Saturday mornings. Just Google CMR Nashville.
I appeared on The Maid of the Loch, which is moored at Balloch Pier, as part of Folk on the Boat, which was an event organised by Celtic Music Radio. It was a great line-up and I'm proud to have been a part of it. Check out the Celtic Music Radio website and, in particular, my favourite CD Ciaran Dorris who is a great singer songwriter and a lovely guy.
July's Foakies was absolutely one of the best ever. Kathy Stewart and The Fequent Flyers provided a wonderful show. I love Kathy's songs and she is a great performer who engages with the audience better than anyone I know. We also had two great poets in Jo MacFarlane and Rachel McCluskey who both did tremendous sets. Bruce Hogg also played two superb instrumental pieces that demonstated his technical ability as well as the way he can create a mood and convey an emotion. I realise that I'm sounding effusive but the atmosphere that was generated by the performers and the audience that night was just magical. I won't ever forget that evening.
When I was listening to the masters of Banishment and As Eden Lay In Darkness reminded me of how much time and effort it has taken to get to this point. It's amazing how many decisions have finally developed into finished productions. I could go on endlessly about songwriting, recording and mixing but what it all comes down to is something of a mantra for me, "emotion in, emotion out". If I had reached the end of all of this process and lost the original emotion that inspired the songs then I think I would have felt that it had failed but I honestly think it's still there although, of course, it isn't for me to judge. It's ironic that what I think is the most essential ingredient in the whole thing depends on every other listener.