Well folks, it was a whirlwind of a summer. I barely had time to catch my breath after the Stepcrew US tour before I was straight back into gigging, this time for the Salsa Celtica Big Band. Always a thrill. Particular highlights were playing to a packed Glasgow crowd at the Oran Mòr, a sold-out Edinburgh gig and of course HebCelt Festival on the Isle of Lewis. My thanks always to Toby Shippey and crew for having me and also Caroline MacLennan and everybody at HebCelt for really looking after us.
Royal Edinburgh Tattoo
For the month of August I had the privilege of joining the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo for 23 nights in a row. Playing to 5000 people a night with the incredible Edinburgh Castle as a backdrop was quite a surreal experience and the show was filmed and broadcast on BBC 1 during primetime viewing, reaching over 6,000,000 people in the UK alone. Particular highlights for this were meeting Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, among many others. Many thanks to John Smith from the BBC, David Alfrey and the rest of the Tattoo team for having me.
I have taken a breather from work commitments in the last 4 weeks, due to a tragic death in the family. I am so grateful for all the love and support my family have received in the last 6 months, and I’m so very grateful to our wonderful NHS and to all the staff at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow for their incredible compassion and care during the darkest hours. Tributes have been pouring in from far and wide and my father will be loved and missed by many.
Two very positive developments are on the horizon. I am delighted to announce I begin rehearsals for my third studio album soon. I am delighted to be teaming up again with Duncan Lyall, co-producer of my very first album. Duncan and I haven’t worked together since 2007 and he is kept very busy these days between producing high profile albums and touring with Treacherous Orchestra and the Kate Rusby Band, so we are excited to be working together again. The album will feature friends and long-term collaborators Ross Martin (guitar), Brian McAlpine (piano and accordian), and a host of exciting guest musicians.
Last but not least I am most grateful to Tasgadh Small Grants Awards, a grants strand through Fèisean nan Gàidheal, with whom I have strong ties. I have been awarded funding to undertake professional development at the Bel Canto School of Singing in Dublin in October this year. Bel Canto prides itself on teaching to utilise the natural voice to its best of one’s ability, and boasts an array of high profile former students, such as Sinead O’Connor and Damien Dempsey. I thoroughly look forward to the course and I am so grateful for the generosity of Tasgadh for this opportunity.