I’ve been enjoying a lovely winter break this week, visiting family and getting some much needed chill-out time. However, you might have spotted I’ve reignited my love for playing the fiddle, and I’ve created a tune blog here.
Tomorrow is Hogmanay!! Over the last few years, I’ve had gigs all over the place, but I’m very happy that this year my gig is in the fabulous Stravaigin, Glasgow, which is within staggering distance of my house. I’ll be joining Aileen Reid Gobbi and Laura Wilkie for the evening’s tunes, both from Kinnaris Quintet.
After that, I’m gearing up for a very busy January indeed with Celtic Connections looming on the horizon. There will be many hours spent rehearsing, as the music for quite a few of the gigs is either brand new, has only been aired a couple of times, or in one case hasn’t even been written yet. How exciting!
First off, I’m playing Selkirk String Jam Club with Ryan Young. Ryan and I are also playing The National Piping Centre as part of Celtic Connections on 20th Jan, a Celtic Connections schools concert on 21st Jan, then we’re off to London for a few gigs too.
After that, Celtic Connections continues amidst a whirlwind of rehearsals, I have a gig with Claire Hastings and her band in the Strathclyde Suite on 18th Jan, celebrating the release of her second album ‘Those Who Roam’.
At the same time, I’m leading preparations for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Traditional Music Showcase in the Strathclyde Suite of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, where I get to lead a 40-strong folk big-band full of incredibly talented young musicians as they write, arrange and perform a gig from scratch. They perform it on 19th January.
On 25th Jan I’m playing Glasgow Barrowlands with Kinnaris Quintet. The band has had such an amazing year, recording our first album and visiting an incredible bunch of festivals including Heb Celt, Sidmouth, Cambridge, Skye Live & Scots Fiddle Fest. Returning to Celtic Connections to play such a huge and prestigious venue is such an honour and I absolutely can’t wait. My duo with Laura-Beth Salter forms the powerhouse of Kinnaris Quintet, and we are also playing a Celtic Connections gig on 26th Jan in the Piping Centre!
On 29th Jan I take a quick trip down to the heart of Robert Burns territory, Ellisland Farm near Dumfries, to perform a duo gig with Claire Hastings.
Along with all the fun happening at Celtic Connections, I’m also continuing my residency at Bar Bloc in Glasgow, where I join Laura-Beth Salter, Adam Sutherland and Steve Forman to jam our favourite songs and tunes. I’ll be there 14th, 21st and 28th from 9:30pm – midnight. Not sure who will be joining me yet, as Adam, LB and Steve probably have a pretty busy January lined up too.
Ending Celtic Connections and taking me (probably limping somewhat by this point) into February is another fab gig with Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton! They have some brilliant plans up their sleeves, performing with the SYMBIOSIS Big Band, which includes Ross Wilson, Fiona Hunter, Martin O’Neill, Duncan Lyall, Paul Jennings, Patsy Reid, Greg Lawson, Seonaid Aitken & Megan Henderson. I’m on tour with Ross, Ali, producer / engineer Andrea Gobbi and drummer Paul Jennings for most of March,