Posted on 3 Comments

Family & Friends (love & hatred)

I’m not so naive that I cannot know that any relationship that matters will have its hard times, misunderstandings, disappointments, and even moments of enmity. But I’ve always presumed that we all grow (older and a bit more mature and experienced) and get a little bit more forgiving, understanding and thereby more loving.

Not, so far, has that been my experience. Hatred doubles down on itself and seeks its further justification for its energy. Hatred feeds on itself without trying, while love needs to be worked at. Hatred needs no effort – enduring love does. Why? Why is it easier to hate those you once counted on for love than try to reinvigorate the love that once was there and somehow lost – and then try to recover it? Why do we give up? What is it about us that we won’t try again? One… more… time. Would it be worth the effort?

Life is short. Love is long and hatred is easy.


Posted on 2 Comments

Website Update

I admit that I’ve left this place to gather dust and I apologise to you if you have tried to follow links that have progressively become broken or redundant over the past while. Anyway, I’ve spent some time repairing these and removing things that were out of date or no longer relevant and it should all work now.

In particular I have overhauled and brought up to date the notation and tabs to the songs on the CDs and some “Celtic” guitar things (edit: Celtic notation and tabs temporarily taken down for rework). I hope you will visit and enjoy these. I’ve also included links to my songs on Apple Music and Amazon Music. Also you’ll notice the Spotify widgets in the sidebar on the right!

I should have done all this ages ago but life got in the way.

I plan to make some more improvements as time allows.

Posted on Leave a comment

To my friends in Bielefeld

My website analytics service shows me that, by far, the most visits my site gets from Europe is from Bielefeld in Germany where in the 1970s I spent a lot of time playing and making friends. That cannot be a coincidence so I must conclude that I still have friends there who remember me and are at least curious enough to visit here.  To them, let me say again (because I’ve written about this elsewhere on this blog) that I remember you with fondness and think often of those golden days.

It would be a special pleasure for me if you would like to get in touch with me personally so that we can say “hello” again. If you would like that, please register / create an account here and leave a comment below and I will respond to your registered email address.



Posted on 8 Comments

Stoppin’ playin’

Well, kind of. It’s absolutely clear to me that doing a day-job in Aberdeen and my residency there during the week is incompatible with performing in Edinburgh – even at open mics and sessions at the weekends. My time when I’m at home in Edinburgh doesn’t allow practice and rehearsal time to do justice to playing out and about. I’ve experienced the discomfort of having to turn down a gig for lack of preparation and being just so damned tired and it’s really not the way I want to go. I hope to be able to come back to it when circumstances permit. I miss it.

Posted on 1 Comment

Authenticity in the Folk Music Tradition

What is this? Do we recognise it? I’ve heard rumours of musicians having been thrown out of sessions in Irish pubs because what they played wasn’t Irish enough. And that the display of a characteristic singing accent when rendering some northern English 19th century mining song is a badge of honour and evidence of authenticity of performance. Everything old-timey in the US is treated with nostalgic awe and reverence and with the utter conviction that the way things were played in the old days was the proper way – or, in any event, better. In all of this I smell a conservative tribalism and other instincts that make me queasy. It’s not a big step from sentimentalising the folk culture of a nation – or part of – and imagining a superiority in its “authentic” expression, to comparing others unfavourably to it.

But it might be that it is the taking a folk culture and corrupting it and making it “impure” by creating further Art from it that bestows upon it a lasting value.

When I’m too long in the company of “authentic” folk musicians I feel badly in need of fresh air!