Long May You Run: A 70th Birthday Celebration Of Neil Young

I had a brilliant time being part of this concert last Sunday in Aberdeen. Here’s everybody gathered together, post-finale! Thanks to Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire for organising it and being such a top house band.

L-R: Andy (RHLF), Scott (RHLF), Roddy, Tommy Reilly, Scott (RHLF), Justin Currie, Rab Noakes, Eddi Reader, Louis Abbott, me, Emma Pollock, Blue Rose Code, Withered Hand, Zervas and Pepper, John (RHLF) and Gordon (RHLF). A privilege to share the stage with them all.

Long May You Run bow

Photo (c) Andy Thorn

Wildings album release and launch dates

The debut album from Wildings is out now! Currently available in digital format from bandcamp and iTunes. We’ll be able to bring you news of a CD release in the not too distant future, too…

Wildings Album Cover

To celebrate, we’re playing a couple of launch shows in October:

1st – White Room, Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham – tickets
13th – The Hug and Pint (with Jenn Butterworth & Laura-Beth Salter), Glasgow – tickets

It’s been a long time in the making, and we’re really excited to be able to share it with you all.

Tinto Summer School, RCS Popular Music Short Course, Folkworks Junior Summer School

A couple of weeks ago I made my first visit to the Tinto Summer School – in the lovely surroundings of Wiston Lodge – teaching flute and whistle, and mixed instrument group alongside Dave Milligan. It was a totally brilliant week: a funny, inspirational and generous group of young people, great team of staff and tutors, fancy dress ceilidh, the infamous Room Tidy, sessions, assorted confectionery… We finished on the Friday with a sharing concert; you can listen to performances from all the groups here. Thanks to Hands Up For Trad and everyone involved for a great week!

I’ve also been tutoring on the inaugural Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Popular Music Short Course over the past few days, with Phil and Louis from AF and Graeme Smillie (of Olympic Swimmers and The Vaselines fame). We’ve been working on cover versions and brand new original songs, arrangement and accompaniment, delving into the songwriting process, plus plenty of discussion on career options, life as a musician, recording, show production and the wider music industry. Tomorrow I’m doing a vocal workshop which will hopefully cover some diverse ground and get everyone singing (and I’m going to sneak a Joe Heaney recording in too…)

Then in August it’s back to join the team on the Folkworks Junior Summer School. This’ll be my third year in a row and it’s always a joy. My fellow tutors this year are Jim Molyneux, Ruth Ball, David Wood and Miranda Rutter. There are still places left at the Youth Summer School: do not delay!

Alistair Anderson & Northlands

Over the past few months I’ve been spending a bit more time in Northumberland, rehearsing with a brand new band, Alistair Anderson & Northlands. Sophy Ball, Ian Stephenson, Alistair and I have been really enjoying putting together some songs and tunes with a North East of England flavour, and we’re playing our first ever concert this Thursday 16th July in Allendale Village Hall. We’ll also be appearing at Whitby Folk Week on Friday 28th August – more info on that one soon.

City To City Poetry

Last week I was involved in a brand new project with Highlight Arts and the British Council, as part of the Alchemy Festival in Glasgow and London.

Three poets from Lahore (Kishwar Naheed, Afshan Sajjad and Khalid Javaid Jan) and four from Glasgow (Jim Carruth, Vicki Husband, Kathrine Sowerby and Gerry Cambridge) workshopped and created new translations (or ‘transcreations’) of each other’s work. Meanwhile, Sara Kazmi and I were in the next room bringing together a musical collaboration using songs, text and tunes from our respective folk and lyrical traditions. We performed at the Mitchell Library and Southbank Centre, and had a wonderful time. I loved singing with Sara! Plans are afoot for a project reunion. Thanks to everyone involved for a great week, and fingers crossed it’s not too long until the next time.


March happenings

It’s been a busy old month. First up were Admiral Fallow’s three album preview shows in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. It felt great to play the new songs live and be touring again (even though it was only for three days this time around). Here‘s a lovely review of the Manchester gig.

Then I spent a week in Northumberland playing ten solo concerts in care homes and day centres for the Live Music Now scheme – lots of lovely moments, singing, percussion, foot tapping and dancing!

Live Music Now

I arrived back in Glasgow on 14th March, and rehearsals began in earnest the following day for The Glasgow New Music Expedition‘s first launch concert at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. With Richard Greer as Artistic Director and Jessica Cottis at the conducting helm, we premiered six new works by Scottish-based composers last Saturday night. Here‘s a positive and thoughtful piece from Ken Walton about the ensemble and its first outing.

It was then time to put the final touches to the setlist for my first solo headline gig in a while, which took place at The Music Hub, Penicuik. Organised by Burnt Out Records, a music label and promotions agency run by pupils from Penicuik High School, it was a really lovely night. The whole team did a great job. Special thanks to Sophie Burt, Holly Taylor and Caitlin Andrew for performing too!