Off to Print!

Hello luminous beings of the Multiverse,

I hope you’re all surviving out there?! These are uncertain times in which we’re navigating. I am one of many, many people that have recently lost most, if not all, of their work for the year. The ongoing situation has effected gigging, touring and teaching. It’s turned our wee world upside down, creating financial strain and robbing us of the ability to create and share with each other. We’ve had to find new ways of working, most of which has involved moving our work online. This has led to us having to learn skills that may be completely alien and way out of our comfort zone. It’s amazing to see so many fellow musicians facing these challenges head on and finding new ways to traverse these murky waters.

There is a massive positive side to all of this. Some of us have been able to spend quality time with loved ones. It has shone a light on how little time our hectic lives allow for us to do so. This time together will hopefully strengthen bonds and perhaps allow us to rethink how we go about our lives moving forward. Working from home, through the use of technology, can provide a way for us to enjoy the best of both worlds……. eventually.

I’ve managed to create a flow and a pace that I feel is more in balance with my mental health and well being. I’m spending most of my time working on tune writing and building music! It has become my main workload, which I am very grateful for. It’s not the worst way to be spending this time. I’ve been writing tune commissions for people, this has allowed me to work on my writing and push myself in different directions. It’s important when writing music to use musical devices to help discover new melodies, whether it be playing around with time signatures, keys, intervals or space. I’m very fortunate that I can be learning whilst working. Sometimes we forget to do the former, LEARN! I’m sure we’ve all learned to do things that we didn’t think we were capable of?!

I’ve found time and energy to spend on the many things that get swept under the carpet. We don’t always find time to give to our own music, to our own passion projects. So, I think of this as a wee gift within the darkness. A moment to focus on the things that have been sitting on my shoulders for a long time. It has granted all of us that freedom. The freedom to experiment, find sound, create new melodies, enjoy silence, search for common ground in others, find new musical connections and dive deep into what drew us into this world in the first place……..the music!!

One of the things I’ve found myself working on is a tune book. It’s something that I’ve considered for a while but never had the time, or the headspace to get into. To be honest, this blog was supposed to be a post about the tune book……I’ve found myself on a wee detour………ach well! I was encouraged by Davie Hunter, not long after lockdown began, to get on the case. Well, I’m now very excited to let you all know that the book has finally gone off to print. This wasn’t an easy journey by any means. I definitely underestimated the time and effort that goes into putting a book together. I had the tunes written out of course, but in a million different formats……..different sizes, spacing, fonts etc. They were all over the place! I did come close to pressing the eject button a few times. Instead of driving myself to the brink, I decided to ask for help. Yup, I reached out to some friends and asked for help. Another thing which I think we sometimes forget to do……simply ask for help. You’ll be surprised by the fact that people really do want to answer the call. So, I made contact with my pal and fellow Perthshire born musician, Patsy Reid! Patsy is a genius, a monster musician, composer and an incredibly beautiful person. She was quickly appointed editor in chief and soon began work on the layout of the tunes. We all have different ways of writing out music. This can vary between musical genres and also between instruments. I needed someone to help me make some crucial decisions! Patsy has been invaluable throughout this process. I cannot find a way to thank her enough. I imagine I’ll probably be on the rounds for the rest of our days…….that I can do! There are others that went above and beyond. Of course, Davie Hunter. Davie is responsible for the overall design and layout of the book. He has become the go to guy, especially within the piping community. He’s produced books for the Gordon Duncan trust, Fred Morrison, Roddy MacDonald, Ross Ainslie and many others. I also had three of the piping worlds finest, John Mulhearn, Ross Ainslie and Lorne MacDougall, on proof reading duties. Marissa Waite was the technical wizard behind the setup of my online shop. She sorted out my website so that I could take pre orders. Marissa is a creative force! Not only is she a giant when it comes to web designing and technical stuff, she’s an incredible musician and master bodhran player! Then there was Brother Paul Jennings. Paul very recently relocated back to Scotland after a ten year stop off in the US! To say we missed him would be an understatement. Since he’s been back we’ve toured together, laughed together and snored together. As well as being an incredible drummer and Olympic snorer, he is a great photographer and videographer. The pictures on the cover of the book were taken by Paul, for that I am incredibly thankful! I’m just sorry that he didn’t have a more photogenic subject to work with! A big thanks also goes out to Susan Whyte and Jacky Pankhurst. They both helped out with all of the blurb in the book. They turned the ramblings of a clown into some sort of sense…..I hope! All of these incredible people, these immensely talented people have helped bring this book into the world!! And of course, last but not at the bottom of the pile of importance are all of the folk that had the faith to pre order the book. You helped turn a thought into reality. Thank you to you all from the bottom of my heart!

If you’re interested in knowing more about these extraordinary human beings, you can follow these links and check out their work………

You can order the book from here……

Peace oot a’bdy! Stay safe! ❤️

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