Waur hae I been!!Β 

The last month or so has been pretty full on. I spent the best part of a month in the US with the Old Blind Dogs. A grand return was made by founding member, and fiddler, Sir Jonny Hardie. Its been 6 years since jonny was last out thanks to an immigration hiccup! Something which really should have been sorted a long time ago. But, as the world continues to change, become more insular, and paranoid, it became harder to fix. Thankfully, it has now been sorted, and he’s free to travel to the US (touch wood, fingers crossed….!) We had a brilliant tour. Sharing good times, and music with friends old and new. Including the monkey πŸ’. More about him later. We flew from Glasgow to Amsterdam to Chicago, on a 747 Jumbo Jet. Now this is, well, was a childhood dream of mine, until I grew this turbulent relationship with flying. SORRY for that one!!! I used to be amazed by these big tin birds. Dragging their massive behinds 30 odd thousand feet into the blue yonder. Now fear has replaced fascination, so, as we pulled up to the gate I had mixed emotions about entering this behemoth. However, as I’ve noticed, the bigger the bird, the smoother she does glide!! And there’s lots of room, and free drink. It was great to finally stare out the windows and once again, admire the snowy white blanket below. It is an incredibly beautiful experience when calm. Allowing your thoughts to imagine the possibilities of a world where kindness, and acceptance prevail! 

We began in Wisconsin, at the hilltop bar. A cool, wacky wee venue. Irish bar, Gig venue, Cheese packing plant!! Aye, that’s what i said! πŸ§€ 

We then played a gig in Chicago, and then headed onto Muskegon Irish Festival! Which was a hella good fun. We caught up with the guys from Lunasa. Thanks for the confectionary Ed. It certainly sent me in another direction. I also managed to partake in my favourite festival sport….Steal a golf car!!! 

‘Twas grand so. No one tell them we were from Scotland!!! 🀘

Next stop was Colorado for the Spanish Peaks Festival. A great festival in a dusty wee town near the Spanish peaks mountain range. We’ve done this Festival before and had a total ball! The organisers are beautiful, kind souls. One of whom touched my heart with his kind words. A moment not to be spoiled by splurging it on social media. We had tunes, and carry one with some amazing pals, Paddy Keenan, Kevin Burke, The Screaming Orphans, Tadgh o’ Meachair, and many others. It’s a very special place to be!!

I even tricked the Drumster into a spot of “moving your legs quickly, in a direction for a prolonged amount of time”…..!!!’

We then flew to San Jose, California where we stayed with our good friends, Pete and Linda Haworth. These guys are some of the most kind, and generous folk you’ll meet. Natives to Blackburn, Pete and Linda decided to move to the states, and eventually take up residency in Santa Cruz. They open their home to us, feed us, and look after us when we’re in the area. No amount of thanks can compensate for their generosity.  ETERNAL thanks Pete and Linda.

We played a show for them in Santa Cruz, then carried on up through California. Mostly along the coast which is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Bring a tear to a glass ‘een, as my Grandad used to say! Stunning. Here’s a few shots from along the way…….,

Lastly we moved through Oregon, up into Washington where we did a few shows on the last leg. Once again we were looked after by some extremely beautiful, and generous folk. It always amazes me how people over there are so generous with their homes, and their time and energy. I can’t think of anywhere else I’ve been where people are so open and kind. The 12 hour drive from Cali up to Oregon was mind blowing. We drive down a massive ridge, through towering giant redwoods, into valleys of crystal blue rivers, fresh air that you can taste, and miles of autumnal colours. It was truly awe inspiring. 

Here’s the last burst of photos from our stateside adventure….

We landed back and went straight back into gig mode, no time for a good dose of the jetlag! Right into a gig in Edinburgh with L’Aventurra London and Siobhan Miller. This is the collaborative project with which we perform music from William Thomsons, Orpheus Caledonius (1725). 

The next day I headed up to Skye with Gary Innes, Duncan lyall, and Steve Byrnes for an ERA gig……..and the Ultimate, untouchable version of the Caman man. Well done to Gary. A bravery medal is deserved. You are Our Hero! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And NOW, I’m on tour with Ross, Jenn Butterworth and Andrea…..and Marty boy for 1. I always love getting back into our music. It’s a lot of fun, a lot of shit chat and laughs. It’s a bit of a therapeutic gig. It involves a lot of calm, soothing music which I welcome with open arms after a month of finger breaking, hell for leather, kennel music. Although I love both, they provide different kinds of release and satisfaction. Oh aye, Jenn is rocking it!! And she drives, and she has a camera to record the gigs. She’s absolutely nailing it!! Findhorn, Ullapool and Glassel so far. Down south tomorrow. Starting in Liverpool, Bristol, Bury and then London. Check out the dates at https://m.facebook.com/rossandali/?locale2=en_GB or Twitter @RossAndAli

It would be lovely to see y’all!!  Yeeeeeeeeeeeehaw!! 🀘🀘🀘πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯


Scots Trad Awards 2017

Hey there. Just to let you all know, the Old Blind Dogs album, ‘Room with a View’ has been long listed for album of the year. You can vote for it, and all of your other favourite acts over at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/tradawards2017

Categories you could nominate us for are Folk Band of the year, Instrunentalist of the year, Composer of the year, Best live act, and Scots singer of the year!!


Seeing Mist!! A Highland Adventure.

I’m just back from a wee tour of the heilands with the master of highland music, Duncan Chisholm. Completing the trio was the highly unregulated, Dr Jarlath Henderson. We played 3 shows as part of the Blas Festival, a festival promoting Gaelic culture, music and tradition. We had the great honour of sharing the stage with the incredible, Misha Macpherson trio, consisting of 4 musicians?!?!? An awesome 3 for 1 deal considering the musicians she had performing along side her. Her voice is beautiful, and she was stunningly accompanied by Innes White, Megan Henderson and Alistair Paterson. This will surely be an album worth waiting for. 

We performed together in Lochinver, Gairloch and Skye. Two places of which I don’t think I’ve ever been to, which might be due to the fact that I wasn’t always aware of where I was back in the day. Soooooo, perhaps I have been……doesn’t matter, I won’t forget these visits. The gigs were lovely. Warm audiences, unbelievable hospitality and all round great craic. My one regret though is that I didn’t try one of the famous Lochinver pies…….due to a supposed diet that I’m supposedly on!!! So, that’s where I’ve been over the last few days. It’s always a great honour to play with Dunc. If you ever have the chance to catch one of his gigs, you really should. It’s a thing of extreme beauty. I’m not speaking of the guitar either!!! If you can’t get to see him, check out his albums. Masterful, peaceful, and full of emotion. Here’s where you can find him…….http://www.duncanchisholm.com

Summer time and the weather is Dodgy!!!! Festivals n’ aw that!

Summers on its way……or has it been and gone? It’s hard to tell these days now that the climate has been completely destroyed. Not that climate change is a real thing. Ask yer man Trump!!

Anyway, on a more positive note. The games are about to begin. Gigging season’s kicking off, and there’s fun to be had. Right now I’m on a train with Ross and Jar, heading to Ely Folk Festival. I foresee manys a pint and a chortle. You can see from this photo that the craic is ramping up, and IT IS mighty!!

Next week I’ll be heading south again to Cheltenham festival, then Petworth festival for some Early music action with the Old Blind Dogs and L’Avventura London. I’ll be rocking a lute and bagpipe duet. Frilly’s on and all that.

And then, straight out to Tiree on the Sunday for a gig with the MIGHTY Gary Innes. Scotland’s only musician to have a serious athletic career. That’s a rare combo.

Then it goes haywire……..out to Montelago Festival with Ross, and TO. Cannae wait for this. It looks absolutely stunning. A Beautiful setting in the mountains. 

Then I leave straight after TO have blared our final note. On to a plane over to Wickham festival, and then Sidmouth festival with the beautiful, Duncan Chisholm band. This is one of life’s joys playing in this band. Duncs been one of my heros for years. His band, Wolfstone greatly inspired my career choice. I have you to blame Dunc!! Thank you!!

Then back on a plane the next day all the way to Lorient for the festival interceltique. It happens to be the year of Scotland this year so there will be a full on Scottish invasion. In the words of Ross Couper…..”what could possibly go wrong?”…..”What could possibly go right?” me thinks!!! 

Our first concert is the Gordon Duncan concert. This is a concert celebrating the man and his music. Gordon had such a big presence out in Lorient, attending the festival many times, and winning the MacAllan trophy twice. The concert includes a host of amazing musicians, Xose Manuel Tejedor, Bruce Macgregor, Herve la floch, Calum Stewart, and many more.

So, that’s the first burst of madness to hit us head on like a runaway train. I’ll keep yis posted as it all unravels……or as I unravel……ain o the twa!!!!

Stay classy!! Ali

Follow me over on Twatter…@AlihuttonPipes

Whit’s dain!!

Thought I’d post a wee ‘whit’s dain’ whilst a wait for the butternut squash and sweet potatoes to roast…………

As I lunge head on into a unique, and entirely rare 9 days off, I thought I’d remind myself, and inform yourselves of what’s been happening!! 9 days off in reality isn’t exactly that. I have no gigs, or no studio work to do. That, these days, justifies time off I guess. 

First off, I immensely enjoyed doing a wee gig with the Rura boys on the beautiful island of Jura. It was Jura Tastival 2017, the Jura whisky festival. Which didn’t turn out to be as messy as it could have. The tunes were banging (so was Marty the sound guy), the whisky cocktails were refreshing, and the meat feast dinner was incredible. Thanks again to the Rura lads, my heroes, for having me along whilst Steven was preparing for the wedding of a lifetime! Congratulations to Steven and Mikaela. I hope their day is lovely and memorable. You can check the guys out over on their website and also purchase their insanely produced album, Despite the Dark, here ……..http://www.rura.co.uk/shop/

So, my 9 days off πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚, also includes writing at least 12 tune commisions. This is part of the Old Blind Dogs Pledge Campaign. The Pledge Campaign is how we helped fund the making of our recent album, Room With A View. Which is out to buy now. You can get this from our website…..https://www.oldblinddogs.co.uk/listen

I don’t know how much of these 9 days will actually involve some of the other stuff that life affords…..like leaving the house?!? Oh aye, I have a tattoo appointment during my holidays. I’ll be getting more of my sleeve done. Nothing like a bit of excruciating pain to cheer you up!!! Grrrrrreat!! I’ll post the bloody progress when I’m done.

I will manage to get out I hope. I’m eyeing up a few Munros and a couple of good days of cycling. Hopefully this will realign the turmoil, and insanity that’s been swirling in my brain. I highly recommend getting out into the hills. Especially as we have one of the most glorious countries beneath our feet. It does wonders for the head, and helps realign your thoughts. Much needed for many musicians. It’s a turbulent world we live in…….and also glorious. It has its moments. 

Well, I’ve spilled my thoughts. Enjoy the good weather. Get out, and feel good! Preserve your sanity!!! πŸ™ƒ Peace

Endorsement deal with Ashbury InstrumentsΒ 

I recently partnered with the guys at Ashbury instruments. I’ve been playing the Tenor guitar as part of myself and Ross’ gig since the release of Symbiosis. It’s become an important weapon in my arsenal. I was first introduced to Ashbury Tenor guitars by Duncan lyall. He had one on loan from the mighty Damien o’ Kane. I remember playing it and falling in love with the sound immediately. The model was made from Sapele wood. It had a really rich, warm sound. The treble didn’t jump out. It was really smooth. Great for strumming and picking. I recorded Symbiosis with this model, and have been gigging it (courtesy of Andrea Gobbi) ever since.

 So I decided to approach Ashbury about an endorsement deal. The guys were very kind and agreed to partnering up. This was brilliant news. It’s really rewarding forming these relationships and promoting people’s instruments. If you believe in the product, it’s very beneficial to both parties. People ask about your instruments all the time at gigs. Why not point them in the direction of instrument makers that you’ve developed a relationship with?!? Adam, at Hobgoblin, advised me to go for the Lindisfarne model. It has a solid cedar top, and Koa back and sides. It also comes with a built in fishman pickup, which I’m yet to road test. It’s has a brighter sound than the Sapele model, but it’s just as lovely sounding. It projects the sound far better because of this more present top end. This increase in treble is obviously to do with the type of wood and finish. It’s a very beautiful sounding instrument. It looks stunning too! If you’re looking for a great sounding tenor guitar, for a reasonable price. I would highly recommended either of these models. 
Here’s a few pics………