Jim's General

15th of March

by on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

oban muss
Hello folks,  had a wonderful gig on Saturday over on the West Coast. Matthew and Yvonne Anderson put on a house concert at their beautiful place at Kilmelford, a few miles south of Oban (see below).  It was very well attended and the local folkies really know their stuff! Many thanks to the Anderson family. Here we are at the ferry terminal in Oban grabbing a few mussels from the handy seafood shack. Oban was the scene of an amusing Guy Fawkes incident back in 2011 when an entire firework display went off in just 30 seconds – see “The Oban Community Fireworks Fiasco” on youtube. On the right is the Corryvreckan restaurant named after the infamous local whirlpool (a song about which is on my latest cd – plugity-plug!) the round structure at the top of the town is McCaigs Folly, built by locals during a slump in the fishing industry back in the nineteenth century. There’s nothing new about work creation schemes.

The lovely Melfort House, an upmarket guest house which looks out across Loch Melford. Serene and close to lots of great places to visit, we recommend it as a base for sightseeing around Oban. Yvonne and Matthew, thanks for being such wonderful hosts!
Sandy took this arty black and white shot of the ‘Bridge across the Atlantic’ between the mainland and the isle of Seil. It crosses a narrow strait that looks in certain tidal conditions like it continues indefinitely in either direction. The first building you come to on the Island of Seil is called ‘Tigh an Truish’ meaning ‘The House of the Trousers’. During the period after the Battle of Culloden when Highland dress was illegal, the islanders defiantly continued to wear their plaids but changed into trousers just before they left the island…



5th of February

by on Friday, February 5th, 2016

Hi folks, I’m back home in Perth. I had to leave the US tour I was on for family health reasons. Things have improved since I returned home, but it looks as if I will be staying in Scotland for the rest of the year. I am very sorry to have let down so many lovely folks who have supported me over the years, but for the next wee while I need to be a lot closer to home.
Susie and I are very much looking forward to leading our scheduled trips around Scotland later this year and are busy making them extra special – I’ve just finished buying the whisky (it’s stellar!)
I am considering working on a series of podcasts over the coming months, which I hope will be of interest especially to those folks who have become used to me pitching up in their neck of the woods. Yours in music, Jim

21st of January

by on Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Orange dis-lodge! I’m Naval gazing at my great friend Scottish Sue’s hoose in Poway, Southern California. Breakfast was fresh oranges and toast with Dundee marmalade, from the Caledonian Californian Sue. Had a reasonably straightforward trip out to start my tour tomorrow. El Nino has made it look as green here as I’ve seen it in many years….

13th of January

by on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Susie and I attended the funeral of our great musical hero Andy M.Stewart on Monday in Edinburgh. It was a moving event with some wonderful stories especially from Andy’s Silly Wizard days. Here is a snap of some of the surviving members of the band who gathered to celebrate his life. His music lives on and boy did he write some great songs…
Sloped off to the slopes at Glenshee today, the first time in a very late starting season. It was perfect day to see if I could still ride a snowboard, with only a few falls and nothing injured but my pride.
I spotted a snowy hare near the top of a mountain. It seemed not to mind all the commotion going on around it with skiers zooming about..
Have my first real gig of the year on Friday at Celtic Connections in Glasgow. I’m playing at the Piping Centre which is a great venue. It will be a good warm up gig for my US tour which starts next week in San Diego..if El Nino hasn’t washed it away!

2nd of January

by on Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Happy New Year everyone. I am just recovering from the festivities of the season and knuckling down to a number of resolutions that are bound to fall by the wayside as quickly as ever! I had a great Hogmanay gig at the Dunkeld Hilton, singing with a smashing band – Pete Clark and Jen Knussen on fiddles, Gregor Lowrey on accordion, Steve Gillies on guitar, Eric Knussen on bass and Graham Mulholland on pipes and whistles.
Like many folkies all over the world Susie and I were very sorry to hear about the passing of one of Scotland’s most beloved singer/songwriters – Andy M. Stewart. Andy had been suffering from poor health for quite some time and it has been couple of years since we last saw him. We very very honoured to have organised one of his last ever public performances in Glasgow where he had us all both spellbound and in stitches with his songs and patter. The snaps are from his songbook which he signed and presented to us – a wonderful collection of his original songs and Scottish favourites that he popularised. As a troubador myself I am often regaled with stories of Andy’s travels and exploits particularly in America. Like me he was a keen fisherman, the beautiful Valley of Strathmore is a song I often sing whilst casting across the Perthshire streams he fished as a lad. He brought a great deal of pleasure to a great many people and left the culture of Scotland very much enriched. Thanks for all the music, Andy.
Perhaps my favourite lines of all songs…