Duncan’s Blog – November 2019

Goodness, has it been a year since I last posted here? No excuses – and no more promises to keep it more regularly updated, I’m just paving the streets of Hell. I’m sorry too that it took me weeks (and even months) to discover a few lovely comments that had been left on the site. I replied as soon as I saw them, but no one got back to me afterwards. Quite right to be in the huff with me, I’m very sorry….please don’t let it stop you from contacting me!

Anyway, here goes for my 2019 ramblings….

It’s been quite a quiet year for gigs. I got a bit fed up with contacting promoters, clubs and venues and getting no reply, so I just decided to accept the gigs that came in…..hence the quiet year!! I can never understand why promoters can’t take tow minutes out of their lives to acknowledge the artists who contact them (I speak to many artists who get p*ssed off with the lack of courtesy). I never send out generic emails, preferring the personal approach, so it can be a bit galling to be ignored. If your calendar is full for the next year, that’s fine – just say so! If you don’t want to book us, that’s fine also, as long as you tell us a nice wee white lie :)!

2020 is already looking busier that the whole of this year, so I’m hoping we’ll end up with one of our busiest years for live work. Try to get along to see us if you can.

Recording-wise, Cy and I are currently working on a library project of French and Italian TV/film music, which is being recorded at Chem 19 Studios later this month, and my fantastic record label, Greentrax, are releasing a Christmas single “Resurrection Road’, taken from the latest album ‘Land of Gold’. This is our own song, and its alternative title is ‘The Clydeside Carol’. The song reflects on the lives of the homeless people on our streets at Christmas, and how they often experience a small spike in everyone’s kindness at this time of the year. Maybe a fiver instead of £1 or 50p from passers-by, or maybe lunches or dinners, run by good-hearted folk in Santa hats and so on. The festive season passes, though, and the early months of the new year can be unimaginably cold and miserable. I sang the song at Newcastle Cathedral last December, alongside Lindisfarne’s Billy Mitchell, and a wonderful choir. I’ll never forget the experience. On the Greentrax single, I’m joined by my dear pal Rab Noakes, who sings lead vocal in the second verse, and the instrumental arrangement of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ is beautifully played by the wonderful Chris Stout and Finlay Macdonald. Proceeds will be going to homeless charity Shelter. Please have a listen when it becomes available at the start of December, and download it if you like it.

Anyway, stay warm and safe this Winter, and have a great festive season. For many, it’ll be a struggle, just like the rest of the days of the year. Try to think of them when you go to vote on 12th December.

Love and best wishes

Duncan x

Duncan’s Blog – November/December 2018

Hello – back on the blog after the usual ridiculous delay.

We’ve had a few nice gigs, and the new album ‘Land of Gold’ has been selling well. Not easy shifting CDs these days, so pretty happy with the sales so far. It’s recently become available for download and streaming, and I really ought to start promoting it on social media. I find keeping Facebook and other platforms up to date pretty tedious, but I don’t do it, no one else will, I suppose. Watch this space….

The reviews have been really good, and I still think it’s the best album yet – I’m allowed to say that, as I’m only comparing it with my own previous releases!

I played my first solo charity gig in September for the Friendship Circle, in Milngavie Town Hall. I was far more nervous than I would have been at band performances, without Cy or the others there to boost the music and my confidence, but it was huge fun. The audience danced, cheered and sang along, and it was an opportunity for me to sing lots of songs I wouldn’t usually have the chance to. Breakaway Blues, anyone? It was also a chance to try out our new PA system – something we’ve needed for a long time. We’ll be able to play more small venues now that we’re self-sufficient.

Highlight of the last couple of months was my home concert in Gartmore Village Hall. Cy and I were joined by our pals Chris Stout and Fraser Speirs, and Australian-based husband and wife duo Neil Adam and Judy Turner, and it was one of the most enjoyable gigs I can remember. Jim was feeling unwell and couldn’t make it, but Chris, Finlay and Cy stepped up to the plate and played their hearts out, and the atmosphere on stage was wonderful. A real treat for me, and the audience seemed to have a great time, too.

Next project is to update and revise the website. I’ve already had a couple of photo sessions with Dave Arcari at Loch Lomond and with Steve Niblock in Arrochar. Dave’s going to be refurbishing the site for me, and he’s one of the best there is, so hopefully this will be the last blog on the ‘old’ site.

November hasn’t been all good, unfortunately. My dear pal Trevor Jenkins passed away from a heart attack in his early fifties. Trevor was a much-loved part of the music publishing scene, and as Head of Music at both Boosey & Hawkes and Music Sales he commissioned TV and film music from me and Cy. Over the twenty-five years I knew him, he became a real friend, and we spoke and met up as often as we could. Trevor was running his own publishing company, OPM, at the time of his passing, and he was loved and respected by many, many people.

Anyway, take care of yourselves and those you love, and I hope you have a happy and peaceful festive season. Hope to see many of you in 2019.

Cheers

Duncan x