Duncan’s Blog – October/November 2014

Well, October came and went. Highlights, musically, were taking part in the ‘Noufest’ tribute to the life and work of Naomi Mitchison in Campbeltown, and a rare solo gig at the fantastic Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir, sharing the bill with my great pal Dave Arcari. The Gallery has a strict ‘acoustic only’ policy, so it was a scary one for me, having neither the comfort of a PA system or the support of Cy. He and I are joined at the hip musically, and I’ve rarely played anywhere without him being there. I needn’t have worried though, as the small crowd (it was sold out, with a capacity of less than 30!) were brilliant, joining in and making both Dave and I feel that we were singing to a room full of old pals.

The rest of the month was mostly work and no play, but the Indian Summer and the fabulous autumn colours made it a good ‘un. We had all sorts of plans to visit Skye and to have a couple of weekends away in the camper van, but as usual life got in the way, and the van is now off the road for Winter, and has reverted to its role as office and home studio for a few months.

In an attempt to improve our marketing efforts, we commissioned Buzz Media for a photoshoot and to design posters, flyers and web applications for us. Cy, Jim and I met with Dave from Buzz in Helensburgh on what must have been the wettest day for months. We looked like drowned rats walking down the pier trying to look cool, and it’s a tribute to Buzz that the end product came out so well. It’s the same Dave Arcari mentioned earlier – one of Scotland’s most talented blues singers, but also an absolute master of social media and artwork design & production. Highly recommended to anyone looking for help with marketing and promotion – dave@radiotones.com will get you to him.

November has been brilliant, though. It started with a week of glorious sunshine in Lanzarote, and I returned all fired up and looking forward to four gigs. First was Stonehouse Folk Club in Lanarkshire – just our luck to be playing on the same night of the Scotland v Ireland game, and the Children in Need TV marathon, however a nice wee crowd of folk came along and made it a great wee night for us.

A ‘McGinn Seeger’ night in Berwick-upon-Tweed got cancelled, unfortunately, but Cy and I took the duo set to the Corran Halls in Oban as part of the Noufest event during the Oban Winter Festival. It was just a beautiful early winter evening…the concert was great, playing alongside our pals the Twisted Melons and after a fabulous short play based on Naiomi’s work ‘Return of the Alban’, performed by Jane Dunbar and Shelagh Cameron, with stunning archive footage of West Coast fishing scenes presented by Lachie Paterson. It was really just a party with good friends, and we loved every minute of it. Poignantly, the date – 22nd November – was also the 24th anniversary of the sinking of the Carradale trawler ‘Antares’ by a submarine snagging her nets. We sang ‘Surf and the Silver Fishes’, which we wrote in tribute back in early 1991, which even more emotional than it usually does.

A bit more marketing is required, of course, so we decided to set up a Duncan McCrone Band Facebook page. This is live now, but still very much work in progress, but we’re already up to over 350 ‘likes’, which seems to be the important thing. Please tell your friends to drop by and like it!

I rarely get colds and the like, but I got hit by an absolute whopper five days before our last gig of the month in Teviothead, a brilliant wee village hall in the Borders, some ten miles south of Hawick. For the first time in my entire life I thought that I might have to cancel – mainly because I almost completely lost my voice. I can’t explain how stressed I got about this – we had really, really been looking forward to it, and knew that a fair few folk had already arranged to come along. In the event, I opted for chemical warfare…I spent over £35 on decongestants, throat pastilles, snotter-looseners and Manuka honey, which, I have to tell you, is more expensive than malt whisky.

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