As always, its been no easy task to re-adapt to Austin in
summer after the pleasure of being in the cool (sometimes rainy,
sometimes crystal clear; but never hot) weather of Scotland....and as
always, I feel like part of me is still over there on the golf course,
hiking the Border hills or sitting in on an Edinburgh pub session.
The route for this year's Folksong Tour of Scotland
was the same as last year, and was equally as successful. We enjoyed
what everyone in Scotland described as "miraculously good" weather, not
hot; but sunny and crystal clear day after day. As always, we were
entertained and kept in order by our trusty guide Charles Hunter and
of by driver Ian Cowie. Our evening performers included Iain Fraser,
John Nicol, Ian Anderson & Gordon Kelly; Charlie Milne & George
Archibald; Pete Clark; Jim & Susie Malcolm; Janet
Weatherston and Scott Gardiner - the only disappointment was that
Margaret Bennett was unable to join us after breaking a leg 2 days
before she was due to meet us in Oban. We wish her a speedy recovery.
The tour featured 2 nights each in Peebles,
Troon, Isle of Mull, Blair Atholl and Edinburgh. I stayed on after the
tour and Nora and Maggie joined me for time in Scotland visiting friends
and family, and in Amsterdam to see my older daughter Anna.
During my last week over the water, I performed at a
couple of folk clubs in the Edinburgh area. I confess to having been a
bit nervous at the thought of singing for Scottish audiences for the
first time in ages; but the folks at Balerno FC and Corstorphine could
not have been more welcoming and supportive. It did my heart good, as
did attending the first Falkland (Fife) Folk Festival and hearing many
old (and I mean old) friends singing in informal sessions.
Next year's Folksong Tour (June 8-18 2014) will be a
new venture with an almost totally different itinerary. We'll have 2
nights in Dunkeld and 1 in Ullapool before sailing across to the
Hebrides for 3 nights in Stornoway. Then back through the Isle of Skye
for 2 nights in the picturesque village of Plockton before finishing
with 2 nights in Edinburgh. This year's trip filled up before Christmas;
so if you are interested in coming in 2014, please get your application
forms in as early as possible.
(***Oct 12 2013 - Response for the 2014 tour has been amazing; to the
extent that the June 8-18 tour is now SOLD OUT. All I can promise those
who were planning to apply is that I'll put you on the waiting list to
be added to the group in the case of anyone cancelling. However,
if I do receive more than 20 more requests to come on the tour, I will
look into arranging a 2nd tour....although booking hotels at this stage
may mean a tour largely in the Lowlands, the Borders, Fife and the
In August, I played at the Grandfather
Mountain Highland Games in the
Blueridge Mountains of NC for the 22nd consecutive year...always a great
event, even if the weather in the mountains washed out everything on
Sunday. After that came the Oak Grove Festival in the Shenandoah Valley
of VA...it was again a delightful small festival in the woods near
Staunton and it was an honor to
share the bill with the likes of Tom Paxton and Robin & Linda
Williams. In complete contrast, I then had my first taste of the
biggest Celtic Festival in the country, the Milwaukee Irish Festival.
125,000 people over the weekend, dozens of stages from huge
amphitheatres to small intimate tents, and featuring everything from
booming folk-rock bands to quiet balladeers. For me the highlight was to
see the show put on by Galician piper/whistle-player/showman Carlos
Nunez and his wonderful band....what performers! and what musicians they
are, mixing music from Scotland, Ireland, Brazil and of course
September was my busiest month of the year, with trips
to Jackson MS, Tulsa OK, St Louis MO and my first time at the Sherwood
Forest Festival near Austin. Things are now quietening down until a
"Celtic Christmas" tour with Jil Chambless and Don Penzien in December.
Excuse the blatant advertizing; but I'm still available for Burns
Suppers in late January!
I hope you've made Sunday evenings a regular listening time for "Across the Water" It's from 6-8pm
Sundays (Central Time) and can be heard live anywhere on the web at KUTX.org (click on Listen Live).
the Water" features the folk
music of Scotland, Ireland and England along with its connections to
music in this country. We passed our 4th anniversary in March, and it's
always heart-warming to receive so many calls from listeners welcoming
mainly Celtic show, not to mention the great financial support during
our twice-yearly membership drive. The show often has
themes, from "the Irish
Experience in America," and "The songs of Ewan MacColl," to "songs
about birds" or "Transatlantic Connections - song versions from both
sides of the ocean."
other Sunday, I'll continue to host Folkways from 4-6pm,
alternating weeks with Kim Simpson. The request line is 512-471 2345.
** Please remember to support your local non-commercial radio station.
You will not hear folk music on commercial stations; only on GOOD,
non-commercial radio which is not consumed by the need to keep
shareholders happy by playing lowest-common-denominator music.
You can also help with promotion by requesting your local station to
play tracks by performers you like (hint hint, nudge nudge).
There is a order form in this web site for ordering all 9 CD's by mail using
a check, money order or credit card. CD's, however, are
also available from CDBaby.com
For ordering other peoples' CD's, if you don't like
I-Tunes, I would recommend going to the websites of Greentrax Records,
Compass Records or Coda Music (in Edinburgh)