Slovenia Ahoy - MaK Grobelno


Helloo you lovely lot! I'm gonna be down in Slovenia next Saturday at the beautiful MaK Festival in Grobelno...brilliant line-up and only my second time down that way and really looking forward to it all. Maybe even see a few faces I know? ! I'll also be kicking out a few tunes at The Golden Harp Landstraße next Friday too if yer in neighbourhood and if you're not, get in the neighbourhood!

Choo fir noo!

Germany Aufwiedersehens



Well, I may be a Scotsman in Vienna but somehow this wee nook of Germany is starting to feel a hell of a familiar…must be the company.

Two and a half lovely house concerts there with the mighty Shane Ó Fearghail lighting the way.

First to celebrate Guido & Bea’s birthday with a touch of go-karting where I was lapped by all but Sabine Mann (you’ll get the fiver later) and then at night to a beautiful beer hall surrounded by windmills to sing the pair of them into the next decade! Followed the next day by a beaut of a show in Menslage…you know we know who youse are :-)

A very special trip for a few reasons, aside from the birthday celebrations…there was a first and a last…

the first time my girlfriend Elisa (despite a belter of a timely cold) made it up with me to that neck of the woods and…

the last house concert at Mel and Ulf’s place in Niederkassel…I’ve been a part of their world for what must be a blink of an eye but made to feel part of the family from the very start….you’ve big hearts my friends!

Very humbled to have been part of the last show in that holy house and very much looking forward to playing any part in the new home in Brussels…fantastic shows and brilliant audiences as always…thank you on behalf of many, many musicians who’ve passed through your home over the years and been given so much love, respect and hospitality…youse are gems.

Vienna to Mallorca


Very late but then again I’ve always taken my sweet time to reflect.

Mallorca…you were beautiful! That was my first time playing out your way but I sincerely hope it won’t be the last. There’s a thriving wee music scene in Palma and I met some brilliant musos and cracking writers…it seems as if my host Dan Zelisko knows the lot…a blessing for myself just off the boat. Managed to see a touch of the island as well and absolutely breathtaking it was…Alba has competition :-)

Played some lovely shows in Inca, Sóller, Palma and a few bits and bobs too…I’d have said mainly Spanish audiences and I’d have said mainly my Spanish is rubbish but music always finds its way, even mine. Keep yer eyes peeled for a few videos will be on the way.

Special thanks to the man himself Dan Zelisko (who coincidentally has just released an album…check it on his website here, Món de Sons for all the organisation…they run a very tight ship, Marcus Stone and Emma Lohan it was my pleasure sharing a stage with youse (Emma also has an album coming out on 25.10…dinnae miss it!, Coworking Casa Planas, Dodepit, Sa Galeria CAN MARC…and to all the fantastically kind audiences…the experience will stay right with me.


P.s. Zelisko will be winging his way to Vienna in November…watch this space for details of his upcoming shows!




THANK YOU! The Soft Summer tour is over! It’s been a blast, about 5.500 km, six countries over six weeks about 20 shows from Carinthia to Zagreb, Vienna to Cologne, Alkmaar to Paris and back in a totsy wee motor ;-)
To everyone who listened, sang along, got up and jammed with me, put me up, boozed me up, booked me up and bought the albums, I can’t thank you enough!
Autumn tours are round the corner, as is the upcoming Schottenfest 2017, planning for the new album…lots to do and lots to look forward to!!!
The mind is willing to keep on rolling but the body is soft…I’m off to put my feet up next to a lake with my lassie and my guitar for a couple of weeks. Take care and see youse on the otherside…slán!




I'm alive! Wee tour has been a blast, one more show tonight in Salzburg at Celtic Spirit before I head back Vienna way and a few lovely gigs next week! I had lofty plans of resurrecting the blog this week but truth be told I was enjoying the journey too much to write, sometimes you just have to settle back and absorb! I'll write a wee blog when I'm back to bind them all and 'this' time I really mean it. In the meantime here's a few pics so far...and...A VERY HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY to all my Irish friends and family near and far, give it some welly the day!


It’s really happening now! Only ten days to go until the Schottenfest 2016 opens! Wow, so excited!
A very steep learning curve for ourselves at the Vienna Songwriting Circle, organising a festival for the first time but we’re picking it up as we go…old dogs and new tricks indeed. The count down is well and truly underway and the last tickets are still available here at knock yourselves out! Fantastic events and venues…no to mention great acts…looking forward to listening about as much as I am performing. We’ve been so stoked with the response and support we’ve received from Vienna for our festival and it bodes well for a very celtic weekend of music, poetry, literature and more than ever community!



The morning after the night before, well isn't it always?

Up and at 'em, Guido and Micha are up early doors as they've to hotfoot it back up the road, a quick brekky and offski. We take a more leisured approach to the day. Couching, reading, munching...Ulf gets a wee 80s music quiz on the go but I'm hopeless as usual...'was that Top Gun again?'. Mel has a wee gutter-mouth moment that apparently I'm only dirty minded enough to interpret...seriously? And afternoon sets in. We start packing up the gear from last night and load the wagon for the short trip to Cologne.

We arrive at Volker and Katja's place easy-osey, Ulf's millimeter perfect parking, literally' gets us close enough to fall in the door. Beautiful wee place this on a narrow, green street close to the city, kids belting up and down the pavements with footballs, bmxs and screams.

Ulf and I get right on with unloading and sound checking double quick before a munch, those wireless systems are a godsend! Treated to a smashing dinner and meet the twins Jonah, Lena and their big bruv Marlin...wee crackers they are too. Volker and Katja have set the room up perfect and there's chairs, cushions, couches and candles everywhere...not to mention a keg of Koelsch beer in the kitchen, this may take some time the night.


The audience arrives at a steady clip, Mel's strategically choosing her vantage/ambush point and we're ready to kick off. The show goes belter and there's even a wee splinter group starting a kitchen party to the side cos the living room is chocablock, great audience and they're in good voice, lending a choir to my scratchy tones. The second half is slightly delayed due to a beer emergency, who knew one keg wouldn't last? The wee ones have been so quiet whilst I'm playing, they're even in their jammies now and whilst we wait I'm treated to a beautiful acappella carnival song by the twins...melt. Volker is the man of the hour as he dashes out to grab a crate from the late night store...he returns to a hero's welcome as we dive into the second set, I manage another version of FC Kölns football anthem and even get a few very newbies under the radar without too many fluffs, the twins gently nod off and are carried past me to bed (I try not to scream in their lugs en route)...what a night...such an open, welcoming audience and brilliant sounding room, a pleasure to play in. Mel again is the queen of sales as she further lightens my return bags...gem.


Volker's on a roll and he's corked the schnapps now as well, I get away easy with just the one (surface tension measure) and as most of the folks traipse out into the night we start a wee acoustic session on the settee and one last beer for the road, Ulf even belts a couple tunes despite his man-flu, can't keep a good man down for long. Some great tunes and we're all rocked out and gifted honey in hand, hit the road at the back of late.

 News trickles in on my phone that the Irish have finally beaten the All Blacks after 111 years/29 matches (whichever sounds more dramatic) of trying and Andy Murray has gotten the number one spot...absolutely unbelievable achievements...chuffed to bits, there's plenty of pished congratulations messages to-ing and fro-ing on my whatsapp, mostly utter jubilant gibberish (squeezing chickens?) but like their team and the Dunkeld laddie, they were not to be denied this day and the celebrations are well deserved...I raise a wee deoch-an-doris to them...bedore I hit the jammies myself, party indeed. 


Wakey wakey at a solid 10am and meander into the morning with black gold and a braw breakfast spread...a much wiser man than me has always said 'this life isn't for sissies', and oh how I get ye now.


First house concert coming up tonight at Mel & Ulf's very own homestead, no pressure but I've seen the videos, the brilliant lads and lasses who've played here and I know the audience knows the tunes round messing. First things first though, a wee freshen up and out running a couple of messages with Mel in the metropolis...again my Austrian accent is causing a few chasms in understanding up this way, throw my underlying Scottish into the mix and I might as well be speaking Hungarian. Never go to Austria to learn German, they don't speak it.

We return with the supplies and Ulf has already started putting the gear out and setting the stage. We crack on straight away with an early sound check, normally my sound checks consist of 'is your mike turned on?' This is luxury, Ulf has got it all down pat and everything is sounding just right for my ears. Still time enough for a wee rehearsal in the attic and munch is served just as Guido and Micha arrive from Rothenuffeln, fair play driving down the pair of them! Ulf gives us a wee tortilla wrapping clinic and we're rolling. Mel has the room set up and it's looking like quite the wee venue that it is.


Showtime, audience is in and Ulf's up doing the intros and they've found my namesake, he's brandishing a copy of 'The Twelve' and threatening a reading, my moonlighting as an author is becoming a real distraction from the day job here. This is house concert number 32 for these guys, so they'll know their spuds. As is customary up this way I start my show by explaining I'm not Shane, someone shouts 'Hunde Suppe' or similar but I think they got the point.

What a night! Lovely room and a really welcoming crowd, couldn't ask for more. I throw in a wee version of Loch Lomond, suitably bastardized to myself and they're singing along with more gusto than anticipated, who knew? Turns out it's the adopted anthem of the local football team FC Köln, we quibble about which is the original and they're not convinced...might need to give it a bash in Hungarian.

Show done, we enthusiastically investigate the subtle differences between Koelsch and Grevensteiner beers which we establish at that time of the night are generally temperature based. Mel's running a tight ship at the merch and making sure my bags will travel home lighter, my back salutes ye!! Ulf's got the acoustic strumming along beautifully and the late acoustic session begins in earnest, dark horse that fella. I'm melting into the couch alongside Mel, Guido and Micha and realize I'm dusted. Off to the attic and again I have that strange dream with Guido and the Space Walkie Talkie...over.



If you're going to wake up in an unfamiliar apartment wake up here, warm, comforting and dark as the North Sea...I slept like a stone.


A very chilled start to the day of coffee and gear talk with Ulf...we're both closet equipment nuts or perhaps not so closet. An easy hour discussing the merits of parametric over shelving eqs and signal chains and noise floors and microphone gain stages v microphone technique...absolutely nothing anorak about it thank you very much.

First show tonight in Bonn at Fiddlers bar and looking forward to how it goes down. Fiddlers is a cracking wee pub we played last time we were up this way, full of nooks, crannies, beams and surprise steps...well they're a surprise at a certain time of the night. To be fair my 'nothing happened there' technique is pretty well honed this weather.


Become a full time musician they said, plenty of time for writing and rehearsals they said...aye mibbes once you've finished the million things that every other one man operation needs doing to keep it ticking over, boohoo I know. Anyway I finally grab some time for myself to reacquaint with my guitar and my scratchy voice, change some strings and check out Mel & Ulfs wall of fame in the attic room, Brendan O'Shea, Niall Connolly, Casey Black, Garrison Starr, Josh Ritter...some fella Shane Ó Fearghail and Lisa Hannigan's show ringing in my ears. Great musos, brilliant writers...too many eyes on my practicing...I retreat to corner free of knowing looks at my clumsy fingers and concentrate for a couple of hours on just playing, set listing and clearing my head to finish off a couple of tunes. Just what I was needing.


The bridge or the ferry? The ferry or the bridge? Bridge wins out and we're buzzing over to the venue bang on time. Ulf's new wireless set up is a skoosh and we're up and sound checked in record time, time enough for a munch, a pint and a wee chinwag with Maggie who runs the place. Slowly but surely the audience fills up and there's a nice wee knot of folks are out to hear some tunes, even a fellow Scot Kieran from the borders just finished his shift hauls upstairs to catch the show. Room and gear sounds great, pull out a couple of oldies for fun, a happy birthday chorus for Mel (seriously is there a protocol for facial expression when you're being sung too?) and the wee knot even asks for an encore by the end. Lovely night indeed, good craic with the natives too and a cheeky Oban whisky eventually smoothes the path homeward and to the attic sleeping room...still plenty of eyes there, but not too shabby.




A long, early but comfy train ride from Vienna to Cologne, goes without a hitch. Aside from the fact that I've still got that uncanny knack of packing two weeks worth for five days and curse myself every time I've to lift the heavy time...exactly as I said last time.


Mel & Ulf are bang on picking me up and we head out to see the sights of the waterfront, a possible Tatort filming, a crapping statue and the city mascots Tünnes and Schäl...quickly followed by some wee birthday beers for Mel herself...I find you can easily over do it with the culture.

As it's her special day Mel has organized the nights entertainment, tickets for a cheeky Lisa Hannigan gig at a cozey venue called Studio 672, shite state of affairs but I roll with it.

We head out for a nice meal before the show and bellys full stroll off to the venue. En route we're stopped by a fella in a wheelchair and his pal, asking if we can help them up the stairs, no bother...turns out there's four flights of them...I'm nearly seeing my dinner again by the time the three of us have lugged the boy up and then left wondering how did he get down them in the first place? No matter, a few calories burnt and he's happily home.


The venue is brilliant and Lisa Hannigans show is incredible, those ethereal vocals are blowing my lugs off...I can only smile and let it wash over me from a height. Beautiful songs and arrangements, clever transitions, room sounds awesome and a great band behind it...the set is all done and dusted and we're all left thinking another hour or three would have done nicely. I manage to get a signed copy of her new album and sneak my ugly mug into a selfie with herself, nae sweeties for shy bairns!


A quick blast in the motor and we're off back to Mel & Ulfs for night caps and a couple of couched tunes on the acoustic before sleep is battering my doors down. Great to be back and Happy Birthday to Mel... Zzzzzzz


Bad Dog

The most important thing about blogging is once you start you’ve got to keep it up…does once every four months still count?

Well, I reckon that was the summer that was…what a belter. Did my first live TV performance in Croatia on the morning show on HRT, played some great festivals small and large including Exposure Festival, NovaRock, SOS, played some fantastic wee parties and weddings, got a much-needed trip back home to Scotland to see my wee sister get hitched, plenty of trips to my lasses home town in Klagenfurt for swimming (or sinking in my case) and gigging, a trip to Ireland with our songwriting crew (VSC) hanging out with druids, camping, playing and a little time to relax, reflect and work on some new tunes…hellish.

Autumn began with scary news from home about my dad falling ill, but thanks to the fantastic efforts of Ninewells hospital in Dundee, he’s patched up, turbo-charged and recovering well…the 6-Million Dollar Man indeed…no need to scare the shite out of us any time again soon though faither.

The weather may be cooling down here but lots of other stuff is heating up…
Myself, Shane Ó Fearghail and Mark Peters have finally bitten the bullet and are putting on our own festival here in Vienna this year called Schottenfest!!!…A celebration of the Celtic connections between Ireland, Scotland and Austria…much more info will follow but here’s the website to check oot in the meantime……tickets are on sale online now!

As always I’m gigging away like a Trojan here in Vienna…some great wee spit and sawdust pub gigs keeping the wolf from the door. And lastly a braw trip to Germany begins tomorrow morning, with Mel & Ulf guiding the good ship Neville, for a short run of shows.

Jeezo I need a stunt-double.

Anyway, onward…and rest assured I’ll be kicking my own arse to keep this blogging malarky on the go!





A 7am kick off from Menslage in Nieder-Saxon, a coffee, a massive game of Tetris getting the gear in the car (Ulf is Yoda) and we’re away. A smooth two and a half hour journey back to Bonn, smooth at least for everyone except Ulf, who’s driving, cos we’re generally sleeping. More coffee at Mel and Ulf’s place then we drop off the big guy at work, poor bugger he must be in bits after that weekend, he’s in such a rush I don’t even get the chance to give him a cheerio as he flies into the checkpoint at the Airbase where he works, means we’ll have to do a hello and two goodbyes soon enough though. Mel and Shane rush me off to the train station at Köln and packed with hurried goodbyes, sandwiches and sweets I’m away as well...sniff.
My first train to Frankfurt is delayed by five mins which was cool at the Köln end but now I’ve got precisely three minutes to catch my connecting train to Vienna in a station notorious for changing platforms on a whim, with much wobbly over-taking, sweating and panting I make the train by the skin of my teeth into the first wagon and then have to squeeze myself, my guitar and my holdall down 10 wagons until I can get to my reserved seat, which some cheeky bugger has taken cos they thought I wasn’t coming. To be fair he moved over fairly quickly, pretty polite these German fellas and now I’m set to make crumbs out of my lunch and snooze out the next eight hours home. Arrive safe and sound in Vienna-Meidling station and feeling decadent I grab a taxi home instead of the underground, thankfully I must be radiating knackered cos my taxi driver leaves me in peace to ease Vienna back into my head.

Home to my Elisa and a couple of chilled beers and stories on the balcony, the perfect return, a few lessons learned and truths tested. And that was Germany for now, I didn’t know what to expect up there but whatever I may have imagined it was just a fantastic trip with brilliant people great audiences and venues and reminded me again if I needed reminding that music purely and simply connects people. Thank you to all who made it happen, especially Mel & Ulf for their tireless humour and support...let's not be strangers and obviously to the man himself Shane Ó'Fearghail for letting me loose in Germany, if you've the time you'd be mental to miss his album-release show at the WUK on Thursday 9th June in Vienna...'They Might See Dolphins'... a beaut of a record if I may say so, ye bollocks ye.

Rieste - Get It Together


Up and at them early doors, let's say 11 o'clock. I suddenly realize how much shite I've brought with me on this tour, and also realize that the majority of it is spread over the floor. Some mug will have to pack that. I pack half-heartedly and soon give up in favour of breakfast, resolving that coffee can only help this process. A massive breakfast spread as always at Beatrix & Guido, everyone looking a bit skew-whiff the day but great nights come at a price. I end up stuffing my belongings as best I can and then it's goodbyes and offski for us, a couple of days to stick in the memory.

Next venue Rieste is a hop and a skip up the road from Rothenuffeln, after a quick 45 mins drive (we still manage to grab a magnum and snickers on the way though) we arrive at Markus & Doris' amazing house, looks like a massive bit of dark Toblerone, set in a beautiful garden surrounded by old stables, fields and woods...Germany is such a dump and I'm sick of slumming it. The weathers a bit Scottish the day and the event has been moved under a roofed terrace, Markus has done a brilliant job of setting up the space and the wee stage has got everything we need, including a bottle of schnapps with Shane's name on it, poor bugger I laugh. We're fed and watered and the room starts to fill up, I'm introduced to Markus' sister Maria who tells me how much she enjoys Shane's shows and that I'm not to ruin it for her.

I stride confidently onto the stage with Maria's advice ringing in my ears. The set goes grand, the folks here are all so into their music it's a breath of fresh air, they even sing along to the last couple of songs and it would appear I've passed the Maria Test. Shane up next and again he's knocking out the new tunes as if he's been playing them for years, crowd can't get enough. Ulf has set up a wee HD audio recorder and spends the evening singing deep into Mel's eyes the old romantic that he is. There's even time for some spontaneous encores with Markus on cajon, another red-headed and bearded Markus on baritone vocals and guitar and I even stick my neck in for a couple of tunes, they're up dancing until the end. As it was such an early kick off we're done and dusted by nine-thirty and we sit and chat as the audience breaks up and heads home, we crack out the guitars and get on a wee session, Ulf knocks out a couple of great wee covers as well and by 1am we're trying Our damnedest to do an acoustic version of the Beastie Boys ...we fail and once and for all realize that's it's high time to hit the hay...nackered but smiling.

Rothenuffeln - Garden Life


A blissful sleep and a gradual awakening, birds are on a tune and thankfully bees are busy, as is Ulf as he roars past my window on the sit-on lawn-mower, which he promptly parks in a fence...mornin!

A huge brekky with our fantastic hosts Beatrix and Guido sets us up perfectly for a wee jam in the garden sunshine. Mel says she's been reading my blog and resolves to watch her utterances around me in case she appears...I'm always listening Mel...always. Slowly but surely minds turn to setting up the stage and the seating for tonight. Guido and Ulf have it all under control as Shane and I symbolically move the odd chair or bench and the space looks great! Ulf turns the missing speaker stand problem into a chimney-sweep sculpture...there are no problems merely creative solutions waiting to be found. Sound check goes smoothly with Ulf running the desk, we fanny around with my guitar sound and eventually find a beautiful sweet spot.

A catnap follows our exertions and as I rouse again the audience is already Big crowd tonight, that Shane fella must be putting something in the water up here. Mel has everything ticking along like a well-oiled machine (such a blessing to be able to concentrate on just playing) and Beatrix is debating whether to have her first drink in a year. Guido does the intros and I'm up. On a whim I go completely acoustic and Ulf's hard work with me at sound check goes up in smoke...fuckin musos. The atmosphere is beautiful though and it feels like the right choice, I dedicate 'No Weddings' to Guido and Elisa (from a distance), crack out a couple of older tunes and they're even singing along with me...I reckon they're warmed now and hand over to the main man. Shane goes down a storm, Guido's so excited he breaks his chair and an improv song is born on the spot. They're up dancing and singing, forgetting the mosquitoes for an hour at least and it's a barn-stormer, literally. I join Shane for an encore, both of us wearing Guido's chimney-sweep hats and its job done. The night continues much longer than it should but good company has that effect. I discover schnapps and I beg to differ right on time as I'm considering giving this massive Saxon bloke I'm chatting to a practical demonstration of a rugby bed. I dream that Shane and Guido wake me up trying to get me to chat into a space walkie-talkie...must have been the schnapps again. Brekky and off to the next one, gonna miss these folks!

Ulf and his mean machine

Ulf and his mean machine