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" ... man to man, the world ower,

Shall brothers be, for a' that."

Robert Burns

Brian Myers & his wife Kit

Very sad to hear the news that my very good friend Brian Myers has passed away.  I first met Brian over twenty years ago at the University of Stirling Summer School.  He was one of the regulars on my fiddle weeks and at the Niel Gow Festival (Brian's birthday was on the 22nd March - the same date as Niel Gow.)

May arrives, bringing with it the warblers, swallows and other birds that have spent winter in warmer climes and have returned to breed in Scotland.

And does anyone know what the object in the photograph is made from and what was its function??  (It once belonged to Niel Gow.)

NIEL GOW SCULPTURE TAKING SHAPE!!!

Sculptor David Annand has almost completed his fabulous clay sculpture of Niel Gow.  This will form the basis of a bronze statue, to be installed in a prominent location in Dunkeld.

April, and a party to celebrate accordion maestro Sandy Brechin attaining a half-century.  (Sartorial elegance personified!)

 

What better occasion to release a new recording?  "Foxy Laddie", the long-awaited album from "The Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience" Guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows!  Available in a record store somewhere maybe.

Almost April and Spring is most definitely here!  Blooming flowers and basking reptiles!

Common lizard basking on a track high in the Perthshire hills

THE NIEL GOW FESTIVAL 2019 went very well!  The Friday night concert was a sell-out.  Dreich weather on Saturday meant that being indoors at a concert was the place to be! And the walk to Inver on Sunday was blessed with fine sunny weather once again!  Happy punters and happy performers!

After many years hard work promoting and selling recordings of Scottish music, my good friend Jim Leighton has decided to call it a day.  Music in Scotland is henceforth no more.  Thank you Jim and Shona for all your hard work.

Jim & Shona Leighton
Murthly Castle

February and a contingent of the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers concluded a 3-week visit to Scotland with a few days in and around Dunkeld.

January, the time of year when we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our national bard.  At a very special concert in Ayr on the 23rd January, I played the fiddle which once was Niel Gow's favourite, and Alastair McCulloch played the Gregg violin, once played on by Robert Burns!

It's also the time of year when Grayling are in prime condition.  Bonnie fish!

Happy new year! A cold and dry start to 2019.  Bonnie!

December, and a reluctant farewell to two old friends, Jock Thommeny and Sebastian Thewes.

Jock was a Fifer, a Pars supporter, moothie player and regular listener to Radio Scotland's Scottish music programme "Take the Floor".

Sebastian - "Bas" - once lived at Strathgarry House, Perthshire.  He was an antiques expert and a keen angler, but most of all enjoyed a dram and a good blether.

They will both be sadly missed, by me and many others.

Adam "Jock" Thommeny
Sebastian "Bas" Thewes (portrait by Lucy Corbett)
Kilmaveonaig Kirk, Blair Atholl

November and a flying visit to Slovenia for a concert in Ljubljana Opera House with Alexander "Sasha" Mezek, Chris Harrison and "Auld Hat" Ian Bruce.

A century has passed since the signing of the armistice to end the First World War.  How tragic that, with that act, the seeds were sewn for the next global conflict, just twenty years later.  And even now, in the 21st Century, global harmony seems as distant dream as it was for Robert Burns when he wrote "A Man's a Man".

Golden larches and dramatic sky above Loch Tay

October, and preliminary work begins for the dualling of the A9 between Luncarty and Bankfoot.  Sadly this means the removal of many trees.  Dramatic sunlight and cloud for a few photos before they were felled.

And another trout season ends.  Had a fine day on Loch Broom (Perthshire, not Wester Ross) with Bill Zobel.  We each caught three bonnie Brown Trout - Braw Broom Broonies!

September, and autumn has truly arrived.  Most of our summer migrant birds have flown south to warmer climes.  Another fun-filled fiddle week at the  Birnam Institute

August and "our" swifts departed for Africa right on schedule (last year they were gone by the 4th).

Returned to Boston Harbour Fiddle Week on Thomson Island.  HELLO AGAIN MOSQUITOES! Also managed to catch a few Striped Bass!!

July and a fine time at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD.  Heard The Kruger Brothers Band - folk meets classical, with a veneer of Bluegrass and a generous sprinkling of magic!  Superb!

A fine summer evening of music in the very bonnie village of Kirkmichael, Ayrshire, with my good friend and fellow fiddler Alastair Savage.  We of course chose repertoire with Burns connections.  (The church in which we played was built in 1787, the year of the meeting between Messrs Gow and Burns.)

Had a visit in June from my old friend Jack Beck.  He was founder-member of a band called "Heritage" back in the '70s.   (Yikes!) Jack now lives in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. He has his own radio show (on WETSfm and WEHCfm) called "Celtic Clanjamphry" (try saying that after a couple of drams!)

Tunes in June ....  made video-recording last month, playing beneath Niel Gow's Oak.  Director/producer/camera man was John P. Martin.

You can find the FILM CLIPS by clicking the links on my "Recordings", "Tune of the Month" and "Teaching & Fiddle Weeks" pages.

May and The Orkney Folk Festival was blessed with blue skies and brilliant sunshine.  "Auld Hat, New Heids" had a weekend of great craic!

Played a special concert in the Scottish Parliament with Muriel Johnstone (profile-raising for the initiative to create a Niel Gow memorial in Dunkeld.  Thank you to Perthshire's MSP John Swinney for sponsoring the event.

Bluebells (Wild Hyacinths) in bloom, Kinclaven Wood

(The Scottish Bluebell, or Harebell, appears later in the summer than the wild hyacinth.)

Had a tour of Fife on a train hauled by the most famous steam locomotive in the world, The Flying Scotsman! Then drove to North Queensferry for a photo of the train crossing the Forth Bridge on it's 2nd  outing of the day.

Arguably the most famous steam locomotive in the world crossing the most famous bridge in the world!!