I was only planning on being in Austin for one or two years; but 54 years later, I’m still here!
I can claim to be the best Scottish singer in Texas (as I don’t know of any others). I’ve always sung – school choir, church nativity plays, Gilbert & Sullivan, Boy Scouts; but from the early 1960’s on, Scottish folk music became my passion.
In the pubs and clubs of the “folk revival” my repertoire grew; but when I came to do graduate studies in Geography at UT, I never thought that I’d make a career in singing.
My first gig was opening for Frummox at the Chequered Flag and there were a few small tours in the 70’s; but after finishing a PhD in Folklore and enjoying the slacker life of Austin, I pushed the performing, and since the late 1980’s it was a full-time “job.” It’s taken me to festivals, Highland Games, house concerts, folk clubs and music camps in 46 states and allowed me to meet a wonderful number of “road friends.” I was also lucky enough to host folk music shows on KUT-FM for over 40 years and continue to do so on Sunradio.com. In 2000, I started a new venture – taking groups to Scotland for tours that focused on the music, landscape
and history of my home country, letting people hear the songs “on location.”
Looking back, I couldn’t have found a better place in the USA to land in…..a wonderful soccer community giving me friends from around the world, especially Latin America; and the always exciting mix of music so easily accessible. There’s a lot of “journeyman geniuses” in Austin music and my luckiest break was to meet the amazing Rich Brotherton. Rich was lead guitar with the Robert Earl Keen Band and has played with just about every singer-songwriter in Austin; but he also has a great love for Irish and British folkmusic. Basically, he can play anything with
anybody and I’m delighted he’ll be with me at Austin Acoustical Cafe. I am not a songwriter myself; but love to sing a mixture of older traditional songs and songs from the past 50 years that are keeping the Scottish song repertoire fresh.