January 13, 2015 - Hello Again

as usual, i can't resist a Neil Diamond reference.  so it's been a while. for those who may not know, i just spent the last 7 years living in Glasgow where i took a hiatus from performing to focus on my career in health and social care.  during this period i spend my time and earnings on seeing a bit of the world rather than sinking every penny and spare moment i had in pursuit of a music career as i had been doing over the previous 30 years. i also felt that i needed to step away from performing to gain some perspective; Glasgow suited this purpose perfectly.

my time in Glasgow was amazing; it is a beautiful city full of character and history, you see this in the architecture and feel it in the people.  the Scots are very welcoming to Canadians - most everyone has a near or distant relative scattered somewhere across Canada - and i was offered more than an angel's share of drams in exchange for tales of ice truckers, Red River dancers and the fiddle and drum music that moved them, unimaginable wilderness, and the dismal social conditions that some of Canada's poorest citizens are subjected to (this last topic was always a big surprise; most everyone believed the worst had passed).  i am going to miss the friends i made in Scotland, the beauty of the countryside - the lochs, highlands, and isles - and the pride that Scots take in being Scots.  i am also really going to miss being able to pop over to London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, or Budapest for the weekend to revel in art, food, and history.

music is a big deal in Glasgow - i am an obsessive fan of live music and i have never encountered more consistently knowledgable and appreciative audiences as i found there.  to me it seemed that Glaswegians approach music as a cultural necessity rather than a commercial entity.  the shows i went to were always well attended by the young and old and almost everyone seemed to know the lyrics to most the of songs being performed. i saw the look of surprise and appreciation on Gary Louris' face when, during a solo acoustic show, the audience expertly provided the background vocals to a number of his songs; i saw a very shy and hesitant Barry Adamson blossom into a performing dynamo in the audience's enthusiasm; i saw Jim White nearly come to tears when he explained that he was not used to the respect he was being shown. i found this all very inspiring - thanks for that Glasgow.

after 7 years of attending to other priorities, i am back in Canada (in Edmonton, where i have always been treated so well) and am feeling ready to once again sink every penny and spare moment i have into pursuing a music career. hence this fancy new website and my recent presence in all kinds of social media.  while i did take a break from performing while living in Glasgow, i continued to sing, play guitar, and write daily.  the result of this is a new batch of songs that i am very excited to be performing and recording.  i am presently preparing to take a wee trip to Vancouver where i plan to catch up with some old friends, play some shows, and record the songs i have collected.  i am extremely lucky that Paul Rigby is going to produce and to play on this new recording and that my old pals Keith Rose and David MacAnulty will provide their expert services on bass and drums.

so yes, hello again, stay tuned for more musing and notes on progress in blogs to follow.


  • Fish Griwkowsky
    Fish Griwkowsky Edmonton
    It's terrific to have you back.

    It's terrific to have you back.

  • Iain Hamilton
    Iain Hamilton Glasgow,
    Beautifully phrased John. Made me feel homesick for Glasgow and I'm still here. Haste ye back.

    Beautifully phrased John. Made me feel homesick for Glasgow and I'm still here. Haste ye back.

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