There is an incredible depth and beauty in being inspired. It is a moving experience to see, or hear something that really resonates inside. This is a feeling that we should be seeking out on a daily basis. It’s the spark of creativity, the fire that drives us to put everything into what we do. We should always be looking to others, always learning, always finding inspiration in the folk that have come before us, the different walks of life, the diversity in humanity, the places and the people. We are so lucky to live in Scotland and to be submerged in a scene of such rich tradition, culture and talent. We are, on a daily basis, surrounded by inspiring people. We really don’t have to look far!! I’ve been very fortunate over the years to have been able to play music on and off stage with my musical heroes, people that I have looked up to from a young age. I was lucky enough to have been taught and influenced by my greatest musical hero, Gordon Duncan. Gordon was someone that I looked up to and that I aspired to be like. I remember the first time I heard his album, ‘Just for Seamus’. He had given me a copy on cassette. I listened to it in the car on the way back home from pipe band practise. This is the first time I had ever experienced the feeling of being profoundly inspired by music. It was like nothing that I’d ever heard before. This moment shaped the way that I moved forward with my own music. From then on Gordon shared his music and experiences with a few of us, myself and Ross Ainslie in particular. He gave us our first ever experience of going away on tour as “professional” musicians (aged about 15?), or so we thought at the time. It was a rocky experience to say the least but it gave us our first taste of being on the road and playing some big festivals. We spent most of the trip avoiding catastrophes, but it was exciting and new. I knew then that this was how I wanted to proceed. This was the kind of journey that I wanted to set out on, experiencing the world, meeting interesting people and sharing music. Gordon was an inspiration not only as a musician, but as a human. He was incredibly humble and quite a shy, unassuming guy. He worked as a bin man in Pitlochry and like Billy, took great interest in his surroundings and the everyday folk that he met on his rounds.
Through Gordon, I was also introduced to the music of another of my heroes, Duncan Chisholm. Gordon was, at one time, the piper in a band called Wolfstone, in my mind, the greatest Celtic rock band that ever existed……but we don’t need to get into that!!! Duncan is one of the founder members of Wolfstone and an incredible musician in his own right. He has a musical style that is incredibly moving and poignant. He paints pictures with every note that emanates from his fiddle. I have been very fortunate to have had the honour of playing gigs with Duncan’s band over the last few years. I’ve found great inspiration in the descriptive nature of his music, the way he tells a story, how he gives you a sense of place and atmosphere. For me, this is what great music is all about. Creating a feeling, allowing the listener to be put in that place along side you. Duncan is a true master of his craft. There is a commonality shared by these folk and it’s not the fact that they are all musicians, or artists of sorts. It’s their incredible human nature. It’s the intrigue, the sharing, the respect, the appreciation, their outlook on the ever changing world. These are the things that inspire me.
So this blog is a wee rant…….a reminder………Go out and be inspired!