In the last few months have you found yourself sitting there thinking “What am I meant to do? What on earth is the point?”
I know I certainly have.

I was brought up with the school of thought, “If you love something enough then you can make it happen – follow your dreams”

“If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” — Steve Jobs

Well our dreams have been shattered and we are all being given the most rude awakening imaginable. Even worse than that morning Allan Henderson was woken up by a goat in a house in Boston, but that’s a story for another day….

The belief was that if you loved something enough, desire and passion would get you through anything. So, we encourage the young footballer, the young singer or violinist to follow their dreams.

Have we, as musicians, got enough desire and passion to get through this?
The gigs have gone for at least a year. If a second wave comes it may be longer. How many of us want to be sitting in airports? Recording music is almost worthless thanks to Spotify/Apple etc.

Ok so that’s the crap part of this out of the way. We could sit about with our head in our hands and weep, or we can pick ourselves up and start thinking big and thinking together.

Now look back at that Steve Jobs quote above. It’s all about passion. However, the full quote has this preceding line,

“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right.”

We certainly have the problems and the wrongs we want to right, and I’m pretty sure there are people out there with ideas.

I started Blazin Fiddles because I was pissed off and had a chip on my shoulder about Scottish fiddle music and how it was sold across the world. I was also worried that people were losing their regional musical dialects.
There’s the problem and the wrong I wanted to right.

The reason for starting MacGregor’s Bar was because so many Scottish bars had sod all Scottish-ness about them. I wanted something celebrating an authentic, modern day Scotland; something visitors would enjoy and locals would have pride in.

Neither of these ideas would have made it off the drawing board if it weren’t for getting other passionate, knowledgeable, skilful people involved. You can’t do any of these things without building a great team.
I’ve just been watching the Michael Jordan Netflix series, and even the most talented basketball player of all time realised the importance of the team.

We quickly realised that our bar needed to keep its name in the public eye if we were to come back and so we created Live at Five and Scotland’s Big Session. Jo, my much better half, came up with the idea, got the software and created the framework. Anna Massie came in and added humour and knowledge and I just blethered and asked loads of folks to help with the music. Its grown into something much, much bigger than we anticipated – much bigger than just the bar – it’s now a showcase for Scottish music across the world and also the focus for Session tunes and songs at home.

What am I getting at here?

Well it’s time for Trad music team of Scotland to get together and get some ideas together. I don’t just mean musicians. It’s vital that promoters, venues, concert goers and arts bodies get their heads together and clearly identify all the problems. Not just those caused by the Covid pandemic but the ones that were in existence before this crisis.
What I’ve noticed over the last few months is that musicians and singers are adapting rapidly. We’re now learning video, editing and production skills to reach audiences. We’ve got to pull all those skills together and see how we can keep Scotland’s traditional music alive.
We’re all under threat here and we’re going to require collective thought and action to survive and progress.

Photo above by Archie MacFarlane