Six questions with… Alan Reid

As a founding member of Battlefield BandAlan Reid has played an important role in Scotland’s traditional music scene since the late 1960s. Together with Rob van Sante, he now presents a new show exploring the life of John Paul Jones, the Scots-born mariner who became a hero of the American Revolution. Here Alan tells us a little more about the inspiration for the show and where it’s taken him over the past year. 

Where has your show, The Adventures of John Paul Jones, taken you recently?

Rob and myself have been busy touring in the US and Europe this year and have further trips to the US scheduled for later in the year. This will involve me teaching Scots song in a college in North Carolina on top of concerts throughout the country. In between, we’ll be working on our fifth album.

Which other musicians have been your main influences?

Many of the prominent Scots and Irish musicians of the 1970s influenced myself and my colleagues in Battlefield Band.

What inspires you when writing or singing?

I am interested in lesser known figures in history, particularly Scots history, and often find a true individually story gives me an idea for a song. Reading about John Paul Jones gave me the inspiration to write a whole album on his life story.

Which bands or artists from the contemporary Trad music scene, in Scotland or elsewhere, do you rate most?

I am impressed by the technical ability of today’s young musicians and am gratified that so many are female. In my young days a female instrumentalist was a rare breed. Of course it makes it more difficult for me personally to compete for gigs with the young yins. 

Have you played TradFest before? Are there any other acts on the programme you’d recommend seeing?

This is myself and Rob’s first Tradfest and we are very much looking forward to it. There are lots of other interesting events and great musicians to see – I’m looking forward to fully studying the programme.

What does Tradition mean to you?

Tradition for me is a means of understanding who we are, where we’ve come from and what makes us different from other cultures. It’s an affirmation and source of inspiration.

The Adventures of John Paul Jones takes place at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Friday 29 April. Book tickets.