THE MAKING OF MY SUMMER ISLES ALBUM #4

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Week 3, 15th-19th December

I listened to a beautiful Maria Kaleniemi (Finnish Accordionist) track on Monday morning. It was so inspiring that I went straight up to Grandpa’s house(my studio!)and wrote an Eb reel called The Smugglers. The anchorage at Tanera and Priest Island is so good that it was often used to smuggle whiskey and tobacco.

On Tuesday the current owner of Tanera,  Bill Wilder very kindly offered to take me out to the island for an afternoon. There had been bad storms the week before so he was keen to check for storm damage. Bill bought Tanera many years ago and it is now for sale.  It is hard work owning an island but Bill is definitely fit for it and I really hope the new owners will look after it equally as well. I hadn’t been to Tanera for years so it was great to get my bearings. I went into the café to remind myself of it’s size as a potential venue for an album launch performance. On the wall there was some poetry and one line stuck in my mind  – Stone and Struggle. There was also some great information on all the stamps unique to Tanera.  I then walked the length of the island with my Dad and we had lunch at Tigh na Quay looking out to the exact view from the  William Daniell’s (1769–1837) print above.

On Tuesday evening my friend Frankie Burr who is an artist from Glasgow came to visit. We combined catching up with driving around to sketch and take lots of photos. Background reading, sketching, taking photographs and brainstorming words as I have been out and about has been so integral to my writing. The electricity went out on the Wednesday evening of that week and instead of reading before bed I gathered my words from that day and wrote the bear bones of a song. It was very useful bouncing these ideas around with Frankie and by the end of Thursday evening I had a song! I have written quite a few cheesy pop songs in the past but this is one of the first ever songs that I am really proud of the lyrics. It was definitely inspired by Jan Kilpatrick’s writing and by the line on the wall at the café – Stone and Struggle.

On Friday the 19th I went down to Glasgow for a meeting with Iain Hutchison at Glo Worm Studios.  Having spoken to Iain at length back in July about the kind of album I wanted to make, Iain was definitely my number one choice of producer.  It was an anxious week waiting for Iain to reply to my rough demos to say that he still wanted to be involved! Chatting to Iain about the kind of production that could be used for these tracks made me so excited about the album for the first time since the process had started.  I came away from that meeting far more confident about the direction I wanted to go in and the style of writing I wanted to focus on.

In the click of a finger from excitement to fear……I slipped on some wet cardboard on my walk home from that meeting. This reminded me how important my hands are to me! I was so relieved not to be injured that I played the piano for 2 hours back at the flat and ended up developing some arrangement ideas for Stone and Struggle.

Thanks for reading! Week 4 coming soon!

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