What significance is the St Andrews Hotel for you and how do you feel about headlining the inaugural Double Trouble Blues Sessions at the St Andrews Hotel? My band and I held a long term residency at St Andrews Hotel over a 15 year period starting in the mid-90s. The group is called The Souldiggers and we are still going in 2022, but those early days at St Angas provided a venue and audience that allowed us to develop our original music. I’ve since toured with The Souldiggers in the USA, UK & Europe but for many years we would return to St Andrews and do a homecoming season for several weeks. We recorded our first LIVE album there and a DVD! So many good things happened at that venue, not just for us, but many of the groups that played there. We figured there was something in the air, it was always a good vibe.
What are the main influences on your work and how would you describe your own style?
I’ve been hugely influenced by the old-school blues players but I delve into jazz, rock and folk styles too. I’m a songwriter too and I draw upon The Beatles, Tom Waits and JJ Cale plus a few writers you might not have heard of Oliver Wood, David Migden and the wonderful Ani DiFranco. Describing a style is tough to do in words, but basically I try to write meaningful lyrics with interesting music that can be bent, shaped, torn apart and put back together again live on stage.
How important is the vibe and energy of the audience in contributing to a satisfying gig?
Performing music for an audience is the entire point of playing the gig. Every musician you ever see on stage has reached that point where they are keen to share their musical ideas with other humans. We get nervous before the big moment because we care about the result. We want the audience to ‘get it’ like we ‘get it’, and when that happens there is an exhilarating rush of energy that everyone feels a part of. It is the most pure form of understanding between humans we know, and it is addictive for all the right reasons.
How did the COVID period of lockdown affect you and do you have any clear plans for the future?
For most of my life I have lived pro-actively. With music as my my passion, my business and my livelihood, I would have to conceive each project, set the goals and embark on the course of action by which to achieve them. I lived that way for over 30 years. In early 2020 we were slammed just as hard as anyone else. I’ve had to learn how to live ‘reactively’ in order to survive. I learnt to record music at home, I performed online concerts, I taught via video calls. For all of the difficulty, I remain grateful for living in the part of the world we do and for having the modern tools we have that make so much possible. Thankfully we’re able to get out and play some live gigs now. There is still no substitute for being together.