This is my life…


I’m sitting at yet another airport, it’s 4.30am and I’m trying to work out what to ingest to make sure I don’t get my system too excited bedfore I board my flight. You see I’d prefer to get some sleep, if I can, as today I really am going to be time travelling (first from Dublin forward an hour to Frankfurt then 6 hours back to Newark – which is all going to take me 14 hours !!?) and given I have a gig tomorrow afternoon I could do with catching as many ‘zzzzzzzzz’s as possible.

I have just left my husband asleep in a hotel bed (we live 90mins from the airport so for early flights it’s preferable to sleep nearerby the night before) and it’s Valentine’s day tomorrow. I can’t remember the last time we had the last Valetine’s Day together and I know for a fact that we’ve not spent my birthday together for the last 9 years. The not-so-much-fun side of the music industry.

…and why do I do it? For this..

 

 

To make music and, ultimately, hopefully, to connect.

 

 

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Adventures from home – ‘Homelands’

If you’re a jobbing musician and you aren’t jobbing, touring, then you are creating. Either creating the next gigs or creating the music sometimes both, at the same time. I imagine it’s the same for anyone who is self-employed; you become very good at ‘juggling’.

November 2013 saw the beginnings of my 3rd solo album ‘Homelands’ and August 2015 with be it’s release date.

alythcoverHomelands’ came about through my love of my home in Lewis, Scotland and my love of my new home in Ireland. I moved to Ireland seven years ago. I see myself as an Islander, and I always will, as I come from the Hebrides, but I also now love where I live in Ireland. It’s a common thread. We are all travellers, migrants, emigrants, immigrants. ‘Homelands’ touches on these themes; love and loss, home and emigration.” Alyth McCormack

Growing up in Lewis, I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I would not live in Scotland all my life. I am a singer and the very reason I am a singer is because of where I grew up. Living on an island, you are very in touch with the land and the weather. These things go hand in hand. You cannot help but see how they are connected. This is where the music and the traditions come from. Had it not been for the traditions in Lewis, I don’t know that I would have been a singer. If I’d been born in the city would my life have turned out the same way?

In 2007 I moved to Ireland. Ireland and Scotland are similar in many ways, of course, but they are also different. Granted we share common language but it’s the little things.. All these things became very apparent to me when I moved to Dublin. I missed my family; my friends. I left a circle of people I had worked with for many years, had worked hard to become a strong part of, and now I was leaving for a city that had sessions and groups and myriads of musicians and singers, but they were not people I knew, really knew, that knowledge you only get with years of living and playing and singing together. Yes I am very lucky to tour and work with The Chieftains; it has been an amazing 8 years. I have travelled the globe, but we seldom work in Ireland, so when I would come home to my Husband I was alone, my friends still in Scotland.

Thankfully 7 years on I can say I am very happy in Ireland. It was moving back to the countryside that settled me. It also made me think. So many of us travel, so many of us have to, why is that difficult if it means a better life? Why? Where and what is home? This was the beginnings of ‘Homelands’ and the start of the next album too.”

Pre-release copies are available here. http://alyth.net/products-page

There is even a taster track for you to listen to. I hope you might pop by for a listen.

There is quite a bit of work to be done before the released date – hence the adventures from ‘home’. I’ve a launch party to organise for the 17th of July at the Hebridean Celtic Festival, which takes place in my hometown of Stornoway, and is one of the best festivals in the Celtic calendar. I say that without bias.There will be reviews (gulp!) and hopefully interviews.

It’s good to see things coming together. It’s good to know this CD I have had such fun working on, have been blessed to work with such beautiful musicians on, and have lived with for so long, will finally be released.

Sometimes things just click…

Last night I was invited to a party. I knew the hostess but not the host. I know him now.  I knew the ‘band’ we’re on tour together but currently are playing arrangements for Trace Adkins, beautiful arrangements I must add, but it’s Trace’s music for his Christmas show. Last night with the help of their friends or spouses everyone played their own music, what they’ve written and what they perform and it was glorious. A joy to behold. I knew before but I know better now there is some serious T.A.L.E.N.T on this tour.

I hold the belief that music can heal. Not as the medical or surgical fields can but it can lift your soul. It can inspire and it can change the way you feel. Possibly not forever but it can give you enough light in your day, in that moment to see that there are other feelings you can experience.

Last night was full of light and laughter, moments of real beauty. Not the 3 minute alotted radio time or the xfactor hysteria that fades as the next season comes along but true beauty. Last night and those beautiful souls will stay with me for ever.

It’s the little things…

When you are on the road touring, or even in ‘real’ life, it’s the little things. It really is.

Tour buses are beasts. They are massive. Bunks to sleep 12. Two seated areas front and back. A kitchen, shower and toilet. When at rest the front seated area expands out on the drivers side so you have twice the room, a helpful feature. They have Volvo D13 engines that have increased fuel efficiency and exceed the EPA emmission standards (I’ll take that over flying any day) and their ‘powertrain’ engines get us where we want to go fast.

Our drivers are highly skilled, courteous and good craic, an important aspect of tour life, as to survive in the touring world you have to be able to get on with people. Musicianship or being able to drive or be a sound engineer are not the only qualities.

On this tour we are all of an age and experience to know late nights and noise will not be tollerated for long as sleep is required. Certainly for me losing my voice would really defeat the purpose.

I have not quite yet found out how to write my blog while on the bus. For this I need solitude. Maybe I’m just too chatty and find myself distracted in people’s company. They are good people though, so I am enjoying discovering more about them all.

Now much as the bus is a good home to us, there is one thing I think we would all agree on..one little thing…waking up in a new town and finding you’ve a hotel room for the daytime = GLORIOUS! You gather all your gear, you head to your room and if you are me, you throw it all about the place. You expand! You go to the gym. You bathe. You watch whatever TV channel you fancy. You maybe order room service. You take your time. Until sound check you can, if you wish, sit in silence. You call your loved ones without a whisper. All it takes is a day room for a few hours and life is back to ‘normal’. On the bus their is much laughter but sometimes a little alone time is needed even for those who love to play, sing, dance and make good music together.