MacPhail – 30.5.19

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I am writing this early on a Tuesday morning and, with less than a month to mid-summer, the sun is already dominating the day.

Also dominating the day with a similar encompassing radiance is an intense feeling of euphoric relief and relaxation following a prolonged period of which the looming doom of deadlines has been most pronounced.

All of these deadlines, which have been a constant pressure since the beginning of this year, were met over the last few weeks with a culminating crescendo over the weekend just past.

It will perhaps be perceived as exaggeration, but I can feel the release of pressure in the ends of my fingers as I type this. And it is a wonderful feeling. Wherever Andrew is this morning, I am sure he will be feeling the same.

The combined strands of the new album – finding the tunes, finishing writing the songs, choosing which ones to record, arranging the sets and songs, rehearsing them, recording them, mixing them, coming up with a title, cover, track order, deciding when to release downloads, dealing with mistakes on the cover and resulting delays – then fighting time pressure to try to get the album out for the Usher Hall concert, were all a battle.

As covered in the article of two weeks ago, all this was over-arched by the constant doubt as to whether people would actually like it or not. If they didn’t, then all of the above would be a total waste of time and money.

Regards the Usher Hall concert – were we going to fill it? Was it a mistake adding extra capacity from last year by having the standing area and was it a mistake to put on our biggest gig to date in Edinburgh instead of our more traditional stomping grounds of Glasgow or the Highlands?

After a strong rush of ticket sales when we released them, it had slowed down to a trickle in the last few months and it looked as if we were going to be a good few hundred short.

But a surging tide of ticket sales in the last week and good ‘walk-up’ sales on the night meant we just-and-no more scraped a full house.

On top of the number worries, there was which songs to perform, which tune sets to do, how much old and how much new material, do we separate into two halves or play one long set, will we remember everyone for the guest list and, most importantly, will the audience like the new material played live?

The third cylinder of pressure building to last weekend led to the morning after the concert and running the second of two half–marathons for Eilidh’s Trust within a week and trying to reach the fundraising target from which we were still a long way from on Saturday with only one day left.

I am happy to report we got the album back just in time and signs so far suggest is has been well received. The Usher Hall was full to the gunwales with the audience going wild for the new tunes and songs, we just made it over the fundraising target for Eilidh and I finished the half-marathon 44 seconds under my target of two hours. All that’s left to do now is get the CDs into the shops.

Intense periods of effort, trepidation and worry where the results are tangible and the aims have been achieved and cannot be reversed satisfies an inner craving in mankind that is closely related to our prehistoric existence as hunters.

On this particular hunt, we have been lucky and we can relax for a few days before work on the next begins. Thank you everyone – band, audience, supporters and readers.