11 Reasons Why 3 is Greater Than Everything

May 16, 2011

Steve Lawson

My collaborator and friend Steve Lawson has a brand new album out, and it’s another gorgeous slab of ambient solo bass genius.

You can give it a listen here and pay whatever you think it’s worth to download it.

I sat down to listen to it for the first time a few days ago and live-tweeted a track-by-track review. Steve collected the tweets into a cool collection using Exquisite Tweets. You can see what I wrote here. Suffice to say, the album’s awesome :-)

Lewis Gordon

August 4, 2010

And last but not least in this short series of posts on people who helped me make my new album…

Lewis Gordon is someone who I’ve actually only met once or twice in real life. He’s a great bass player who’s recorded and performed with the likes of Sharleen Spiteri and Codeine Velvet Club.

Here he is, hiding behind CVC’s Lou Hickey’s elbow:

Iain Hutchison, who engineered and produced my album, had been at university with Lewis in Glasgow and we both agreed he would be the best man for playing bass on my songs.

He played both electric and double bass on 6 of the album’s 10 songs and he did an amazing job.

If you need a bass player, you can get in touch with him via his MySpace page (where you can also hear some of his own cool electronica).

Here he is in action with Codeine Velvet Club:

Derek Steele

August 3, 2010

Following on from my recent post about the people who helped me make my new album….

My good friend Derek Steele drew all the original artwork for the CD, he drew the images that come with the album download, and also all of the new images on my website (including the header at the top of this here blog).

I’ve known Derek for over 20 years and he’s been a real source of inspiration for me; introducing me to authors, musicians, comics and ways of thinking that have enriched my life abundantly.

I only found out within the last two years that he does his own drawings. He uploads them, as well as his thoughts, photos and recipes, to his own blog which you can read here:


It goes without saying that I love his drawings. Here’s a couple of unedited versions of the ones he did for my album (click on them and you’ll be able to see them bigger):

Jo Mango

July 13, 2010

Calamateur – ‘Retreat’ featuring Jo Mango

At the risk of boring everyone by repeating myself (and sounding like a big-head), I think my new album is some of the best music I’ve ever made….but that’s only because I had a lot of help from some very talented people.

I’ve written about some of them on this blog before:

Mark HilditchIain HutchisonDUFI, and Phil Moir. All good friends and supremely awesome people!

The third track, ‘Retreat’ (which you can listen to here) is possibly my favourite of all the songs on my album, partly because it’s the one that was written last, but mostly because it features the beautiful voice of Jo Mango:

Jo Mango

Anyone reading this will no doubt already know who Jo Mango is, but for those that don’t, she is a Glasgow-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with the likes of Vashti Bunyan, David Byrne and Devendra Banhart. She also co-wrote Teenage Fanclub’s latest single, ‘Baby Lee‘.

While I was recording the album, I sent her an email asking her if she would be up for singing on one of my songs. After sending an initial demo, she quite rightly sent me a refreshingly honest email telling me she liked the tune but that some of the lyrics were, well…crap. So I had another go and we were both much happier with the finished result :-)

Jo Mango - 'The Moth and The Moon'

Jo has just released this gorgeous slab of etched 10″ double vinyl entitled ‘The Moth and The Moon / The Black Sun‘. Limited to just 190 copies, the two songs on it are amazing.

Here’s Jo and her band playing ‘The Moth and The Moon’ at the Solas Festival a couple of weeks ago:

Collaborators 6: Richard Vernon and Gareth Saunders

August 3, 2009

Over the last few weeks I’ve been writing a series of posts on people I’ve recently worked with, with particular reference to my Jesus is for Losers album.

So far, we’ve had:

Steve Lawson (bassist, improviser, teacher, writer)
Mark Hilditch (keyboard player, mad cyclist)
Iain Hutchison (engineer, producer, musician)
DUFI (photography, graphic design, spray paint)
and Phil Moir (drummer)

This is my final post in the series and there’s another couple of people I want to mention:


Firstly, my good friend Richard Vernon, who listens to my music before anyone else and tells me if it’s crap or not.

He also writes my press releases, including the ones for JIFL and the new album by my other band, The Trufflehunters.

Richard has also written some great articles for Sojourners magazine, his most recent being here.

So, if you need a good bio or press release written, get in touch with him here.



And lastly, Gareth Saunders, who has helped me on countless occasions with web design problems, computing issues and basically any time I wanted to punch my PC monitor in frustration.

Gareth is an Assistant Information Architect / Web Manager at the University of St.Andrews and is also a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church. I don’t think many people can say that.

He helped me when I was designing my JIFL website (as well as other websites I’ve cobbled together over the years) and made it look much better than it would have done otherwise. He is a very clever and a very generous man.

You can read his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.

Collaborators 5: Phil Moir

July 8, 2009

(This is the 5th in a series of posts on people I’ve worked with recently. The 1st post is here, the 2nd here, the 3rd here, the 4th here).


Phil Moir is an immensely talented drummer who I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside on a number of occasions. He’s also a very good guitar player and singer too, much to my chagrin :-)

He played drums on two songs from my Jesus is for Losers albumPerfect Moment and Jesus.

He has also played drums on most of the songs on my as-yet-unreleased new album, and I also get the chance to play alongside him every 3 months or so at Ignite.

Phil makes me think of that cheesy line from Chariots of Fire when Eric Liddell says:

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

That’s what I see in Phil whenever he’s behind a kit – the sheer joy, confidence and excitement of knowing you’re doing what it is you’re supposed to be doing.

Phil also teaches drums in Inverness. I can’t think of anyone who would be better at it so if you’re from this area, and want drum lessons, you can get in touch with him here:



Photo by Marc Tatton

Collaborators 4: DUFI (a wee bit more)

June 25, 2009


Not long after writing my post about DUFI I received an email from them about their new project, which YOU can help them with.

Here’s what they had to say:


The National Portrait Gallery of Scotland will be hosting an exhibition later this year entitled Rough Cut Nation.

This unique multimedia project draws together a group of young artists from around Scotland to create a dramatic collaborative installation. For the Edinburgh Festival they will construct a remixed version of Scottish history as informed by street art and graffiti culture, painted, pasted and projected directly onto the walls of the Portrait Gallery.

The project updates William Hole’s original decorative mural scheme of 1889-1898, depicting important events from Scotland’s past. This new installation exploits the empty space produced by the Gallery’s current closure for redevelopment.

The original mural by William Hole portrays elements of Scottish history with strong religious and at times Protestant overtones.

As one of the artist duos involved, we are interested in exploring religious iconography and the use of Jesus as a moral or social catalyst within both Scottish history and contemporary culture.

With that in mind we would like to ask you three questions:

1. In one word, describe who was/is Jesus?
2. In one word, what does Jesus have to do with Scottish History?
3. What impact has Jesus had on Scotland past, present and future?

The answers that we collect from these questions will potentially form part of the final artwork, but will not be attributed to any one individual.
Thank you for your willingness to participate in this project, please send your answers to DUFI.JESUS@GMAIL.COM

DUFI ART | Guerrilla Art & Creativity

Collaborators 4: DUFI

June 23, 2009

(This is the 4th in a series of posts on people I’ve worked with recently. The 1st post is here, the 2nd here, the 3rd here).


DUFI are, in their own words,

‘The collaborative brainchild of graphic designer Al MacInnes and photographer Fin Macrae born from love for spray-paint, canned art and creativity. “Spray the word if the word’s worth spraying”.’


I’ve known Al & Fin for a few years and my life is much richer for it. They are both incredibly talented, generous people and, together and alone, produce amazing artwork.

Al designed the amazing artwork and digital booklet for my Jesus is for Losers album:


And Fin contributed these cracking photos:



Thanks guys!

Al MacInnes (graphic design): www.moose77.com

Fin Macrae (photography): www.finmacrae.com

DUFI: www.dufi-art.blogspot.com

Collaborators 3: Iain Hutchison

June 12, 2009

(This is the 3rd in a series of posts on people I’ve worked with recently. The first post is here, the second here).


Iain Hutchison is a musician, sound engineer, producer and one of the most talented, and nicest, people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.

Iain mastered my Jesus is for Losers album a while back. When I then decided I wanted to re-mix the whole thing he listened to each new mix and gave me pointers along the way on how to improve it. He then mastered the album track-by-track, again, as I released the songs sporadically over a few months. Needless to say he’s a very patient man.

Iain runs his own recording studio, Glo-Worm, from his home in the west-end of Glasgow. He also works at Secret Music recording studios, where he’s worked with Capercaillie, James Grant, Eddie Reader and many other stalwarts of the Scottish folk scene.

He’s also got a couple of his own musical projects on the go, one of them being the band Torag, who put out a CD a couple of years ago which is lovely – have a listen here.

Iain also joined me on stage for my recent gig in Edinburgh, and I hope to play alongside him a lot more in the future.

So, if you’re looking for an experienced engineer, an imaginative producer and a genuinely talented musician to help you make your next record, I can’t recommend Iain enough – just go to www.glo-worm.com to find out more about his studio and to contact him.

Collaborators 2: Mark Hilditch

June 1, 2009

Accompanying me on many a gig over the last few years has been Mark ‘Big Boss’ Hilditch. A great friend, a supremely talented musician and ‘the-man-with-no-ego’, Mark is the perfect man to make music with.


In his previous guise as leader of rave/dance outfit Big Boss, you might have seen him looking a bit more like this:




To say Mark is a keen cyclist would be a huge understatement. His idea of fun is to get up at 6am on a Saturday and go for a 60-mile bike ride. (My idea of fun is to lie on the couch and watch as much of a DVD box-set as I can in one day).

One day Mark was cycling to work and, half-way down a very steep hill, his handlebars snapped off. Unable to stop, he had 2 choices – either keep going down the hill and very likely fall off his bike at great speed onto the hard tarmac, or,  come off the road onto the grassy verge and hope the bike slows down and he has a softer landing.

He chose the latter option and came flying off his bike, landing on his head. When he stood up he realised something wasn’t quite right and, being a doctor, figured he must have injured himself in some way.

So does he call an ambulance? Does he call his wife or a friend to come get him? No, he does his best to fix his bike, gets back on it and cycles the rest of the way to the hospital where he works. After some tests, he’s told he has broken his neck.

So as not to worry anyone, he waited until the end of the day before phoning his wife to tell her and when I went to visit him at home I didn’t heard him complain once.

The man is a legend.


Oh, he also played on several tracks from my Jesus is for Losers album, and kindly lent me his VERY cool Korg MS-20:


I used this to make the cool old analogue sounds on  Jesus, Jesus’ Hands and Jesus, I.


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