An interview with Dougie Burns prior to his gig at the Ironworks Easter Showcase on the 1st of April.
Last time I did an interview in Starbucks it was with two of City in Surveillance, they were both worse for wear after a night on the town , very rock n roll. So it was with a great sense of contrast that I met with the very smartly dressed Dougie Burns, who had agreed to meet up just after his work.
The sense of having another life away from work appears to be one of the roles that music plays in Dougie’s life. “I play music to get away from work… you sit down and just play, you don’t have to be under pressure, it’s nothing to do with the stresses and strains of the daily grind”.
For Dougie music has been a lifelong passion and you can tell, whether he’s talking about the Status Quo gig that he attended last week or about the local live music scene or about his enthusiasm for playing, music is without doubt in his blood.
It was the summer showcase of 2012 that changed our perceptions of Dougie, who until then had been one half of Bluebelly. Due to Bobby (the other half of the band) moving to Aberdeen, the opportunity to play together was reduced so finding other outlets to play and a reason to keep writing was important. This has meant Dougie taking full opportunity of the open mic nights at the Glachbeg, Greenhouse and The Eagle, which he hosted. He was also full of praise for Velocity, which he played recently.
As well as gigging Dougie has been recording his debut solo album which is nearing completion, hopefully April/May will see its release. The project sees a vast array of musical talent in various cameos these range from Davey Cowan to Joshua Mackenzie (Lionel) via Red Hook Rapids.Dougie found it easy to get people on board on board for the album, fully utilising his networking skills through the open mic and such like.
Also involved in the album are his daughter and his cousin (returning to music after more than a significant period away). The sense of family is portrayed in many ways in the album : Dougie identifying, on reflection, that some of the material was heavily influenced by his relationship with his daughter. “I started writing when she left home. Songs don’t come from nowhere,” he adds. A particularly poignant track on the album sees another family being brought together in song with “Home” with father Andy Murray (formerly of Wolfstone) starting the guitar of a tune,and it being completed by son, the aforementioned Joshua Mackenzie.
In contrast with some of the themes of the material, the title may take a lighter note with the album possibly being called the “Bog of Fame” leading to a very interesting plan for a photoshoot, Dougie has obviously considered this quite a bit! However I suspect describing the rationale will take away from the mystique. “It might just be called Cadillac” Dougie concedes.
For the showcase Dougie has pulled together various local musicians promising that “It’ll be a bit more rocky than my normal approach”. The band consists of Connor Meeks (Purple Divide), Ross Marquis (Highland Hot Club), Ross MacDonald (son of Bluebelly’s Bobby formerly of Echo 20 and Findo Gask) and Alastair Davies (Binsness Bluesboys), although longer term plans seem to be more in mould of a fluid collective that allows members to come and go.
However, he is clearly not giving up the acoustic style with gigs in Ullapool (along with Gilbert Anderson and later in the year with Bluebelly) at the Eden Court in August and a good few blues festivals around Scotland.He has also become the host of a monthly Dougie Burns and Friends Acoustic Music Evening starting on the 11th of April next with Ranald Smith and Gilbert Anderson as guests.
Tickets for the Easter Showcase can be bought via The Ironworks or from the acts direct.
Check out more of our Ironworks Easter Showcase coverage.