One of life's great joys, and sometimes frustrations, is that it can be difficult to predict. We can be cruising along, navigating to a point we've fixed on the horizon, confident of the length of our stride and the firmness of our footing. In my experience, the path is seldom very smooth. For me now, the trick has been to become a little more capable of adapting to the things which spring up along the way. The setbacks, the puzzles, the confusions. That's not to say that I've become any less determined to find my way through, just a little more open to the notion that there may be more than one, single route. In the spirit of this, I had been laying plans for the release of my album at the start of last week. A long period of intense effort for me was now reaching the next phase, the period where some sort of bravery is required. The work is finished, I am happy that it's my best work, I 'like' it. Then the realisation sets in. However long and hard the work has been, that's been the easy bit. Now the time comes to gently edge it out into the world. It will be seen, heard, judged. Worse still, it may not be seen, heard, or ever judged. I wonder if anyone at all will even notice something to which I have given my all. I am very painstaking and precise in my work. I'm lucky in that have both the time and facility to indulge the slow pace at which I work in the studio. I have always reasoned to myself that the time taken to complete the recordings was proof positive that I cared deeply about getting it 'right'. Now I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm just a bit afraid to let it go. And so, last Monday I set off on a gruelling solo jaunt around the UK. Me and the guitar set off to talk and sing to people who wanted listen, and probably some who didn't. As I headed up the M1 I got the first of a couple of welcome surprises. Blues and Roots Radio Worldwide had decided to make the album, their Record of the Week. How wonderful, at least someone else has reacted. A short while later comes the news that The Hotdisc Radio Syndicate has logged my single in at Number 3 in it's first week of release. By the time I reach my bed for that night I am a wee bit less nervous about what is to come the following day. Tuesday comes and I make my way to some appointments. I have an interview and live session to film in the morning in the Scottish borders. Nice people, interesting, interested and well researched. Very enjoyable. I climb back in my car and point it further north towards Fife. Arriving that evening in Kircaldy, I book a simple room and venture out for something to eat, and this is where things get a bit crazy. I'm sitting alone in an Indian restaurant when news arrives about day one of the album.
I get a message telling me that Cross The Line is straight in at number 9 in the iTunes UK Country Chart. I want this to be true, but suspect it can't be! All thumbs trying to look it up on my phone, but eventually, sure enough, there I am in the top ten. An unbelievable moment for me. I will never forget it. Desperate to share with someone I try to interest the waiter, who is polite, but only has time for Bhangra. He'd be happy to talk about that. We do, for quite some time. What a night! Walking around the town, looking at my screen over and over, nope, it's still there. I will never forget. In the week that followed, my album continued to perform incredibly well, spending most of it's time in the top 3, and craziest of all, two days at number 1! The other records in the chart at that time were all by big hitters and country music greats. Some of them I owned. Most of them I like. Above all, my wee homemade record was rubbing shoulders with the champions. Built on nothing more than effort, drive and a lot of love from those who contributed and sustained me along the way. I had my answer. Some other people really did appreciate my hard work. Some even bought it.
My heartfelt thanks to all who now own my album and to those who may yet go on to get one.