Horse’s vital spark

Horse McDonald
Horse McDonald

AFter a tour of Australia and a period writing and recording, Horse McDonald returns to the stage in Kirkcaldy next week.

Her ‘Wee I Am Tour’ of just four dates follows the launch of her new single, ‘‘I Am’’ last Monday.

“The song ‘I Am’, it’s an excuse in effect to get a chance to try out in front of an audience a couple of new songs,” she laughs. “It’s amazing how many times we use the words ‘I am’ in every day sentences.

“It just is, I am and it’s a bit of my story really.

“When I was knee high to a grasshopper my parents wanted me to be what I wanted to be, but it wasn’t what they wanted me to be. I didn’t fit in, it wasn’t me. It’s about keeping fighting to be who we are.”

These latest dates will see fans get a chance to hear some of the new material Horse and her band have been working on and which could be on her as yet untitled ninth album due for release later this year.

“I wanted to play for the interaction at this point, with the eight new songs we’ve got.

“Whenever you are at a place, it’s different anyway with a different crowd.

“There are some tremendous new songs in there and this is a good opportunity to let people hear them and see what they think. I’m very proud of them and I think this album was always going to be the best so far.

“For me it’s a book end with ‘Same Sky.’ When I started my record label I wasn’t trying to do better albums, just writing songs and hoping they were going to appeal to people.

“As my catalogue goes on and on I feel I get better as a songwriter. I feel in a funny sort of way, not lucky, but like I live in a parallel world with the music industry.

“I’m still hungry, still creative and very keen to record and perform for ever, for the rest of my life.’’

After 20 years of performing, recording and touring, how do you measure success?

“One thing I measure it by is how important my music is to people and I’m finding more and more it’s very important.

“I had a message from a woman who had just found out her best friend’s 10-year-old daughter was in palliative care, and the girl had asked for my song, ‘Heaven Can Wait’ to be played at her funeral.

“When she passed away I asked if there was something I could do, but she’d said to me ‘you’ve already done it’, meaning by writing the song. That to me was huge.

“My success is people loving my music and it meaning so much to them.”

The Adam Smith Theatre is a venue which is not new to Horse, as she returns year on year to entertain her fans.

Born in Newport-on-Tay but now resident in Lanark, Horse admits she feels more than comfortable when she’s on stage in the Lang Toun.

“Kirkcaldy is a bit like my hometown,” she says fondly. “Every time we’re here it feels a wee bit like coming home - the audiences are always brilliant.

“I drop by the theatre every so often and speak with the girls at the box office. The theatre has got a great atmosphere which suits me and I really like it.

“Every year at the Adam Smith I get asked to do ‘Letter To Anne Marie’ - I’m sure it’s the same person who asks for it! - but I haven’t played that song in how many years.

“I have so many songs they are all like my children - but I love touring. Every night’s different depending on the crowd.”

Horse’s music has spanned more than two decades, with the release of her first album, ‘Same Sky’ back in 1990.

“It’s been my life’s work,” she says, “I’m not going to stop doing music.”

“I have seen a lot of changes in the music industry and I don’t think I have made many adjustments.

“The bottom line is you have to have a good singing ability. Standards have to be really high, that’s what I have always aimed for.

“I’ve listened back to stuff from way back and can hear the spark, and that’s the other thing I want to keep - the spark in what we do.”

Horse will be joined on stage by the band currently working on her new album. The chemistry between them, she says, is great and they are all proud of the end results.

“The brand is my voice, but what’s coming from our work is something special from the entire band. I don’t like to say I influence them, but there’s a lot of idea sharing in the band and we all seem to be going the same way.

‘‘We’re all on the same page and basically it’s great.”

The new album is currently a work in progress, but Horse is pleased with how things are going so far and it is set to be released later this year when a full album tour around the UK is also planned.

Seven or eight songs are already written and will be mixed into a set list along with the old favourites.

“‘Ghost’ may become one of the best songs I have ever written. I can only describe it as truely beautiful. I wrote it with Grant the guitarist, and there’s something other worldly about it.

“It’s almost like a piece of music as well as a good song.

“I have played it a few times and people absolutely love it.

“Then there’s the single, ‘I Am’ and another one we’re working on called ‘Break The Silence.’ It’s really special.

“I have a really good feeling about this album.

“This is the first time some people will have heard any of these songs so we’ll be able to get their reaction.”