Fife really does have everything, doesn’t it?” laughed Dougie Maclean, when I caught up with him for a chat ahead of his string of dates across the region.
Fresh from a storming set at Celtic Connections in Glasgow the leading singer-songwriter will be embarking on a tour around Scotland which will lead him to Fife next week.
“It was a great show in Glasgow,” Dougie said. “There’s something about doing a concert with just one man on stage with his music and the audience in the main auditorium.”
The winter festival is celebrating itss 25th year, and a regular at the festival, Dougie is marking his own anniversary – the 40th anniversary of his debut solo album ‘Caledonia’.
The album’s title track has become known as an unofficial Scottish anthem to many, something that Dougie is extremely proud of.
“It’s great, it really is. I wrote this song way back when I was in my 20s, so to have it still going strong to this day is a really great achievement, I think. I wrote it on the beach in Brittany when I was really homesick, and I know that that is a feeling that most people associate with the song – the feeling of missing Scotland.
“It’s often played at football and rugby matches and it’s even popular across in Ireland. It’s hard to believe that it has stood the test of time they way that it has – it has even outdone some pop songs! It’s still out there and I’m still out there, too!
Dougie first taste of fame came as a member of the Tannahill Weavers back in 1976 where he played the fiddle. But his love of singing saw him branch out on his own.
“I may have started as a fiddle player,” he said. “But I always loved singing and that’s what Ireally wanted to do. I’ve always written songs, so I decided to take the leap and head out on my own. I guess that it took a lot of courage to do that, but it was something that I needed to do and in the end, it was the right move for me career-wise. I had to follow the singer-songwriter path.”
Since then, Dougie has released more than 20 solo albums with ‘New Tomorrow’ being the latest.
Released last year, the much-anticipated album has been attracting attention from across the world with air play and orders flooding in. It’s his first release since his acclaimed live Caledonia Cantata album.
The new studio album, which he has written, recorded and produced with his son Jamie MacLean combines a few well-loved songs which have already proved popular at his recent concerts with a selection of new songs.
The album is a beautifully curated selection of songs including the title track New Tomorrow … a timelessly poignant song written for his grandsons. It also features Shadow of the Mountain, one of MacLean’s most popular concert songs and stories.
He wrote the song in Alaska on tour and it tells the tale of the volcano looming over the town in which he was performing.
Wild And Windy Night is a modern take on a ‘night-visiting song’, the choruses feature audiences from MacLean’s own Perthshire Amber Festival and the popular Woodford Festival in Australia.
So how did working with his son turn out?
“It was great,” Dougie said. “A lot of fun. I wanted it to be called by Dougie and Jamie Maclean because he did so much work on it, but he didn’t want that. The best thing is that since he has a much more eclectic taste in music than I do, he helps keep me young and the music feeling fresh, which can only be a good thing.”
With four decades of experience in the music business, what propels Dougie to keep going?
“I do it because I love it. I’m just a travelling troubadour still heading back on the road,” he laughed. “I still get nervous before heading out on stage, that’s something that has never left me. I remember doing a gig in Boston with this group of musicians and we were all walking around backstage to shake off the nerves before heading onstage.
“We were all given our own little area but we kept bumping into each other! But no, I think that once you stop feeling nervous, I think that’s when your ego has landed and then you’re in trouble!”
Dougie is heading to Fife to kick off his next run of dates, and it’s something of a mini-tour as it sees him take in a number of venues around the region.
“I am looking forward to my first of a series of concerts in Fife spread out over the next 18 months,” he said. “I have heard it’s a lovely theatre venue in Kirkcaldy and that the acoustics are great. I’ve always loved Fife, I think it has everything that you can ever want. You never have to leave!” he added, laughing. “I’m planning a night filled with old favourites mixed with a few new songs that I hope the audience will really appreciate... hope they’re all getting ready to raise the roof with a couple of those choruses!”
As well as playing Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre on Friday, February 16, Dougie will play Glenrothes Rothes Halls on Saturday, August 18; Lochgelly Centre, Saturday, November 24; and Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Visit www.onfife.com for tickets.