Picking up the Pictish Trail on long journey back to Fife

Johnny Lynch (aka Pictish Trail ) is performing at Tae Sup Wi A Fifer in Kirkcaldy on Saturday.
Johnny Lynch (aka Pictish Trail ) is performing at Tae Sup Wi A Fifer in Kirkcaldy on Saturday.

The former Fence Records label manager is looking forward to returning to Fife this weekend as he features on the bill for the latest ‘Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer’ event in Kirkcaldy.

Johnny Lynch, who is known as The Pictish Trail, runs one of Scotland’s most exciting indie labels, Lost Map Records. He is as famous for his brightly-coloured bobble hats as he is for his eloquent songs.

The Pictish Trail is performing at the Adam Smith Theatre..

The Pictish Trail is performing at the Adam Smith Theatre..

The 36-year-old father-of-one is heading back to the region eight years after he relocated from the East Neuk to the Isle of Eigg.

Johnny, who has two albums, various mini-albums, EPs and singles under his belt, will be appearing on stage at the Adam Smith Theatre on Saturday alongside American experimental music genius Carl Stone, who will perform his set in surround sound, and Irish traveller, storyteller and folk singer, Thomas McCarthy.

Johnny explained what Tae Sup Wi A Fifer is all about: “It is a night that my friend James Yorkston curates and hosts. ,” he said.

“He puts together these evenings at the Adam Smith Theatre and it is quite an eclectic mix of stuff from singer/songwriters as well as poetry, folk music and comedy.

Carl Stone is one of the artists performing at Tae Sup Wi A Fifer this Saturday.

Carl Stone is one of the artists performing at Tae Sup Wi A Fifer this Saturday.

“This one seems to be the most eclectic yet.

“There will be myself, Carl Stone - who is an electronic experimental artist and Irish folk singer Thomas McCarthy, so it should be a very interesting evening.”

He continued: “The great thing about James’ evenings is that even if you don’t know the acts, you are assured of something interesting and a bit different to what you would normally get.

“Having it in Fife is really cool. “Out here on the Isle of Eigg there are around 100 people so it is really quite small.

“ It isn’t on a touring circuit and there aren’t a lot of bands coming up here, so going to live shows these days, given the fact I am also a dad, is a real boon!

“I am relishing the chance to go and experience live music in any capacity, so this night in Kirkcaldy should be really good.”

Johnny revealed what the audience can expect from his set on the night: “I am a singer/songwriter known as Pictish Trail. I predominently play with accoustic guitar and sing but the last few years I have been performing more with a backing band, a psychadelic rock band, and this year I am writing a new album so I am not touring as much.

“If someone is a fan of live music in general they should come along and see the show definitely. I am not a proficient musician. I am self-taught and this isn’t a boast, more of an apology! I sing a bit and I write songs - I enjoy performing and interacting with the audience and pushing buttons a bit. It is really nice to have the opportunity to do it.”

Johnny explained that it was through James, who he used to perform alongside in the Fence band Three Craws, that he got involved in Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer: “James asked me last year but coincidentally I had already been invited to a friend’s wedding so I went to that,” he said.

“When the opportunity came up again this year, James remembered me and that I hadn’t played at Tae Sup Wi A Fifer.

“I have known James for years. We have toured together loads, done four or five UK tours.

“He is a bit older than me but we share the same sense of humour which goes a long way.”

Johnny has played at the Adam Smith Theatre before but not for a few years.

He said: “The last time I was at the Adam Smith Theatre Lost Maps was touring and my album Secret Sounds Volume 2 was out.

“I was with a backing band on the label and we came a while ago I think in 2013.

“This time the event is taking place in a different room, it is more intimate. I lived in Cellardyke for ten years and went to St Andrews Uni and I remember trying to find venues to play in Kirkcaldy and there was really just the Adam Smith Theatre.

“I haven’t been back to Fife for ages - the last time I was here I I played a show in Dunfermline with Withered Hand about two years ago.”

The Pictish Trail said he really enjoyed his time living in the Kingdom: “I loved living there.

“When you are putting things on in a small village in Fife, you are relying on your local audience and friends to support what you are doing. Fife used to be great for folk musicians.

“I remember being at St Andrews Uni between 1999 and 2003 and I remember seeing things on the walls about all the big bands which had performed there back in the day - bands like The Jam and Dexys Midnight Runners and this was when they were big.

“Unfortunately most of the bands which played when I was there were groups like Steps tribute acts and I think Chesney Hawkes was there once. But it would be good to bring back the really cool bands and have the people to support them.”

Johnny says he feels fortunate to be able to work as a full time musician and believes it is important to support local singers and bands: “Supporting the arts and people’s creative endeavours is very important. I would encourage anyone who has not been Tae Sup Wi A Fifer to come along, even if musically it isn’t what you would normally like listening to.

“If people support local events like this they will grow and people might find that they enjoy listening to the music.”

He added: “Fife is a place with a rich musical history, particularly in terms of folk music and punk. I think the most interesting things happen on the outskirts of places.

“These places are not trying to be part of a specific thing. Fife is lucky in that respect, it has its own identity.”

Tickets for Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer are available from: www.onfife.com.