Tour officially kicked off Friday night in Glasgow, and I couldn’t have asked for a better start. The show was part of the Glasgow Americana Festival, and I was thrilled to walk out onstage and see a standing room only crowd filling the club. I’d played that same room as an opener a few years ago, and it was a really special moment to come back and fill it up on my own. You take your wins where you can get them in this business, and that sure felt like one. My old tourmate and BBC host Ricky Ross was in the audience, which added another layer of meaning for me because I was able to perform a brand new song he’d helped me write on the road last year. Ricky (along with the festival promoter Kevin Morris and the BBC producer Richard Murdoch) was one of the first people to take a chance on supporting me in the UK, and I’m so grateful for the continued support.
Before I could play the gig, I had to drive back down from the Highlands. The sun was out when I woke up in (a seriously rare occurrence around those parts—they say it rains 360 days out of the year in Fort William), so I decided to take advantage of the weather before my journey and go back to Glenfinnan Viaduct to catch the westbound Jacobite steam train. With the drenching rain gone, there were now roughly 100 other hikers and tourists assembled to watch it pass, and it was quite a sight.
I followed the train to catch it in a few more scenic spots, but once it left me behind, I took my time driving around just marveling at the beauty of the landscape. Everything looked so different in the sunshine, much friendlier and more inviting. Without the low fog layer, I could see just how enormous some of the mountains actually were. Every five minutes or so, the weather would change completely. You could watch the rain clouds roll down through the hills and pass right over you only to reveal the brilliant sunshine again just a few minutes later.
After Glasgow came a pair of private shows in Hull and Sheffield. I don’t do a lot of house shows, but if I know the hosts are professional/experienced, they can be really memorable events where you make lasting connections with an audience. You get a chance to be a little less formal and a little more interactive, and I’ve got to say, some of the most wonderful people I’ve met on the road have been through house gigs. Glasgow to Hull was an all day drive, but Hull to Sheffield was a short one, so before the gig, I paid a visit to Peak Rail, a restored steam line that runs in the scenic Peak District. (If you’re noticing a theme here, I’m visiting a bunch of vintage steam railways on this tour because they’re usually not running when I’m in the UK, and they’re a lot of fun to photograph.) This line was originally constructed in the 1840s, and looked like something straight out of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Tomorrow is a day off that’ll take me to Wales, and on Tuesday, I make my Dublin headline debut at the legendary Whelan’s!