This will be Dick Gaughan's first Rogue gig in 6 years, and his 8th overall, dating back to 1992. A revered guitarist singer, songwriter, and activist, he is one of the best loved of all Scots folk musicians. Check out his recent rendition of Robert Burns' song Westlin Winds for just one example of his prowess - and why he is so beloved of music fans from Scotland, Ireland and beyond: https://youtu.be/ZDB0P57nQds
What can we tell you about the man? We could tell you many things, but for accuracy we'll defer to his own website, www.dickgaughan.co.uk Firstly, and most importantly, Dick Gaughan is a Scot, from Leith on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. His mother, Frances MacDonald, was a Highland Scot, originally from Bohenie in Lochaber, whose first language was Gaelic. She was a singer in both Gaelic and English and won a silver medal at one of the Gaelic Mods as a child in the 30s while at school in Arisaig. His father, Dick, was born in Leith of an Irish father, also called Dick (Gaughan's grandfather) an Irish speaker and fiddle player, from Doohoma in Iorrais, Co Mayo. Gaughan's grandmother, Bridget Madden, born in Glasgow of Irish parents from Killala, played button accordion and was also a singer, in English only. Gaughan was brought up immersed in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish, which naturally, therefore, provide the foundation for everything he does.
He has been a professional musician and singer since 1970, has been playing guitar since the age of 7, and made his first solo album in 1971. Working mainly in the areas now known as "Folk" or "Celtic" music, he has recorded quite extensively since then in many countries and in various combinations. He has also worked extensively as a session musician in a wide variety of musical styles. He was an early member of the band Boys of the Lough and is on their first album and was with the now-legendary Scottish Folk-Rock band, Five Hand Reel, making 3 albums with them. In the 90s he founded and produced the short-lived but quite extraordinary ensemble Clan Alba.
His 1981 album Handful of Earth was voted Album of the Decade for the 1980s in both Readers' and Critics' polls in "Folk Roots" (now called "fRoots").
Having very eclectic tastes, he also plays everything from free jazz and rock to country music. He plays most fretted stringed instruments but his natural instrument, and perhaps what he is happiest doing, is acoustic guitar.
His greatest musical love is for the ancient traditional Scots ballads. Also know as The Muckle Sangs (the big songs), these are the big story songs which form a substantial part of Scotland's living wealth of traditional song. Over the years, Gaughan has recorded and performed many of these "Muckle Sangs", The great Scots Ballads are mostly of very great antiquity with some of the themes and motifs being traceable back thousands of years. Full of mystical and supernatural references. they are very dramatic and powerful.
Dick has also been quite passionately obsessed by computers since 1984 and has been designing and building websites since the birth of the WWW.
Among his greatest influences he cites Karl Marx, Groucho Marx, Flann O'Brien, Bert Jansch, Betty Frieden, John Lennon, Vladimir Illych Lenin, Davy Graham, Doc Watson, Hank Williams, Jeannie Robertson, Ewan MacColl, Bertolt Brecht, Crazy Horse, Sandy Denny, Martin Carthy, Clarence White, Sean O'Riada, Big Bill Broonzy, Hamish Henderson, Robert Burns and everybody else he ever met, read, saw, heard or spoken with!
One "hero" not mentioned above is Tom Paine, the Englishman who wrote The Rights Of Man and was one of the authors of the constitution of the United States of America in 1776 and of the French Revolution in 1789. Here is Dick's recording of Tom Paine's Bones, from his album Outlaws & Dreamers. For history buffs, the graphics here are quite incredible! https://youtu.be/qd2AHZ22SJ8
Today is the 14th anniversary of 9/11. Dick Gaughan was on tour in North America at that time, and was stranded in New York and unable to perform at The Rogue the next weekend. This past week he had some problems at the immigration counter at Edinburgh airport and missed his flight to BC. He had to cancel two shows on Vancouver Island and caught a later flight. So if you have any friends in Victoria or Courtenay who are bemoaning the loss of a Dick Gaughan show in their fine towns this week, please invite them to our show and offer them a place to stay in your own abode! We have plenty of tickets left and urge you to come along and help celebrate the launch of our new "season" with one of the most remarkable performers of Celtic and Folk music on the planet! Click here for tickets and information: Dick Gaughan
2. Roguelele Night, Tuesday September 15th, 7:30pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Our monthly series of Ukulele Jam Nights and Singalongs continues on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Led by the irrepressible entertainer Ralph Shaw these "shows" commence with a few songs by Ralph, using his own songbook - which contains lyrics and chord charts for everyone to join in. The sight - and sound - of more than 100 ukulele players strumming and singing together is quite amazing! Brave musicians can also sign up for the open mic portion of the show in the second half, and the evening ends with more singalongs - culminating in Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life! Doors open at 6:30, but if you can be there earlier to help set up the chairs and tables it makes life easier for all of us. It's a great way to celebrate music and community. Even if you don't have a uke you can still join in the fun!
3. Radio Waves
On The Edge On Folk this Saturday - 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 in Vancouver and www.citr.ca everywhere - I'll have an exclusive new track by Dick Gaughan, plus two or three of his classics; I'll also feature new CDs by Dar Williams, Connie Kaldor, Guy Davis, Hazmat Modine, Oliver Swain, Alison Brown, Blackthorn, the new Compass Records tribute to Ewan MacColl, and a couple of stunningly beautiful songs by Australian singer Miriam Lieberman. And a whole lot more. I hope you can join me!
Radio Rogue is on the air 24/7 with a newly-expanded playlist (including many songs added this week by all the above performers.) You can tune in by clicking RADIO ROGUE
4. Celtic Connection - and future Rogue shows
My latest column in the monthly paper came out this week. Pick up a copy at the Dick Gaughan show or your favourite Celtic Music store or venue. Here is an excerpt, which previews our next few concerts:
On Saturday, September 19th, Vancouver Celtic quartet Blackthorn launch a fine new CD, Open Skies, at St. James Hall. The album showcases the powerful fiddle of Rosie Carver and the sparkling voice and flute of Michelle Carlisle, with Tim Renaud and Michael Viens adding their voices and multiple instrumental skills to the infectious mix. My favourite tracks are Andy M Stewart's "Queen Of Argyll", "Jolly Rovin' Tar", and the instrumental medleys that follow them and those that stand alone as testament to the variety and quality of their collective musicianship. There's also a moving slow air - and a faster tune - dedicated to one of their late band members, Dianne Foster. Tunes and songs from Quebec add to the mix, and there's even a Portuguese Ceilidh tune! The title track was written by Carlisle as a tribute to her home province of Saskatchewan, which coincidentally is also the birthplace of our next guest performer, Connie Kaldor, whose new CD is entitled "Love Sask". Connie returns to The Rogue on September 25th after a 6 year absence from these climes. She was one of the pioneering Canadian songwriting women who followed on from Joni Mitchell and revitalized the music scene in the 70s and 80s and beyond. She is also one of the most entertaining and downright funny performers you will ever see! I first saw her at Expo 86 - when she added Spirit of the West to her backing band when they couldn't get a gig at the Folklife Pavilion for love or money, due to some very short-sighted programming - and I've been a fan of hers ever since! She's played 12 times at The Rogue down the days, and we can't wait to hear her new songs - and those great tales of prairie life.
Two guitar masters - Ontario's Don Ross and England's Jon Gomm - come to The Rogue on September 27th. Don often describes his music as "heavy wood" and both these players use percussive fretwork to great effect. Don grew up in Montreal, and his Scots father was an opera singer and bagpiper! Luckily for us, his sister introduced him to the guitar and he has become one of the most celebrated guitarists on the planet, with a succession of brilliant CDs and mind-blowing live performances to his credit. Like Don, Blackpool's Jon Gomm has adapted several rock anthems to the acoustic guitar and he has just released his 3rd CD, Live In The Acoustic Asylum. We are delighted to present his first Vancouver concert - and Don's 25th Rogue show!
Another treat for fans of Irish music is the return of Bothy Band and Patrick Street fiddler Kevin Burke, who now lives in Portland. He was raised in London, but his family travelled to Ireland for summer holidays and he was fortunate to have a wonderfully open-minded violin teacher as a child. Jessie Christopherson encouraged him to play all sorts of music, but realised that his first love was Irish fiddle music, especially that played by Michael Coleman ("that man finds the soul of his instrument", she said, introducing young Master Burke to the notion of instruments with soul.) Kevin certainly has found the soul of his violin, too! His concert - The Naked Fiddle of Kevin Burke - is at The Rogue at St. James Hall on Sunday October 4th. “With the great popularity of various groups over the last 25 years or so, many people have forgotten that this kind of music used to be played mainly solo. The bands, groups and accompanists are a relatively recent development… so I thought it would be interesting to let people hear the ‘naked’ fiddle once more,” he says.
See you down The Rogue!