The last time Scottish singer / songwriter Amy Duncan graced these pages was in May last year when we featured Cycles of Life as an Album of the Month. Her emotive and deeply personal songwriting made an instant impression with both Neil who reviewed the album and Simon who caught the live album launch.
2014 has proven to be a busy and productive time for Amy with a Canadian tour already under her belt, a new album on the way and a Scottish summer tour kicking off this month as part of the 2014 Made in Scotland Showcase. We caught up with Amy to talk about what’s looking to be a great year for her:
Whilst the year kicked off with an exciting start on Prince Edward Island it wasn’t without its challenges as she revealed. “I was performing at the East Coast Music Week in Prince Edward Island with Fiona Rutherford (harp) and Lawrie MacMillan (bass) as part of the Showcase Scotland Expo. I was really lucky to be only one of 2 Scottish acts chosen (the amazing Rua MacMillan Trio were the other act). We had a very interesting time! Fiona’s harp and Lawrie’s bass were both left at Heathrow along with all of our belongings. Luckily my guitar arrived and we managed to borrow instruments for our performances. It was a bit stressful but we managed to see the funny side after a while! It was my first time performing outside the UK and everyone was really friendly and we got really good feedback from the delegates at the event. I would love to go back and tour there sometime.”
There’s no doubt that Amy’s profile has risen since the release of Cycles of Life and her current Made in Scotland Showcase will only serve to raise that profile further. With the support of Creative Scotland she’s managed to pull together a great tour. “Yes I am pleased I managed to put this tour together, and am really excited and lucky to be able to bring a string trio, harp and double bass with me thanks yet again to the support of Creative Scotland. The first date is at The Glad Cafe in Glasgow on the 7th June with Mr McFalls Chamber playing my string arrangements and the wonderful Rachel Newton who will be performing a special solo set to open the night.
“At the beginning of 2014 I had no idea if any of my funding applications were going to be successful, but was so pleased to have another chance to perform in the Made In Scotland Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe. This year I have a run of 3 dates at Summerhall on the 15th, 16th and 17th August where I will be showcasing a new body of songs called Undercurrents which is later going to be released as my 5th album.”
The title of Amy’s new album suggests an underlying theme which she revealed has a positive light. “The underlying theme in ‘Undercurrents’ is about going below the surface to connect with the deep and hidden emotions, engaging fully with life, rather than observing from the edge. It is about seeing through limiting personal beliefs and finding the truth underneath.”
Although Amy has still to finish the album it already sounds like it is building to be a stronger album. “I am still writing the songs (I have about 10 written at this stage) and there is a good balance between guitar and piano based songs. I intend to work with Calum Malcolm again when it comes to recording the album, but before that I can’t wait to share all of the songs at the live performances with harp, strings and percussion. I feel my writing has matured since Cycles of Life as I have gained confidence, so I think ‘Undercurrents’ is stronger and more assured, but maybe you should come along to the shows and let me know what you think!”
07 – Glad Cafe, Glasgow (with Mr McFall’s Chamber)
15 – Lyth Arts Centre, Wick
21 – Mash House, Edinburgh
18 – The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
19 – Hospitalfield Arts, Arbroath
24 – The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool
25 – Corran Halls, Oban
26 – An Cridhe, Coll
27 – Scarinish Hotel, Tiree
29 – An Tobar Mull
15th- Made In Scotland Showcase: Summerhall, Edinburgh 10.30pm
16th- Made In Scotland Showcase: Summerhall, Edinburgh 10.30pm
17th- Made In Scotland Showcase: Summerhall, Edinburgh 10.30pm
13th- Universal Hall, Findhorn
26th- Cowane’s Hospital, Stirling Fringe
After the performances ‘Undercurrents’ will be recorded and released as Amy’s fifth album.