Dougie MacLean is one of Scotland's most loved musical artists. He is a singer, songwriter, composer, and performer. His love song to Scotland, Caledonia, has become a part of the country's social fiber and is often mentioned as a future national anthem when talk turns to Scottish independence.
MacLean was raised in a rural setting by a mother and father who both loved music. He recalls making up little tunes at a very early age. Born in 1954, he was influenced, as most young people of the time were, by The Beatles, but also by pop-folk singers of the time like James Taylor, Jackson Brown and Joni Mitchell.
MacLean's music is, in his word, "authentic." He draws from his life in Scotland, experiences there and the spirit of the land, when writing his music that combines folk style lyrics with a contemporary finger-style guitar playing. His songs don't often get radio play yet he has performed in front of millions of fans worldwide at venues no less than New York's Carnegie Hall. You can find a bit of Scotland in all of his music, whether it be a reference to his home in the Perthshire hills, to the sea that is so much a part of life for so many in Scotland.
MacLean has been honored with an OBE for his services to music and charity, he has two prestigious Tartan Clef Awards, has been inducted into the Scottish Music Hall of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award from the BBC.
In 2014 MacLean celebrated his 40th year as a performed by teaming up with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to record and release "Till Tomorrow" adding a unique symphonic element to many of his best loved songs, both contemporary and classical.
In this episode, part one of our visit with Dougie MacLean, he talks about his earliest musical influences, how his life in Scotland inspires his music, and of course about his much loved tune, Caledonia.
Eleven years ago MacLean created Perthshire Amber - The Dougie MacLean Music Festival as a means of both giving back to the part of Scotland he calls home and to help aspiring artists to find their musical voice. In 2016 the once 10-day event will be paired down to 4 days but still features not just music, but an exploration of Pertshire's landscape, history, heritage and culture.
Technology is also a part of MacLean's musical enterprises now with Butterstone TV, a subscription based video streaming service that provides a window into his music, performances, and more.
We explore both the festival and his online work in Part Two of Dougie MacLean: Songs of Scotland.
•Highland Perthshire (Tourist info)