Howdy Folks,

been a little while getting some updates flowing - best laid plans and all that.

In the meantime there's been plenty going on.

The album of material Michael Kennedy and I were working on before his passing is about to begin tracking in mid-August which is very exciting. Happy to be able to be working with Kate Burke on the principle guitar duties for that.

It's going to be a fairly jigsaw puzzle-like process with guitar being laid down first, then scooted over to scotland for John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick to lay down fiddles and winds, James MacKintosh to put down percussion and then back to me to stitch it all together with what is required in the way of strings.

Vocalists on the album will be Karine Polwart - who Michael was a huge fan of and I'm thrilled to have on board; Chris While - who worked with Michael numerous times; Shane Howard - another example of real mutual understanding with Michael; and Carl Panuzzo who has championed Michael's work in Castlemaine.

All in all the gentle burblings that are beginning to simmer are very exciting for me, if a little daunting!

All the while we are progressing on as well with Kate Burke and Ruth Hazelton's next album. In between kids, mums and producer all getting bugs and there not being enough hours in the day to keep all our plates spinning, Skype is becoming a good meeting place for gleeful raves about songs, instrumentation and arrangements. It's a old school level of enthusiasm mixed with a very new school method - and it's FUN.

Also on the go is an album with Fiona Ross, also at the song selection stage where I am getting to reawaken the love for songs I used to hear in the car on the way to primary school. In particular is Mill O Tifty's Annie - though whether it makes the cut from shortlist to tracklist I am not sure. It truly is a heart wrenching story.

In a bizarre way it is humbling as well for me. I have felt such extreme and visceral outrage at hearing of so called "honour" killings around the world. In my mind that violence has been equated with such a level of brutality and savagery that I see as inhuman. Somehow in my arrogance and moral high ground I have ignored the examples of exactly the same thing littered throughout traditional folk song and story from my own cultural heritage.

I think we have to be fairly careful not to forget that our culture has been guilty of many of the things we condemn. I would like to believe that there is cause for hope in that. Cultures inevitably progress, no matter how frustratingly slow it takes, they DO progress.

At this her father did her scorn
And likewise did her mother
And her sisters too did her disown
But woe be to her brother

For her brother struck her wondrous sore
With cruel blows and many
And he broke her back on the temple stone
All for liking Andrew Lammie

“Oh mother, father, sisters dear
Why so cruel to your Annie?
My heart was broken first by love
Now my brother's broke my body