The Highland journey begins with ‘Big Brown Sky’ – an idea birthed while we were staying near Edinburgh around the time of the Scottish referendum. You can hear the bit about ‘Celidgh Al, as bold as brass… ’ – referring to Alex Salmon, the Scottish leader at the time. Then the action moves down south to Bedfordshire: An old disused airfield with a broken down shack to one side where secret agents were kitted out prior to flying off to occupied Europe. That shack goes by the name of ‘Gibraltar Farm’ and I can just hear you asking ‘what on earth does that have to do with Scotland?’ It was long after I had written the song about a girl named Violette flying off to France from Gibraltar Farm, that I happened upon a place in the far reaches of the western highlands, where the real Violette actually trained for her dangerous mission. Arisaig House was the headquarters of the super-secret SOE during the war, and in its foyer still hangs the code poem written for Violette all those years ago. Just over the road from Arisaig House we stayed with Canadian pastor Alan and his family, and on the next track you can hear his daughter, Alyssa Smillie singing with me on ‘Still’, a love song inspired by the timeless rugged grandeur of the highlands. That grandeur also carries many secrets, and one of them is that along with Violette, there were more than 3,000 secret agents trained in the Lochaber region during the war. ‘The Eyes of Lochaber’ is my musical homage to this weighty enterprise. Finally it was time to leave Scotland and ‘Not in Narnia’ is a tongue in cheek lament of leaving the Highlands and heading back down the M6. The cover art is a painting by highland artist Claire Innes, and the EP is available as a digital download from June 26, the birthday of Violette Szabo, GC.
Morganisation are joined by piper Robert Gardner and guitarist Steve Brown on ‘The Eyes of Lochaber’, and by Canadian born singer Alyssa Smillie singing with Dave on ‘Still’. The cover art is a painting by highland artist Claire Innes and the songs are biographical with a lick of social comment plus the mandatory romance(!!) – all built around the ambience of the Scottish highlands. ‘Highland’ first appeared as a limited edition CD for sale at a live performance in Arisaig, Feb 2018.