Get this plaid

Sitting on a dark and cold (very early) morning at my desk I clicked into my email and saw another link to another album. A couple of clicks and some copy and pasting and I had manipulated the songs into my media player. Another click on the play button and my morning was transformed.

What can make such a change to my morning. The album is question is the second album  ‘Plaid’ from Franklyn the stage name of Ayrshire singer songwriter Frances Grier.

The album is a mix of original compositions and covers of which her track  ‘Love Song’ can be heard on  Episode 55 of The Third Class Ticket Radio Show

So onto the album itself and why it made such an impression. It opens with an a capella introduction to ae fond kiss of course penned by fellow Ayrshire fellow Robert Burns. Playing through the album you hear haunting ethereal lullabies which bring mind pictures of rolling heather covered hills and would complement the soundtrack of Scottish hero movies. Think Wallace, McGregor or Bruce on the run and you wont be far off.  The album is crammed with upbeat electro, soft rock &  beautiful folk tracks all with the unmistakable soft voice reminiscent of Enya blended with the warmth of Judy Collins or Joni Mitchell.  A 5 star vocal performance and production level that compliments Frances’s voice perfectly .

If you are looking for some great new music get it PLAID

The album is available now on Spotify 


Here is Franklyn’s latest video


Keep up to date with Franklyn on Facebook


Team Golfathon presents ‘The Decades’

Since its inception 9 years ago Team Golfathon has helped raise money for Yorkhill hospital, break through breast cancer care and laterally over £120,000 for Ayrshire Hospice.  The main driving forces behind the fundraising team have been good friends Rikki Black & Andrew Reid. Starting off as an attempt to play as many holes of golf in one day the pair quickly changed their tact to sportsmen’s brunch’s, live music nights, ladies nights and charity golf days.

The team are happy to diversify with Rikki stating  Basically if anyone comes up with an idea that would raise money for the hospice we will try it!!!

The event is taking place in Taylors in Kilwinning on Friday 28th September from 9pm. 3 local DJ’s will take you from 70’s to the present day. Tickets are priced at £5 and although they are selling well a few are still available at the venue or on the door on the night.


The night will kick off with well-known floor filling DJ Jack Blades who is coming out of retirement for one night only. Jack has worked across Ayrshire and Glasgow from the late 70’s to the mid 80’s with residences in Rio’z(sic), Parkers, Bobby Jones, Pleasure dome and finishing off as the Thursday night DJ in Metro. If you are of a certain age I’m sure you will have danced to Jack’s tunes at some point.

Following on Tommy Clark takes you through the 90’s with his mix of Indie and Alternative tracks from the decade as well as a few chart toppers and cheese to keep the dance floor moving . As part of the All or nothing DJ team Tommy has recently been DJ support to mod revival icons such as Bad Manners, The Vapors(sic) & Secret Affair as well as numerous Team Golfathon events.

superstar dj

Finishing off the night is up and coming DJ Dean Roberts who although relatively new to the DJ Scene he has been a huge success in the paisley House and techno scene. He is looking forward to playing something a bit different as he takes us from 00’s to the present day. Dean is also looking forward to some future gig in Taylors which are closer to his normal sets.

For more information on Team Golfathon contact Rikki Black on 07795 031807

Go on have a listen to The Novatones

From the first time strolling along Avenue Road I have been a huge fan of Southampton’s finest The Novatones. Their infectious feedback riff laden tunes have been thumping through the speakers in my home studio for years now. I have also been lucky enough to have seen them live in Glasgow (please come back boys).

Their new release ‘Why don’t you listen to me’ is something a bit different . The volume knobs have been turned down ever so slightly but Ant’s spitting lyrics still power over the top as usual.  The chorus pleads to the listener but there is still that Novatones signature bounce in the riff  and the verses tramp along nicely.  This tune would sit nicely in a Liam Gallacher set and is definitely a festival sing along anthem of the future. Another 5 star songwriting performance.

As you were…… not for these guys.


Keep up to date with the band here

The Wannabe Rock Star – Prestfest special

As festivals go Prestfest is one of the cleanest I have ever been to.  The festival itself is spread between multiple venues within Prestwick. The town made famous as the only place that Elvis laid foot on. But alas the king was not in attendance, but the talent on show was unbelievable.

Due to previous engagements I was only available to attend on the Sunday session at The Buf. I parked up the van and tried to enter the venue. The back gate was locked so I tried to make my way through the shop next door only to get lost and find myself back in the car park. So I walked round the long way and entered through the front door. Straight away I bumped into Scott Nicol who was performing an acoustic set in the front of the venue.  I nodded my acknowledgment and heading through the venue to the beer garden which was mobbed with folks enjoying the good weather and tunes drifting from the stage just inside the back door.

One of the first guys I met was Pelikan Rogue bass player and all round good guy Andy Strachan. A broad smile was planted across his face as he told me his organising shifts were over and it was his day off. His son Tony was stage managing the event and was buzzing around making sure everybody had everything they needed to perform and (more importantly) got paid.

Anyway I fought my way back to the bar. Grabbed a shandy and found a spot close to the stage to indulge myself in a fix or two of live music.

First band I caught on stage were Memphis who tore through a set of crowd pleasing covers including she sells sanctuary which is a huge favourite of mine. Unfortunately I didn’t catch as much of their set as I would like but I loved what I heard. Got a function coming up you could do far worse than these guys.


The Sectors

Next to the stage were good pals of mine The Sectors. Fronted by Graham Smith along with Forry on guitar, Donnie on Bass and for his debut performance on drums Ewan Eadie. Now I have seen the band a good few times but there was an energy and drive in their performance. Rattling through tunes from Ocean colour scene, Small Faces and The Jam the boys attracted a good few new fans.


Now those of you who know about The Third Class Ticket Radio show will be familiar with the next  band on stage BELTUR. I have tried (and failed ) to catch the 3 piece rock outfit on many occasions so I was buzzing when I got to finally catch them live. I was even joined in front of the stage by my good pal and front man from Seaside Sons Jason Skimming.  I managed to sing along at one point but remembered quite quickly to save my voice for later on.



It was a day of catching up with good friends because next to do their bit was Ayrshire super-group The Whisky Bandits. With Tom Kerr on drums making sure their high octane rhythm n blues set ripped the roof off the place. Songs from Dr Feelgood and Free made for a brilliant sing a long and stamp your feet experience.


The Whisky Bandits

The great music just kept coming with James Kerr’s band Audiohaus blending 90’s female driven indie with some original compositions which really did not sound out of place in the set at all. I have met the band a couple of times in the rehearsal studios so was great to see them step up to the plate and really play like an group who had been gigging for years. (they have only been together in this form a few rehearsals) Huge plaudits must go to their drummer Gary Walker whom I was told was playing his first ever live performance. Drummers union fist bumps and high fives to him for sure.

audio haus



Another band that listeners to the radio show will know is ZANG. Once again this is the first time I had managed to see the band live and i was far from disappointed. These guys will not be playing small stages like this for long.



The Marauders

Now ever there was a band who summed up living it large its has to be The Marauders. How do you describe them. Well a blend of 60’s and pub rock standards played with a rhythm n blues attitude. Geordie Kerr struts the stage blowing into his moothies and firing out lyrics with the passion that Lee Brilleaux would be proud of. The rest of the band play at a pace and intensity that makes it hard to stand still. What a performance!!!

Then the time came for me to hide in a cupboard and change into the famous red jacket and climb onto the stage.  Luckily Geordie was still there cos there was no way I could climb onto that stage with the tight trousers I wear. Well I could but I would be doing my backing vocals in falsetto. A quick sound check and the rest of The Kinks Experience  guys left to get ready. I stayed on stage because for one … the trousers and two… Arnie’s keyboard had blocked me in. I had some banter with the crowd and we were ready.  The crowd took a breath I clicked my sticks together and away we went.

drumming god

Drum Face


I must give a huge thank to Scott, Andy, Tony and all the other organisers of such a fantastic festival. Also big thanks go to Alex Young for the pictures used in this blog


See you all next year!!

The Wannabe Rock Star – A whole new world?

So after leaving school and doing a couple of YTS assignments in dead end jobs I decided I would apply to the Royal Navy to see a bit of the world and get a trade that would set me up for life.  So off I trooped up to the recruitment office in Queen Street in Glasgow. A wee scrawny (I know it’s hard to believe that these days) 16 year old boy timidly walked in and spoke about my ideas for my future.  Once the recruitment agent stopped laughing we started to talk seriously about options there were available to me.  We both zeroed in on the Royal Marines Band Service. With my love of music added to an enthusiasm to ‘get as far away from Kilwinning as possible’ I started the lengthy process to train and get a place at their Academy of Music in Deal. I was told to go away and get some training done and report back in a few weeks for an initial interview.


Fast forward a few weeks and about 3 training runs later I’m back at the door looking as smart as I can. I ring the doorbell, the door clicks and in I walk.  The same recruitment officer shows me a seat and I nervously sit.  A few minutes later anther guy comes from what seems to be the back office. He calls out my name along with the 3 other young guys who had joined me.  We start to follow him when we are ordered to halt just before we go through the door he had just emerged from. He looks up, then to me and says ok Clark gimme 3 pull ups. Nervously I laughed but soon realised he was deadly serious. I grabbed the bar that sat high in the door frame, let it take my weight and curled my arms. 1, phew that was easy. 2, it felt a little tighter but I got there. 3 and there I had to summon every bit of determination I had to get my head above that crossbar. I had done it and only then did I realise that my fitness was far below what would be required.


All 4 of us made it through the ‘first task’ and were taken in to a labyrinth of corridors and little rooms with folks in varying uniforms talking to young guys and girls in their best civvies’. We finally arrive in what resembled a really tatty classroom from the 1970’s with 4 desks facing towards a blackboard.  Sat in front of us was our next test.  As we very common at the time we were given a psychometric test. Square is to circle as rhombus is to …… multiple choice questions to separate the wheat from the chaff. From that there were some numerical and English tests. Once we had got through them we were down to 3 and moving onto an interview. Well interrogation was more like it.

A panel of 3 quizzed me about my home life, how I got on a school, did I like my teachers, why did I want to join the marines, are you running away, you got a girlfriend…etc etc. quick fire questions until I felt my head would spin right off my shoulders.

After a few weeks waiting I was invited back for an interview which was a far more sedate affair. We spoke more about the ins and outs of life in the military. Then we discussed more specifics about the Academy of music and how I would fit in to the Royal Marines as a whole.

I was invited to attend RMSM, Deal for a further interview and audition which I’ll tell you all about in the next installment.

The Birth of a wannabe Rock Star

In an unassuming semi detached council house in North Ayrshire an 11 year old boy woke early. This day which started like any other would change his life in ways he could never imagine.

I got my first drum kit. A black Maxwin 5 piece beauty with one cymbal (well it had hi-hats too but you know what I mean)


Not actually my drum kit 

From now on I would be the next Stewart Copeland, the next Clem Burke, The next Rick Buckler. I was going to be a drumming god and no one could stop me.

Obviously once I sat behind the kit it was very evident I had a long long way to go. Quickly it was decided to get some lessons. On a bright summers evening a sports car drove into or drive way and Colin stepped out of it.  He started ripping bottoms skins off the kit  and taping bits of old bed sheet to it to tune it up and we were ready to go. He introduced me to what would become my bible right up to the present day, John Savage’s Art of the Drummer.

art of the drummer

The Bible 

Our weekly lessons and daily practice soon had me battering out simple rhythms and fills. Rudiments were rehearsed and rehearsed until i was hearing them in my sleep. It will come as a huge surprise to most who know me now  that my go to play along song was ‘Kayleigh’ by Marillion. I think I must have worn the tape out with the amount of times I rewound it to play it again.

A few years of hard work paid off as I was asked to join with a school band to record for a competition. This is another day that would change my life immeasurable. The day I was introduced to guitarist  Bruce McRonald. A life long friend and a band mate in both The Pits & The Standards as well as many many jam nights. The other member in the band was Fraser Campbell who took on bass and main vocal responsibility.

We did really well in the competition and stayed together as a band.

Bruce and Fraz’s love of punk soon had us playing a set crammed full of songs from The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers and even the occasional Madness tune thrown in for good measure.  Even though I was no where near aged to drink I would still play some cracking pub gigs before Frazer left to go down south to live and work.

We also manged to record an E.P. imaginatively entitled dig it. The whole weekend spend recording in my dads garage was a blast and the songs really sounded raw which really summed up the feeling in the band. Angry young men indeed. This was a great insight into recording and lessons I learned there I still bring into any recording I do now.

We also had some great times at ‘The Corsehill Roxy’ playing songs to our friends at the local youth club disco. And for some time this would be the largest crowd I played to.  Happy days indeed.

After the band split I ended up applying for and being accepted to the Royal Marines Band Service but that’s another story.

Keep tuned for more adventures from the wannabe rock star.




The tides of success are turning for Ayrshire quartet

Another month, another top release from an Ayrshire artist.

This time is Irvine 4 piece The Shores as they release their eponymous titled debut EP.    The Shores was recorded at Glasgow’s  Glasswork Studio and mastered by Ed Woods.

Each of the four tracks are a wity social commentary with top notch indie licks and grooves.  There are definite nods and winks to Arctic Monkeys and The View but the band bring a freshness to the tracks.

Don’t take my word for it. Grab a listen for yourself



shores launch gig

You can catch the band as they launch the E.P. at Stereo on Saturday 24th March and will be joined by The Cairds & An Orange Conspiracy. Tickets are only £6 although the gig is over 18’s only so you better grab them quick.



The tide is turning in favour of The Shores for sure and it won’t be long until we see them on bigger stages.

It’s all ‘Above Board’ for debut single

Ayrshire band REFUGE ISLAND have released their first single ABOVE BOARD and it will blow your socks off.  The sheer wall of sound hits you with a force seldom heard these days and you can check it on my latest podcast .

The band consists of Wullie O on vocals, John Martin on bass, Darren Mitchel on Guitar and Stephen Andrews maintaining the high tempo high on drums.  The guys met up on a cold november night and have worked tirelessly on their sound before unleashing it on the world.

There is no need to take REFUGE from this band. It’s in your face Indie Punk of the highest standard.


Catch the band when they will be supporting BROWNBEAR at Bakers on the Kilmarnock leg of his tour to launch his WHAT IS HOME? album on 5th May.

Stream the track here

Check out their video for the track

Ayrshire musician ends hibernation to tour debut album

Ayrshire singer/songwriter Brownbear is hitting the road to promote his debut album ‘What is Home?’.  The album is due for release on 20th April although the Scotland-wide tour is taking place throughout May.  Due to the intimate venues on the tour  it is advisable to grab your tickets early.

Brownbear tour

Ticket  links

May 3rd – Clarks on Lindsay Street, Dundee


May 4th – Mr C’s Bar, Thurso


May 5th – Bakers, Kilmarnock


May 11th – The Drouthy Cobbler, Elgin


May 13th – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh


Or search Brownbear on 🐻 #braunber #whatishome #album #tour