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End of year thoughts -quick and not boring, promise... 

Every artist website will tell you how wonderful a year they’ve had!...

Truth is, I haven’t made much money this year....BUT, I’ve had my most amazing year ever! Firstly, my wife Lara and wee daughter Ruby continue to make me the happiest man alive, so I’m already winning. My mamma in Italy is good in her new little flat, misses papà as we all do, but she’s soldiering on in her own adorable way...Music is going pretty well too...

In 2018 I’ve worked with one of my 3 all time musical idols, Danny Thompson. Considering that my other 2 musical idols (Enzo Jannacci and Charlie Haden) are dead, I have actually reached the pinnacle of my apprenticeship! I have written a wonderful collection of songs, which I will release (after recording them somewhere) in 2019. But especially, Danny has helped me to become the artist I always wanted to be, which required a healthy battery of my self doubt in favour of just being honest and play from the heart. 

Highlights of my own gigs were “inventing” a way to be a stage “compère” whilst grooving on double bass at March into Pitlochry, hosting the Acoustic stage at Southern Fried Festival, the obligatory late night gig at the Belladrum Festival, my own headline gig at Perth Theatre, all with my musical brother Owen Nicholson. And then of course the great commission for the Edinburgh Multilingual Stories Festival, in which I met great people, delivered workshops to wonderful kids, explored my own bilingual identity and sang about it in a great gig at the Roxy, accompanied by Jon Mackenzie on guitar.

I’ve also played a load of gigs on double bass with other great artists, from blues to jazz, from folk to country and literally everything in between. Great times especially backing the legendary Dougie Maclean, guitar wizard Pete Caban and a bunch of other very talented guys & gals in the regular “Butterstone acoustic sessions” in the rural Perthshire village halls. Last but not least, running about the woods of Perthshire dressed as a giant panda with Andy Tucker (see videos for a proof of this one...)

So, what is 2019 looking like? If everything that is currently in negotiation actually happens, it’s going to be magic!...But we all know it in the arts that, as my papà would say, ‘tra il dire e il fare c’è di mezzo il mare’ (there’s a see between promising to do and actually doing)...so we’ll see.

There is of course going to be the album recording and release, of course I’ll post about that later. Then some great gigs of my own and the obligatory sideman gigs too. I have some very exciting projects I hope to sink my teeth in. There is especially a lot more family life, which always takes priority.

To start with, let’s fly to Montreal to this mad Folk Alliance International I’ve been invited to as an Official Showcase Artist. I’ve done it before playing bass with Kilmarnock Edition and I remember it was nuts, so I should feel right at home.

Ciao e Buon Anno. 🎈 

The pup’s first steps.... 

The new songs have taken their first steps out in the big bad world this week with a lovely preview at Perth Theatre (my new favourite venue!...Stunning! Great sound! Lovely staff!)...Anyhoo, the gig was played in my preferred format: just me (Double bass and story-singing) and Owen Nicholson (classical guitar). It went better than I could have ever expected. It’s a lovely story (me thinks), it’s very personal (for sure)...It’s got a bit of wicked humour and some pure pathos to make grown-ups greet... Maestro Danny Thompson watched the footage and gave the big thumbs up... full steam ahead now! More news soon!

special thanks to Nicky Murray, Chloe Rogers and Chloe Bryce for playing support on the night: check out Nicky’s stunning EP Wintermore here 

and super-special thanks to my friend Fiona J Mackenzie (from Kilmarnock Edition days), for coming to see us all the way from the Island of Canna, singing our song beautifully (no rehearsal! Proper pro!) and also taking this nice photie! 

PS extra super special thanks to the audience who escaped the grip of their sofas and unbelievably filled the room on a Monday night. That was unexpected and I’m very chuffed indeed, I owe you all.

Danny Thompson and I...(part 2) 

Well, it's impossible to quantify just how much I'm learning from working with Danny..A LOT!!... but as it often is with great experiences, I'm learning unexpected stuff... When you set out to work with (in my opinion) the best double bass player ever, one would be forgiven for brushing up on every scale and arpeggio known to man, for the sheer fear of just not being good enough... Songwriting-wise I started putting all the clever words I knew into each of the songs...

And then Danny made me understand I didn't really need any of that stuff... What counts is playing, singing and writing from the heart... how simple is that?!... How absolutely true!!... and yet something I had very rarely done.... Melody!... Emotion!... Simplicity!... Honesty!... and all of that even in improvisation. Life changing stuff, folks!

Anyhoo... the songs are now almost finished and I'm cuddling into my bass at each practice session to make them sound true, like they were written to be... still a bit daft, but I can't help that, that's me.... (the whole family really)...

Ok, I'm off to play at the Belladrum Festival now, bit of a drive.

Do please remember to come see me and Owen at Perth Theatre next month. Tickets here...https://www.horsecross.co.uk/whats-on/roberto-cassani-and-owen-nicholson-10402

PS - The photo is a publicity shot of Danny with John Martyn for the album Live In Leeds (which I adore). Danny sent me it: it's a fantastic photie isn't it... there is a great story attached to it, but it's not mine to tell....

Danny Thompson and I.... (part 1) 

Never meet your heroes they say... well, I completely disagree...

Danny Thompson, double bass legend, has been my musical hero for a long time. Thanks to some support from Creative Scotland, this year we are working together! And let me tell you, I am jubilant in having found that Danny is not only the legendarily sublime musician I knew he would be, but also one of the best people I know... Bizarrely, I knew that too: although I had never met Danny before this project, every note he has ever played tells you that he is a fantastic person: full of life, wise, funny, kind, with an amazing heart. 

So what are we doing? Danny is helping me coming up with a body of work which musically has the double bass at its centre, whilst thematically tells the story of my immigration from Italy to Scotland.... I’ve been through a few adventures for sure, all in the name of love.... The story may interest someone, be a nice document of integration, be a teeny wee bit inspiring even, and at least be a bit more dynamic that a biography book for my family to remind me by when I go doolally... 

Danny’s encyclopaedic knowledge is the North Star that keeps me on the straight and narrow during the songwriting. What has come out already, only a few weeks in the process, is the best work I’ve ever done. We have some great ideas and I am currently working like a bumblebee on it, which is why I’m not too busy out on the road. Still, if you are in Scotland, please come along to Perth Theatre 24th september for a catch up. I’ll be accompanied by my stupendous buddy Owen Nicholson and we’ll play some of the new stuff alongside some oldies. Tickets link is here . Ciao. Roberto