The Scotsman Sessions #1: Pictish Trail

Welcome to Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we will be commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here Johnny Lynch, aka Pictish Trail, brings us an acoustic version of his new single Double-Sided from his studio on the Isle of Eigg...

Outside the window of Johnny Lynch’s bothy-cum-studio on the island of Eigg, the sky is slate grey over the Lower Minch and waves are crashing against distant cliffs. It’s a typically Hebridean vista and one which Lynch never tires of. You can check it out, too, since Lynch has recorded a stay-at-home performance of his new single Double Sided exclusively for - the first of our new Scotsman Sessions series.

“I wrote this song on a synthesizer and drum machine, so it was nice to transpose it to guitar – I’ve never played it like this before!” says Lynch, who has traded under the name Pictish Trail for the last 18 years.

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Lynch has lived on Eigg since 2013 – before that he was based in the equally picturesque Fife fishing village of Anstruther, where he co-ran Fence Records with Kenny “King Creosote” Anderson. When he hopped over to the other side of the country, he set up his own label, the eclectic cottage industry that is Lost Map, and its sister festival Howlin’ Fling which takes place biennially in July.

Johnny Lynch, aka Pictish TrailJohnny Lynch, aka Pictish Trail
Johnny Lynch, aka Pictish Trail

Lynch has also set up a musicians’ residency on the island, where the likes of Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle, Rachel Aggs of Sacred Paws and Rozi Plain have already hunkered down in the bijou St Franny’s Bothan to write and record for Lost Map’s Visitations series.

As coronavirus alters everyday life for everyone, the residents of Eigg are ahead of the game when it comes to looking out for each other. “I get emails in every day from people on the island asking, say, ‘has anybody get a bag of cement?’” says Lynch. “You’re interacting with people on a local level who you wouldn’t ordinarily chat to – small things like that brings a community together. I enjoy living here for that reason.”


Tue 23 Mar 2021, BIRMINGHAM, Hare & Hounds 2

Wed 24 Mar 2021, GUILDFORD, Boileroom

Thu 25 Mar 2021, CARDIFF, Clwb Ifor Bach

Fri 26 Mar 2021, BRISTOL, Louisiana

Sat 27 Mar 2021, LONDON, Omeara

Sun 28 Mar 2021, BRIGHTON, The Hope & Ruin

Tue 30 Mar 2021, NOTTINGHAM, Bodega

Wed 31 Mar 2021, HEBDEN BRIDGE, Trades Club

Thu 01 Apr 2021, NEWCASTLE, Cluny

Fri 02 Apr 2021, MANCHESTER, Gullivers

Sat 03 Apr 2021, LEEDS, Brudenell Social Club

Thu 08 Apr 2021, STIRLING, Tolbooth

Fri 09 Apr 2021, DUNDEE, Beat Generator

Sat 10 Apr 2021, EDINBURGH, Queens Hall

Sun 11 Apr 2021, ABERDEEN, Lemon Tree