by Margaret Chrystall
IT’S possible that Queensland singer songwriter Stu Larsen – who plays Stornoway tonight (Friday) and Ullapool tomorrow (Saturday) – wouldn’t have written new single San Francisco if he hadn’t experienced a wintry UK.
Stu - whose tour brings him to Stornoway's Woodlands Centre and The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool - said: "The song was written in 2010 after travelling on my own for three or four months.
"I’d been surrounded by snow in England and Scotland – that was a really bad winte.
"Then I went to New York and was surrounded by snow there too.
"But eventually I landed in Los Angeles and the sun was shining and I was shorts and a shirt again for the first time in three months.
"I got in the car and started driving without really having a plan and headed north along the coast to San Francisco and that’s one of the most beautiful drives I think I have ever done in my life.
"The song came out of that drive.
"I was having such a beautiful time that when I got back to Los Angeles the next day to record, I sat on the floor in the studio and the song just came out.
"I just started playing and the next thing the song was there. "In some ways I feel as if I didn’t actually write that song. It just appeared and I like the mystery around that."
Stu – whose debut album Vagabond is out now – left his home in Bowville, farming country in Queensland, four years ago to start travelling and along the way hooked up with fellow musician Mike Rosenberg aka Passenger along the way. Stu became Mike’s tour manager and Mike went on to produce Vagabond for Stu.
Stu may well pick up some more of the fridge magnet mementoes he’s been collecting throughout his travels and sending home in the Highlands.
"I’ll have all these memories from all over the place. I put them in a shoebox and post them back to my mother who is graciously storing them in her house for me."
Though the Australian has packed in travels across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, North America, Europe and the UK, he’s adding to his Scottish experiences this week with his four Highland dates.
"I’ve heard so many good things from friends who have done that tour – like the band Bears Den who told me about it.
"I’ve been wanting to explore the Highlands for a long time, now I get the chance."
Stu plays Stornoway Woodlands Centre tonight (Friday, October 31). The final date of his Highland tour is at the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, on Saturday (Nov 1). Stu's debut album Vagabond is out now, his single San Francisco is out on November 17.
Check out Thirteen Sad Farewells below: