A local musician is thrilled to be supporting his musical heroes – who also became his firm friends at one of the most difficult times of his life.
Dougie Smith will be supporting folk legends Gaberlunzie when they play Laurieston Bowling Club as part of their farewell tour on Saturday.
The duo, Robin Watson and Gordon Menzies, have been playing for an incredible 50 years and the Gabs have a loyal following all over Scotland and across the world.
Dougie, who works for Ineos and is also a civil celebrant, was born the same year the band formed – but that’s not the only connection between them.
He met Gaberlunzie in 1999, a few months after the death of his dad, Alex Smith, who at the time owned The Vic in Carronshore.
Alex died at Glenfarg Folk Festival, where he had taken his camper van, hoping to book the band for the pub.
Dougie said: “ I’d heard a CD of Gaberlunzie and I just loved it. I persuaded my dad to bring them to the pub and he went to the festival to hear them.”
But before he could meet Robin and Gordon, Alex died in a tragic accident – overcome by fumes from his van’s gas fire, while he slept.
His death left his family reeling – but a few months later, Douglas finally got in touch with Gaberlunzie and asked them to come to The Vic.
It was a very emotional night and Dougie will never forget the kindness the band showed to his mum, Elizabeth, who sadly died four years ago.
He said: “They were really good with my mum, because they knew what had happened and how difficult things had been for her.
“I’ve seen them hundreds of time since then – they actually inspired me to start playing folk music.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was asked to support them!”
Dougie, a founding member of Mak-a-Din and White Rose, is now happiest as a solo performer and performs as One Man and He’s Doug.
While sad to see his musical heroes – and good friends – call it a day, he added with a laugh: “There’s an opening now! I’ll be asking them for their contacts!”
Kelly Dickinson, who invited the band to play their only local gig at Laurieston Bowling Club in this final tour says the night is sold-out – and she could have sold twice as many tickets.
“I even have people coming from Newcastle and Stoke-on-Trent!” she said.
“Dougie played our Burns’ Supper this year – as soon as I heard him sing I knew that was our support act right there!”