The Songs

Pictures of Uncle Donnie's Wake is a festival of enchanting and haunting melodies and words written and performed by The Crow Road Band. It is a contemporary 'folk opera' taking place in Glasgow at the end of the millennium.

Pictures of Uncle Donnie's Wake was originally conceived by Alan McLean who has for many years been writing songs in the modern folk idiom. Influenced by the masterful styles of Bob Dylan, The Incredible String Band and national treasure Dick Gaughan, Alan has also written in collaboration with other folkies such as Alec Burbidge and Bryan Finegan.

One evening when performing one of his songs written with Alec Burbidge, The Pleasures of Life, Alan was reminded of his uncle's funeral gathering and the concept of Pictures of Uncle Donnie's Wake was born. Together with his 'third cousin twice removed' (or is that 'second cousin thrice removed') Jan Moncrieff, he assembled a selection of his existing songs and wrote, with Jan, some new ones to mark Uncle Donnie's passing. Linked by sections of spoken prose, the resulting 'folk opera' visits many of the experiences of Uncle Donnie's life and explores the issues and emotions behind those experiences. Pictures of Uncle Donnie's Wake was first performed at their local folk clubs in Fleet and Ewshot by the then newly formed Crow Road Band, to ecstatic acclaim.

Pictures of Uncle Donnie's Wake is a metaphor for the transformations experienced by the Scottish people around the time of the millennium and the rebirth of the Scottish nation. Birth, like death, is a painful process and the 'folk opera' explores both the pain and the joy experienced by a people simultaneously bidding farewell to the old and welcoming the new.

But the songs have a resonance beyond Scotland, they are of relevance to everyone concerned about the many emotional, cultural and political issues which face us in our increasingly complex world.

If you are Scottish, if you care about your country, our world or indeed if you simply enjoy contemporary folk music, Pictures of Uncle Donnie's Wake is definitely for you.

The Songs

  • The Pleasures of Life (Alan McLean / Alec Burbidge) lyric
  • Ghosts in the Mist (Alan McLean / Alec Burbidge) lyric 
  • Calling Me Home (Alan McLean / Alec Burbidge) lyric
  • Closing of the Day (Alan McLean) lyric
  • On the Road Tae Glasgow (Alan McLean) lyric
  • I've Read the Book (Alan McLean / Bryan Finnegan) lyric
  • Time (Jan Moncrieff / Alan McLean) lyric
  • Condemned To Live  (Jan Moncrieff / Alan McLean) lyric
  • Century Song  (Alan McLean) lyric
  • Walk Beside the Water  (Alan McLean) lyric
  • Test of Time (Alan McLean / Alec Burbidge / Jan Moncrieff) lyric
  • The Last Goodbye (Alan McLean / Alec Burbidge) lyric
  • The Future is Yours (Alan McLean / Alec Burbidge / Jan Moncrieff) lyric
  • The Crow Road  (Jan Moncrieff / Alan McLean) lyric


Album engineered and produced by Phil McCready and Jan Moncrieff

Mastering by Josh Clark of Get Real Audio, Bath, UK

© The Crow Road Band 2018