A Day with Rheumatoid Arthritis (Chronic Pain Awareness Month) 

I have rheumatoid arthritis plus type 1 diabetes amongst other things. I wanted to put together a little video of what my day with these things looks like in the context of being a professional songwriter. This video contains needles, blood and country music.


The Problem with Pain... 

A post shared by John Wilson (@jayswilson23) on Oct 10, 2017 at 11:29am PDT


Since I'm giving a presentation in this year’s CS Lewis Festival my Instagram search tab is full
of CS Lewis quotes under the heading 'things you might like'. I really have a
problem with this quote from the Problem of Pain and since I can’t argue with
Lewis I'm going to post it to random strangers (although Lewis later gainsaid much
of what he wrote in that book, in this instance in the very beautiful ‘What the Bird

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LA with RA... Creakin' All Over the World 


 Airline Rep: I’m sorry, madam, but a keyboard is not a musical instrument’.

Me: I’m talking about the kind that you hit the keys and they play notes, not one you plug into a computer.

Airline Rep: I understand that, madam. It’s still not a musical instrument.


Airline Rep: It requires a power source, ergo it is a possible risk.


I am about to embark on a UK tour in July and August, with dates in Glasgow, London, Alnwick, Belfast, Bangor and Bath. At the end of October I will be flying to Los

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Lochlann Green Spills the (Chilli) Beans.. 

So, let's turn the tables and have the artists interview the presenter..

1. What drew you to Celtic music?


From an early age, I'd been introduced to Celtic sounds through my mom's own love of Celtic music. I would say that her interest in Celtic music stems from the fact that she had been in a pipeband in highschool playing the bagpipes and her highschool had that theme and her school had a pipeband class with highland bagpipes players and dancers with the proper dress and attire.

When I was growing…

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Nineteen Eighty Four 



I never heard the screech of breaks because the driver didn’t break. He simply hit my father and kept driving, the police in pursuit. It was April 1984 and I would turn 8 in May. My mother jumped out of the car with a cry of ‘Oh, my God’ and left my sister and I startled in the back seat. We were going home from the circus and Dad had just crossed the Cregagh Road to buy some headache tablets. The paramedics arrived quickly and announced that his neck was broken. In a little Baptist Church by the side…

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Celtic Connections 2014: You'll Love Haggis, Honestly 

So once more I found myself in an airport waiting to fly to Glasgow, a city I had last seen in May. The flight from Belfast took a grand total of 25 minutes. As Steven McKnight, my esteemed guitarist, pointed out it takes longer to get from the centre of Belfast to Finaghy. We were on our way to play at the Danny Kyle Memorial Stage at Celtic Connections.


The night we arrived we couldn’t resist the urge to consume a battered haggis supper each. Kristina (who took all the videos on this page) is…

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In the town where I live there is a bottle bank. In the year 590 AD St Columbanus, a saint of the Celtic Church, stood at the spot where it stands and bid farewell to his ninety year old mentor, St Columba, before embarking on a life time trip to Europe. The Graeco Roman Empire had fallen and Christianity had moved to Byzantium: it was the golden age of the Celts whose ideas, literature and music would spread to the world via the 100 monasteries founded by St…

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To Soothe the Savage Breast... 


To Soothe the Savage Breast…


Musick hath charms to sooth a savage Breast,

To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.


William Congreve, The Mourning Bride 1697


One summer when I was 22 I was sitting in a circle of singers in St Andrew’s in Scotland being taught advanced voice skills. The two course leaders were talking about having done a course in Counselling for Singing Teachers. ‘How pretentious,’ I thought in my immaturity. Little did I reflect in that moment on how music had been and would be…

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Caledonian Summer 

Caledonian Summer (nearly)


Ah, the life of a wandering minstrel. Some years ago I was in Tuscany when I met a New Yorker in a vineyard. He told me he’d never want to go to Ireland, it was so cold. I told him that people may like to flock to sunny places, but personally I love the wind on my face. He didn’t understand this concept at all, needless to say. I have since then been in Beijing, Cyprus… all manner  of hot places but my Northern blood loves Northern places, and one of the most beautiful in the…

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Mountains, Music and Moya 


 Back to the Old Country


More than a hundred years ago, my great-grandmother left Donegal (Rosapenna, Carraig Airt direction to be precise) in search of adventure in the Big Smoke of Belfast. She ended up with eight children in the end…. This weekend I went back to the North of Donegal after a ten year absence from that land of my ancestors with Andy and Joanne Boal. Our aim? Play some music!


For the first time in months the sun was shining as we set out on our road trip. It was about a four hour…

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