The thing we've probably missed most in the bar since lockdown has been the lack of live music. It's at the core of what we do; from sessions to gigs to solo artists on the piano, MacGregor's won "Best Music Bar in Scotland" from the Scottish Licensed Trade because of them.

We've diversified and food has become our focus with brunches, lunches and a splendid array of specials dazzling our taste buds.

But there's been a craving for live music, the thing that draws us together and makes us sing, dance and pumps the heart.

I've stolen this from Jo De Sylva who runs Macgregor's alongside me and explains it better than I can

"Music Musing / / I've always understood how important music is to my life, the ability to feel a deeper emotion when a thought is connected to a song, or a memory that flashes into my mind of someone from years ago when I hear a certain tune, but it's only recently I've understood how important to mental health, music is to us all. I've been inundated by news of how awful things are around us all, from the radio news first thing in the morning to social media telling us how we're all going to die of something it feels like a constant bombardment of negativity. I'm lucky enough to be married to the incredible

Bruce MacGregor, which means a lot of our life, before this black hole of covid, revolved around live music. Over this past few weeks I've found this the hardest period since this all began and I gave it some deep thought about why. My conclusion (not based on anything but what my own brain is telling me) is that we can forget about how vital music is, especially live music shared with other people in the same space. Music has the ability to take us away to another place, and when you listen to music your brain switches off to the negativity and bad news and engages itself in something else, a bit like meditation. So, my conclusion is this, get live music back as soon as possible, not just for the musicians, who have had a hellish time, but for the whole nation. Being in a room with real musicians , whether they be a full orchestra or a folk singer in a bar and feeling the undescribable energy and magic that can only be experienced by being in the same space, is something that will do more for most people than any amount of money or drugs can come close to."

This week though we take our first tentitive steps to getting the music back at MacGregors.

Thursday evening we have Davy Holt in concert in the Snug starting at 8pm. The gig is sold out but he will be broadcasting from his own Facebook site

Sunday and we welcome back a form of the Legendary Sunday Session. Mel and Mike Simpson will be joining myself for some tunes in the Snug. Again this is ticketed only to adhere with all government guidance on small performances. However the fact that you can enjoy a Sunday roast, a glass of wine and some top tunes is an incredible step forward and something we should be so thankful for here in the Highlands.

We will ofcourse be continuing our shows from the Vaults on a Friday night with "Scotland's Big Session" this week Anna and myself will be joined by the wonderful Gerry Coogan. The show is also up for a Trad Award in the Community Project category.

So here we go. Baby steps to begin with but they are perhaps the most joyous of any journey.