From when they met in 1981 Jenny and Dougie MacLean have been working creatively together. By 1983 Jenny had taken over Dougie's concert bookings and management, they had recorded and released the first album (Craigie Dhu) on their own record label (Dunkeld Records) and had begun their own publishing company, Limetree Arts and Music. Since then, from their home base in the Old Schoolhouse in Butterstone, Perthshire ... the story of MacLeans Art and Music unfolds.
This was the time of very hard work! ... consolidation some call it!!
- first solo concerts and tours for Dougie in England, Italy, USA, Canada and Australia (where Jenny also has an exhibition of paintings and weaving).
- in 1985 the first MacLeans Art and Music Gallery was created in Tower Building in Birnam, Dunkeld....an outlet for LP albums, cassettes and the first large art prints made from Jenny's originals.
- With numerous recording projects in view, Dougie set up his own recording studio at Butterstone. The albums Fiddle (1984) Singing Land (1986) and Real Estate (1988) followed.
- Dunkeld Records gradually became one of Scotland's most respected independent record labels. Described as "Scotland's new heritage music," musicians recorded include Dougie MacLean, Hamish Moore, Sheena Wellington, Frieda Morrison, Gordon Duncan, David Allison and Blackeyed Biddy.
- Two successful concert tours of the USA in conjunction with American Public Radio and the networked US radio program "Thistle & Shamrock" meant that during '89 - '90 Dougie MacLean and other Dunkeld Records artists played to over 50 000 people in the USA.
Gallery in Cathedral Street, Dunkeld and house on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis purchased as inspirational places of work ... and the Taybank Hotel to prove that you could have a successful Scottish pub with acoustic music in rural Perthshire
Gallery, Gold Discs & Music Pub...1990-2005
This period of time is so difficult to condense ... so many twists, turns and (good) surprises!
- Dougie built an international reputation as songwriter, composer and extraordinary performer which led to concerts and festivals all over the world including New York's Carnegie Hall, Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall and London’s Festival Theatre ... performing solo, with his band or with a string section. He even performed once with his hero James Taylor in Edinburgh Castle!
- Successful cover versions of his songs began to happen (Grammy award winning Kathy Mattea, Mary Black, Frankie Miller, Cara Dillon, Dolores Keane) and Dougie's song "Caledonia" grew to become one of Scotland's most popular contemporary songs.
- Awarded gold discs (sales of over 500,000) for his music used in the Last of the Mohicans and in Kathy Mattea’s , Time Passes By. Sales of his own albums have attracted a further six gold discs from the newly formed Scottish Record Industry Association.
- three BBC TV music documentaries are made during this time in conjunction with Pelicula Films directed by Mark Littlewood ( The Land, SongRoads and Children of the Sea).
- MacLean’s Real Music Bar at the Taybank was awarded Music Pub of the Year 2000, by the Scottish Licenced Trade Association. It became established as a meeting place for spontaneous music sessions and drew music loving people from all over the world.
Amber Festival, Awards & Family ... 2005 - 2019
Perthshire Amber - The Dougie MacLean Festival was called “a jewel of a festival” (Scotsman) and also "a festival with vision and imagination...and great momentum" which during its 15 years established itself as one of Scotland’s leading musical and cultural events. It grew from a weekend event to a unique 10-day festival which shared with visitors from Scotland and abroad Dougie's native and beautiful scenery, as well as his music and musical friends. Jenny as the festival director spent a good part of every year organising it and Dougie as musical director enjoyed it! For many of these years both Julia and Jamie MacLean were fully involved in the business....and to this day Jamie runs the studio, producing Dougie's albums and writing and recording his own music for film and other projects.
- These years were great for both cover versions of Dougie's songs (Amy Macdonald, Paolo Nutini, Ronan Keating, Celtic Women and Celtic Thunder, Nathan Carter, Ward Thomas and Voces8 among many) and for awards!... including two prestigious Tartan Clef Awards, a place in the Scottish Music Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Award from BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and an OBE in the Honours list!
- 2012-2018 saw the growth of the online subscription phenomenon Butterstone.tv with successful monthly live streams of Dougie MacLean from the studio in Butterstone, the Isle of Lewis, from An Tobar Arts Centre on Mull and other special venues. The Perthshire Amber Festival concerts were also Live Streamed from all venues 2012-2015.
Butterstone Global Streaming Theatre ... 2020- ?
Despite the lockdown and subsequent cancellation of all concerts, festivals and tours in 2020 and much of 2021, Dougie was able to perform to over 3 million viewers worldwide through his organisation of a series of concerts live streamed from the Old School in Butterstone…and occasionally from the Old Farmhouse in Riof on the Isle of Lewis. These concerts are filmed with 4 cameras and beautifully staged and lit. Over 150 concerts, a mixture of ticketed and free off charge, have been enjoyed and truly appreciated since March 2020 ...in all corners of every continent during a time of severe restriction and still of great tension.
- These years have resulted in Jamie's first instrumental album on Dunkeld Records "Footsteps From Home" while creating the music for the award winning film "Sherpas Speak", as well as a collaborative instrumental album "FLO" by Jamie MacLean and Dougie Maclean.
- This was also a very creative time for Jenny and the resultant surge in watercolour and weaving has brought about her successful exhibitions at Cardney Steading during Shades of Amber 2022 and in at Birnam Arts in Feb/March 2023.
- November 2022 and 2023 brought the rebirth of an autumn festival with the first Shades of Amber ... described as
"a rural boutique musical triumph with tremendous talent packed into just 48 hours" (National)!