A true Lanarkshire character, sadly no longer with us is Gavin Stevenson. Talented in so many respects but none more so than as a gifted poet and songwriter. Known by various names; ‘Guy’, ‘The Stonehouse Cowboy’ or ‘Flash’ to name but a few. With a Murphy’s in one hand and Joanna (his geetar) in the other Gavin had his audience captivated with his songs and verse, sung in his native Lanarkshire dialect.
There are many stories of Gavin’s exploits as a boy and it was Gavin’s sense of adventure and love of the outdoors that nurtured his talent to capture the moment and express his feelings in song and poetry. There are many singer songwriters across the country but few who had the natural ability to captivate an audience as only Gavin could in his own unique way. His songs brought both tears of emotion and laughter; a rare gift indeed. His only wish in song writing was that others would sing his songs and enjoy listening but there was no one better than Gavin himself at delivering the magic crafted in his imagination. Gavin would says his songs were only ‘wee stories’ set to music, but it was with his own brand of humour and character that made every wee story all the more special.
Gavin’s songwriting technique had no standard, logical or systematic meter to it. Some lines were twice or three times the length of another and verses ranged from two lines to ten lines in the same song or poem. Never willing to conform or change to uniform methods of writing, his songs worked but usually only when he sung them in his own unique way. His voice certainly was unique, though he claimed “it wid tear the buckskin jacket aff yer back”. His timing was spot on, and his turn of phrase held everyone in raptures, spellbound in communicating his songs to the audience.
There are many writers across Scotland past and present who have possessed the ability to write either song or prose but there are few who have the natural gift of observation in communicating everyday experiences as Gavin was able to conjure. In his own native Lanarkshire dialect Gavin was able to describe in humour and affection passing glimpses of human experiences and incidents that we often fail to recognise.