Alan is influenced by the philosophy of Patrick Geddes, the father of town planning, and his vision of connecting the natural world and that of the mind or in Geddes’s words ‘By leaves we live’, the leaves in question not only being those that grow in trees but those found in books. Alan pays tribute to Geddes’s vision by re-coining his mantra to describe his own musical vision: ‘by songs we live.’
His songs focus on everyday lives and aspirations, concerned with such themes (not unlike some of those found in roots reggae music) as alienation, identity, love, the life and works of Robert Burns, land reform, self-determination, social justice and equality issues.
"A peculiar feature of contemporary life is that nearly all of us feel marginalised and alienated in some way and seek a sense of rootedness, a desire for reconnecting with our surroundings in trying to make sense of the world. For me, songs are most authentic when rooted in the realities of everyday life; responsive to people, places and events - songs that celebrate life and give voice to our deepest feelings and our desires for a fairer world."