A Michael Marra concert is a unique exeperience, and I try never to miss one within 100 miles or so. However, if you can't get to a concert, you should try listening to this CD - it includes a good range of Michael's songs, and gives a taste of his genius.
I find Niel Gow's Apprentice, written for Dougie McLean, particularly poignant, since I too have a brother in a foreign land.
"The old man looks at his ingle neuk and he wonders | His brother in a foreign land he must remain | Deeved about the life they choose | They each would wear the other one's shoes | This motherland is a source of constant pain"
[Rab Noakes did a nice cover of this on Standing Up.]
Other highlights for me are "Like another Rolling Stone", dedicated to Burt Bacharach, and "The Bawbee Birlin", a song written jointly with Rod Paterson, dedicated to Mary Brooksbank (Dundee jute worker and song writer).
"And the day will dawn when a' the old men see | That the shape and form o' ony apple tree | Has mair to recommend itsel afore the spirits flee | And nane for the birlin o' the bawbee o't."
Michael says jokingly that "Hermless" is his suggestion for the national anthem of Scotland, but in concert he explains that this is because he does not like the alternatives usually suggested, namely Scotland the Brave, and Flower of Scotland.
Michael's influences include Dr John, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Bob Dylan, Captain Beefheart, and many others.