HORSE McDonald is on the phone, and in a minor flap.

“I’m speaking to you and trying to arrange delivery of a batch of my new albums at the same time,” she explains, slightly harassed.

“The last time my CD arrived I wasn’t in, so they delivered it in a pallet, and left it outside. I mean, I live on the fourth floor of a tenement, and I couldn’t carry the pallet obviously, so I had to go up and down the stairs a million times, lugging these CDs…”

She breaks off with a laugh.

“Oh the fame, the glamour of it all….” she says, wryly.

Horse McDonald, whose new album, The Road Less Travelled, is out nowHorse McDonald, whose new album, The Road Less Travelled, is out now (Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

Horse, who lives in Finnieston, is a Scottish musical icon whose albums have won worldwide acclaim.

Since the early days of her career, touring with Tina Turner, BB King and Bryan Ferry and appearing on the likes of The Tube, she has consistently dazzled audiences and critics alike with her beautiful songs, incredible voice and electric stagecraft. Even if, she acknowledges, huge, commercial success has eluded her.

“If I had a fiver for every time someone said - how come you are not playing stadia?” she says, with a grimace.

“I don’t really know the answer to that. I would like to play to more people.

“I am not bitter about it. I have, absolutely, been bitter in the past - about the misogyny, the homophobia, the heteronormativity, the whole ‘why is it not me?’ thing…”

She pauses. “But some of that was me carrying that baggage.

“I am proud when I look back. I mean, me and Angela McAlinden, two women fronting a band in the 80s? You didn’t do that, unless you were Strawberry Switchblade. But we were doing it.”

Horse and Angela wrote together for more than 15 years.

“Angela is one of Scotland’s most unsung lyricists,” says Horse. “Her lyrics on those early songs – Careful, God’s Home Movie – are to die for. I’d love her to be more recognised than she is.”

Horse’s latest album, The Road Less Travelled, which she will be performing in full at gigs around the country this autumn, marks the “end of a journey,” she explains.

“It is emotional, it feels like a culmination, the gathering up of so many years of my life,” she says, thoughtfully. “Good years, difficult years, everything pulled together into these 12 songs.”

The title of the album comes from the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken, in which the poet says: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less travelled by/And that has made all the difference.”

Horse grew up in Lanark in the 70s, where music was her escape from homophobic bullying.

“I’ve always taken the road less travelled,” she says, simply. “This record is about being happy with where I am now.

“Sheer tenacity has got me here. It’s been done on a shoestring most of the time, and I’m like the swan, always paddling frantically beneath the surface to stop me from going under. But I have done it.

“You see your peers and think, my god, you’re bloody lucky. And then you talk to them and realise everyone is exactly the same. On a certain level, we are all struggling.”

She adds: “I’m always very grateful people spend money on coming to see me. I was in Lidl the other day and a woman came up to me, a bit starstruck, and asked, ‘what are you doing here?’”

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Horse laughs.

“Like I don’t do my shopping like everyone else,” she adds. “But some people have been following me for 35 years, and I feel a real responsibility to them. And if I can brighten someone’s day just by bumping into them in Lidl, that’s a great thing.”

The autumn tour of The Road Less Travelled, which includes “acoustic-y” nights and some gigs with full band and strings, begins at Frets Concerts in Strathaven on September 20, and includes Beacon Arts in Greenock on September 21, and gigs in Kirkcaldy, Dundee, Lanark, Perth, Aberdeen, Stirling and Edinburgh.

“I love these songs, so playing them live is going to be so exciting,” she says. “I feel like there is a pressure there – I don’t want to lose this album: in other words, for not much to happen with it. These songs are my babies and I want them to be heard. It feels very personal.”

With all this talk of journeys ending, and times past, fans may be fearful Horse is leaning towards – surely not - retirement?

“Not a chance,” she says, firmly. “I’ve still got tons of songs, lots to do. Let’s see where this road goes. Let’s see what the next journey is.”

Check out Horse’s website for full tour dates and details. The Road Less Travelled is out now on CD and vinyl.