When Scots singer-songwriter Colin Macleod takes to the stage in front of tens of thousands of music lovers later this year to support rock royalty like Roger Waters, Robert Plant and Van Morrison, he’ll be a world away from his day-to-day life on Lewis.

Long considered to be one of the most promising, original talents on the Scots music scene, Macleod these days balances his musical endeavours with another great passion in his life; crofting, and caring for a flock of blackface and cheviot sheep back in his home village of Swordale.

This week sees the release of Bloodlines, Macleod’s debut album under his own name, and later in the summer things step up a gear concert-wise.

Now under the wings of leading London agent Rod MacSween, Macleod is on the bill for Roger Waters’ concert in Hyde Park in July and is the sole support to Robert Plant and Van Morrison at their Blues Fest gigs in London and Dublin this October. Throw in a couple of major festivals and some concerts with Sheryl Crow and it’s plain that his profile is about to take-off big time.

Macleod came to music late and only started writing his own material when he was 19. As a kid, he played in a hard-rock covers band bravely battling to be heard in the pubs and dance halls of Stornoway on a Saturday night. His talents were always going to take him further afield though and after leaving the Nicolson Institute he flitted back and forth from the island to the mainland, including six months playing with bands in Glasgow and three years in London.

The lure of island life was always tempting him to return home. “I went to London with the purpose of making music, and I loved my time there, but I always knew I’d end up back on Lewis eventually. All the time I was trying to find a balance…a way to have a career in music and live on the island.”

Performing as The Boy Who Trapped the Sun, Colin released the album Fireplace in 2010 to good reviews but disappointing sales figures. He still looks back on those years fondly though. “It was a development deal with Universal that meant I got a little money, a new guitar, and went to studios every day to effectively learn how to write songs. It was like a songwriting university, an amazing thing to get the opportunity to do. I also loved being in the studio and got to learn first-hand how to engineer and produce records. I got to go to some amazing places like Abbey Road and Olympic Studios. Had I not been tied so strongly to my home I might have stayed in London forever.”

In 2011 he returned to Lewis permanently. He enjoys the isolation of island life, surfing, fly-fishing (he still works as a ghillie occasionally) and crofting. This is no passing affectation, he is deadly serious about caring for his flock of sheep, often out on the croft at dawn with his dog Sparky to check on the welfare of lambs, administer feed and medicines and mend fences.

“When I was younger, crofting wasn’t something I was really interested in. I used to try and sneak away on a Saturday before someone came around to ask me to help getting the sheep in! As I’ve gotten older it’s become more important to me. After I moved home from London I really wanted to have my own croft and start living a simpler life…grow my own food, raise my own animals. It’s a difficult thing to explain really as it’s not quite a hobby, but not really a job either, it’s sort of deeper than that. It feels a little like a responsibility, a link to the past and something of an older way of life I want to cling onto and try and preserve. It’s a lifestyle that really appeals to me, the photos of the old boys with big hands working on their crofts, I like that.

“Lambing this year was a bit challenging, we had some late sheep and some casualties, but it seems to have been the same story across the board. It was a hard winter for the animals. I live beside my dad Callum and our crofts are connected. He has cheviots and I have a flock of blackface, but because he works offshore, and I travel often, we keep them all together, so that there’s always someone home to look out for them. It works out well, it’s very rarely that neither of us is here… and when that happens we have nice neighbours that help out. It’s a communal thing really, everyone looks out for everyone else’s animals.”

“I was very lucky to grow up on Lewis, there is so much support here within the community. When you’re from a place that is really beautiful, you struggle to be anywhere else. There is a Gaelic phrase ‘a Lewisman would be homesick in heaven’ and it’s true. But growing up in Lewis I was so far away from everything I never really thought you could make a career out of being a musician. I thought it was one or the other – musician or islander. The older I got, the more I realised the two are inseparable.”

Life on the island is also inspirational when it comes to songwriting, with many of the beautiful, wistful songs on Bloodlines reflecting his new-found contentment with life and his rekindled interest in the history, folklore and characters of the island. Macleod pays special tribute to the album’s producer Ethan Johns for developing the ‘bigger’ sound on the new album. “It’s really a fulfilment of a dream to work with him. He’s produced some of my favourite albums… by Ray Lamontagne, Kings of Leon, The Jayhawks and, especially, Ryan Adams. He has a very collaborative approach and also played all the drums on the record. The two of us were really a band making this album. I learned so much working with him, it was a priceless experience.

“The new album is different from Fireplace; it’s eight years now since that album and I’ve changed a lot in that time. It’s probably more accurate to say it’s a new debut rather than a second album, although that sounds a bit odd but it feels like a fresh start for me. I’m still proud of that first album, I’m always happy to play songs from it, but for me it feels like a different project.

“I feel that I can take the ups and downs a little easier now. I’m happy in my life. I’m not looking for fame and fortune, I just like writing songs, so whatever comes my way – good or bad – is fine. You always hope people will be able to hear the music you make, you want it to reach as many as possible. But the main thing for me, is to make something I can be proud of. If the album is a success it’ll mean I could probably afford a quad bike and a few more sheep! But success will never lure me away from island again.”

And as for these upcoming gigs with some of the biggest names in rock music this summer, Macleod admits “It’s all a bit mad. This will sound a bit weird, but I never really feel like it’s real until I go and do these things. I’m just a guy from an island in the middle of nowhere, I’m not that cove who’s playing the huge shows. It’s like looking at it from the outside or something. When I rock up the back door of the 02 with my guitar it’ll become pretty real! I’m really looking forward to them, I’m just feeling excited that all the hard work everyone has put in is paying off. It’s a bit crazy that you can sit in your bedroom, write a few songs, then those songs can get you on the stage at the 02 playing before Van Morrison and Robert Plant, but I suppose that’s how those guys got started too.”

Who knows, Macleod might even persuade Van Morrison and Robert Plant, both of whom have visited Lewis in the past few years, to help out with the lambing next spring.

Colin MacLeod, Bloodlines, BMG, out now