Pete McClelland announces a new maritime themed album

Pete McClelland

The idea for The Turn Of The Tide came out of a concert performance supporting Martin Simpson at Cornwall Folk Festival in 2016. For this gig, Pete put together a set of songs from his repertoire in varying styles about rivers, the sea and the coast. It all went down well, so he decided to record it and see how it came out.

There are three of Pete’s songs here and one each by Lennie Gallant, Stan Rogers and Archie Fisher as well as six traditional songs that Pete has sung over the years and which he learned from some of his favourite folk singers.

The album kicks off with banishment and two covers of Nic Jones’ early performances, ‘The Island Of St Helena’ and ‘The Isle Of France’, this song harking back to Pete’s days at the Southend Railway Hotel Folk Club when Nic was performing these two songs in his set.  The song appeared in a broadsheet shortly after the Napoleonic wars. ‘The Isle Of France’ was collected in West Sussex where Pete now lives.

Part two concerns fishing and the loss of it. First are songs from two great Canadian writers. Stan Rogers’ ‘Make And Break Harbor’ and Lennie Gallant’s ‘Peter’s Dream’.

These more serious songs are followed by a couple of light hearted ditties. ‘The Herring’s Head’, a cumulative song heard a long time ago and ‘The Candlelight Fisherman’ from the singing of John Coppins. As a child Pete often sat on the shore at Shoeburyness watching those Thames barges, with their characteristic rigging, passing the Mulberry Harbour.

Part Three is all about Rivers and Lovers: ‘The Willow Tree’ is one of Pete’s own songs; ‘Johnny Sands’ is a rather unpleasant little song which Pete heard from Martin Carthy when at Kingston Polytechnic in the 70s. ‘Just As The Tide Was Flowing’ is from another of Pete’s big influences, Tony Rose and was Pete’s first public performance many years ago. ‘The Appalachian Way’ is another of Pete’s songs written after visiting storyteller Jerry Harmon at his house in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina

The album ends with coastal metalwork: piers and oil rigs. Pete brings back his connection with Southend on Sea to write ‘Top Alex ‘about a burning pier pavilion. Album close is ‘Men Of Worth’, a song full of great imagery from another favourite singer, the great Archie Fisher.

This superb collection of songs is complemented by informative sleeves notes and dramatic imagery.

Artist’s website: www.petemcclelland.com

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Hobgoblin Music – 40 Years (Hobgoblin HOBCD040)

Hobgoblin MusicIt’s forty years since the founders of Hobgoblin Music set out to make, and I quote “what was then almost impossible – finding good quality folk instruments – possible”. As the sleeve notes acknowledge, that seems almost ordinary now and you can buy just about anything from a Hobgoblin shop and if you can’t they will probably know someone who can make it for you. The twenty-one tracks that make up this compilation are all performed by current or former Hobgoblin staff and that must make it unique. With shops all over the country the performers come from very different backgrounds which makes for a very varied set. Some of the players are professional musicians now, others come from ad hoc groupings; so much so that one track is credited to the Leeds Shop Staff – a richly arranged version of ‘Green Grows The Laurel’.

The opening track is a sparkling instrumental from one of the company’s first employees, Mark White. There is no indication when ‘Tea Time’ was written but it has a 70s feel.  That’s followed by ‘An Ordinary Life’, a folk-punk track by The Teds who feature Mark McCabe and the first of two tracks by flautist Jacquelyn Hynes, ‘The Cuckoo’, this being the Appalachian setting. Her other contribution is a set of two tunes, ‘Micho Russell’s/Father Kelly’s’. Rather modestly, the company’s founder Pete McClelland, holds himself back to the fourth track, ‘Walk This Road’, from his debut album, Carolina Sky. Actually, he’s not so modest, his Blackthorn Band get two tracks. ‘Spailpin Fanach’ and ‘The Banks Of The Sweet Primroses’.

I hope you’re getting the picture by now. Here you will find traditional songs and tunes and the writing of fine singer/songwriters like Nicola Rain & Sarah Mooney, Dogan Mehmet, Neil Campbell, Ollie King and John Rain. And I’m prepared to guarantee that you’ll discover someone you want to hear more of.

Dai Jeffries

Label website: http://www.hobgoblinrecords.com/

Dogan Mehmet & friends: ‘The Raging Seas’ – live:

PETE McCLELLAND – Carolina Sky (Hobgoblin Records HOBCD1016)

Carolina SkyAlthough a co-founder of Hobgoblin Music and a member of several different folk bands, Pete McClelland has only just released an album in his own right. Inspired by nearly forty years of Stateside road trips soundtracked by country music, McClelland describes Carolina Sky as a “real and imagined journey across the USA”. Indeed, there are more than a few inescapable splashes of Americana throughout the album; from the cover image of the Blue Ridge Mountains (immortalised in the country genre for decades) to the American geography found throughout the songs – especially in key numbers, like the title track, and album opener ‘The Appalachian Way’.

Written in 2015, the song paints a picture of true friendship in the setting of the American South:“We’re driving down from Redway to Ashville, Leave the frozen Mississippi far behind /I’m gonna sit and smoke, have a couple of beers, I hope, And see my buddy Jerry bye and bye

Recorded in Sussex, England and Nashville, Tennessee, the sounds of country music absolutely drench the album and along with the aforementioned opener, there are a few other numbers which also stand out. ‘Walk This Road’ is particularly deserving of a mention, not only for McClelland’s lyrical celebration of his own family, but for the fact that this was the piece which got the ball rolling for McClelland as a songwriter. Perhaps the strongest number is the mandolin-laced ‘Carolina Sky’ and its picturesque lyrical content which makes one yearn to go back to Carolina…even if one has never been to Carolina in the first place. The honky-tonking, bluesy follow up, ‘Marie’ and ‘A Kind of Kindness’ (another one of McClelland’s earliest efforts) are worth a shout too. A new flavour is introduced in the album’s final track, ‘Marion’, through the Cajun accordion of Jason Pegg, and it’s a fitting to end the record; dedicated to McClelland’s wife, Mannie, his travelling companion for the coast to coast journeys which inspired Carolina Sky.

In the album’s notes, McClelland writes “I went to Nashville to see if anyone might cover my songs, never really planned to put this out there myself…” but with so much of the album written about friends, family or McClelland’s love of travelling, it feels only right that we should hear his stories and his songs in his own voice.

Christopher James Sheridan

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the PETE McCLELLAND – Carolina Sky link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artist’s website: www.petemcclelland.com

Hobgoblin founder Pete McClelland announces debut solo album

Carolina Sky is a collection of Pete McClelland’s original songs and is his first solo release, recorded in Sussex and in Nashville during late 2016. Inspired by becoming a grandfather in 2011 the spark was lit and songs began to flow. Pete has driven, along with his wife Mannie, across North America on many occasions, coast to coast, East to West and North to South. This album is also inspired by those journeys and the places along them. The album features Nashville stalwarts Wayne Killius, drums, Tigar Bell fiddle, Mike Joyce Bass, Grand Ole Opry star Pat Severs on guitars, banjo and dobro, and Sussex players Jason Pegg, accordion and piano, John Rain bass and Pete on guitars, banjo, fiddle and vocals. The album was recorded at Beach Studios is Sussex and the stunning cover artwork is a photo of the Blueridge Mountains seen from the Blueridge Parkway

Weehawken to Redwing via Asheville; New York to San Diego; Montreal to New York via Chicago, Des Moines, Tulsa and Jacksonville; San Francisco to Big Bend; Key West to Vancouver; Pete and Mannie have crossed the North American continent over and over since 1978 and listened to country music most of the way. Pete went to Nashville to see if anyone might cover his songs, never really planned to put this out there himself. But now he has, and we hope you like the album!

Pete McClelland is a member of two folk bands:

The Blackthorn Band – www.blackthornband.org

and ThingumaJig – www.thingumajig.org.

He is also a member of country band Montana Rain – www.montanarain.co.uk.

He performs solo with his Turn Of The Tide sea song project.

R2 Magazine: “Surprisingly, Carolina Sky is Pete’s debut solo album. a gently beguiling collection informed by McClelland’s pastoral tones, eschewing any suggestion of a false accent, and at times bringing to mind Al Stewart. He skilfully combines elements of country, blues, bluegrass and folk with soft-rock favours on the Chris Rea-style ‘War of Love’, and Cajun on ‘Marie’.”

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the Pete McClelland – Carolina Sky link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artist’s website: www.petemcclelland.com

See also: www.hobgoblinmusic.co.uk