With over 40 gold and platinum records worldwide, Don McLean is one of America’s most beloved country artists. Botanical Gardens, his 19th studio album and first in eight years, is arguably one of Don’s most reflective to date, as he puts it,
“The inspiration for the project started years ago when I would walk in the beautiful gardens in Sydney, Australia near the Opera House. I would dream young dreams and it was a comfort and an inspiration. I was always young inside, like we all are, and I felt it again there.”
Further reflecting on the record, Don says, “the whole album really revolves around the title song. Later on I realized that the gardens are really a metaphorical heaven, and there’s a kind of death and rebirth.”
Intimacy can be found at the heart of this record, with Don penning personal numbers looking back on a life well lived, as well as his observations on youth and love. Recording at Watershed Studios in Nashville also allowed a different kind of intimacy for Don and his band, as they were made to “play close and feel the music”, resulting in a raw, yet tight sound throughout.
Don proves his prowess at writing timeless sounding songs once again, as the album weaves country, Americana, folk, and boot stomping rock in this release. In nearly 50 years on the scene, Don’s songs have become a staple in Americana music. His music has been performed by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Madonna, Fred Astaire, Chet Atkins, Weird Al Yankovick, George Michael, Josh Groban, Coolio and Ed Sheeran and his biggest hit ‘American Pie’ was recognised with high honours by being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003.
Don famously only uses Martin guitars. He has more than 40 Martin guitars and in the year 2000, the Martin Guitar Company honoured Don McLean with his own limited edition signature guitar, the D40DM.
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Folk legends Don McLean and The Dubliners will both be given Lifetime Achievement Awards at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards 2012, to be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday 8th February.
Presenter Mike Harding announced the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards on the Radio 2 Folk Show on Wednesday 18 January (7-8pm).
Jeff Smith, Head of Music for Radio 2 and 6 Music said:
“Radio 2 is committed to featuring folk music as part of our specialist music output, so we’re delighted to be holding the Radio 2 Folk Awards in Salford this year, and that listeners will be able to also watch the ceremony. Both The Dubliners and Don McLean are much loved by the Radio 2 audience, and I’d like to congratulate them on their well-deserved awards.”
Mike Harding said:
On The Dubliners – ‘When The Dubliners virtually invented the Dublin pub music scene 50 years ago, they changed the face of Irish music forever. They were exciting and different, with a real whiff of danger about them. In Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew, they possessed two truly charismatic singers of a rare quality. Barney McKenna and John Sheahan, who remain with the group to this day, are indisputably world class musicians. Hugely influential and deeply loved at home and abroad, The Dubliners are responsible for countless definitive recordings and I’m delighted that Radio 2 is honouring their immense contribution to folk music.’
On Don McLean – ‘The truly great songwriters, who create works of such quality that they become standards across genres, are owed a debt of gratitude by the music world and I think it’s fantastic that we’re presenting Don McLean with this award.’
Don McLean is one of America’s most enduring singer-songwriters and is forever associated with his classic hits American Pie and Vincent (Starry Starry Night). Since first hitting the charts in 1971, Don has amassed over 40 gold and platinum records world-wide and, in 2004, was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
Don McLean said:
“I thank the BBC for thinking of me and honouring me with this award. The UK audience has been among the most loyal for over 40 years and without them certainly I wouldn’t be considered for this honour, so I thank the BBC and I thank the British public”
The Dubliners changed the face of Irish traditional music when they formed in Dublin in 1962. Half a century later, they continue to be one of the best-loved and most recognisable of Ireland’s folk groups, responsible for definitive versions of Ireland’s greatest ballads – Whiskey In The Jar, The Wild Rover and The Rocky Road To Dublin. For a lot of people around the world, The Dubliners are Irish music, and Irish music is The Dubliners.
This is the 13th year of the awards, which were created to celebrate the UK’s folk scene, and the first year the Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast from the Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays. In addition to being broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, the awards will also be available for fans to watch live on BBC Red Button.
The awards, which are produced by production company Smooth Operations, will be hosted by BBC Radio 2 Folk presenter Mike Harding, alongside singer Julie Fowlis. Lifetime Achievement Award winners The Dubliners and Don McLean will be playing at the event. Other artists who will be performing on the night are Christy Moore, The Unthanks with the Brighouse and Rastrick Band, Martin Simpson, Seth Lakeman, Tim Edey & Brendan Power and June Tabor & Oysterband.
One of the other prestigious awards of the night – the Roots Award, awarded in recognition of an outstanding contribution to Folk Music from a Grass Roots level upwards – will be presented to Malcolm Taylor OBE. Malcolm is the Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at the English Folk Dance and Song Society. He’s receiving the Roots Award for his outstanding contribution for over 30 years of service.
Malcolm Taylor said:
“I am surprised and honoured to be receiving this award. The real star of the show is the Ralph Vaughan Williams Library itself. I am absolutely delighted to be accepting the award on behalf of the library and archive collections.”
Among this year’s nominees are June Tabor & Oysterband who have picked up four nominations for Best Group, Best Album for the album ‘Ragged Kingdom‘, Best Traditional Track, for ‘Bonny Bunch of Roses‘ and June Tabor has been nominated for Folk Singer of the Year. Sisters The Unthanks have also received four nominations for Best Group, Best Live Act, Best Album and Best Original Song. Other short-listed artists include Martin Simpson who has three nominations for Best Album, Best Traditional Track and Musician of the Year.
The Folk Awards ceremony will once again be combined with The BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, which is given to the most promising young folk artist in the UK.
Simon Mayo will be bringing his Drivetime show live from The Lowry Theatre in Salford ahead of the Radio 2 Folk Awards. He’s joined by his very special guest Don McLean who will be performing live on the show ahead of the event. In an extended programme, Simon also showcases live music from some of the other nominees and brings a flavour of what the night has in store.
Listeners can watch the Radio 2 Folk Awards live by using the BBC interactive Red Button service and pressing the red button from any BBC TV or Radio Channel. Or by going online to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/
Highlights of The Radio 2 Folk Awards will remain on BBC Red Button and the BBC Radio 2 website for viewers to enjoy for seven days after the event.
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