1938 (age 82)
1 - Scottish folk singer & songwriter. Born in 1959 and from the West Coast of Scotland, now based in London.
As The London Evening Standard and Time Out! Magazine so succinctly put it:
"Jim McLean…who IS he?"
Born in the West Coast of Scotland, Young Jim (as he was then called) was brought up on a staple diet of Scottish and Irish Folk, with lashings of Old-Timey and Country Music for desert. Yummy!
It was Alex Campbell, the “Big Daddy of Folk Music” who gave McLean the performing bug. First, listening to his records and copying them note from note, then, at the age of 14 travelling to Glasgow where he knew he would find him, McLean was befriended and encouraged by his Hero. It was on Alex’s advice that Jim learned to play “Far far away”.
At 17 Jim McLean left his island home (to the relief of the locals who now knew every Alex Campbell song in the book!) and travelled to Europe, where he thought all the action was. In the tradition of his idols like Campbell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Derroll Adams and Woody Guthrie, McLean busked and gigged his way through France and Belgium. Arriving in Holland McLean found Amsterdam the perfect place to stay, not just for the usual reasons but he also found the music scene more vibrant than anywhere back home.
Gigs in Holland, Germany and Denmark allowed McLean to meet and play with the best in Celtic and American music. He was busy developing his own distinctive guitar style, a blend of Celtic and American styles with the addition of banjo-techniques based on the banjo playing of Derroll Adams and Appalachian Mountain music.
It was like having a banjo, but cheaper and without the social stigma!
Festivals in Skagen and Tonder brought McLean back in touch with people like Alex Campbell, Alan Taylor, Eric Bogle, and these festivals brought him work as a session player for the folk musicians of the day, both in the studio and on stage.
McLean was also developing as a songwriter and an unabashed worshipper of Bob Dylan. His own material began to be asked for at gigs, and soon was making up the majority of his sets.
His songwriting covers the whole genre from hard-hitting social comment to the tenderest of love songs. This, together with his ability to re-interpret and transform traditional songs to breathe new life into them, has brought him a reputation as a true performer.
His passion and love for the music shines through every performance and audiences leave knowing they have witnessed something unique. Sometimes they even feel they have had a good time.
His first Album, titled "Jim McLean" was a mix of traditional and contemporary songs, and was a totally self-produced project. It did well enough to ensure a string of gigs up and down the country and demonstrated his wide range and multi-genre influences.
The mix of Jim's Celtic and contemporary influences, together with his self-penned material led to the album "Hear The Call", which has been a favourite of the fans and critically acclaimed by the Folk and Roots fraternity.
A series of concerts, backed by trhe bass and violin of the Paynes (of A Band Like Alice fame) and and at times including Len Harvey on Dobro, were well received.
Of course, the best way to appreciate McLean is to hear him live. In the true style of the troubadour he brings songs to life rather than simply repeating what others do.
Whether he’s inspiring you with his own material, making your feet tap with Country Blues, moving you to song with Celtic and Traditional folk, or re-inventing fellow artistes’ material, Jim McLean brings any club to life with pure entertainment and passion.
You could do worse.
tracks sung by others
the Massacre of Glencoe.
2 - English>Canadian bagpiper
3 - an earlier Scottish folk singer & songwriter who knew Bob Dylan in 1962
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