In These Times
VISIT ADAM MCCULLOCH TRIO'S WEBSITE BY clicking on Adam McCulloch at top left hand side of page, then follow the link under 'more cool stuff' Adam's earliest musical experience was listening to traditional Scottish song from his mother, Gordeanna. As he began to play and sing himself, he was attracted to American and Irish material too, he is also a gifted song writer which was recognised when he won the 2007 Singer/Songwriting competition at Girvan Folk Festival. Hi Folks, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for having a look at my page, I do hope you enjoy my music and go on to purchase my album. In These Times would not have been possible to make without the help and support I received from my recording studio Sound Sense and it's owners John Weatherby and Kris Koren, who not only did a fab job producing and mixing the album but also played banjo and mandolin on some of the songs. Big thanks also go out to Paul McKenna of The Paul McKenna Band for his sterling backing vocals and to Ruairidh MacMillan, for his fab fiddle arrangements. When I made this album I saw myself as a solo performer and purposely kept the whole feel very simple, having since formed The Adam McCulloch Trio we are really keen to bring our new sound to a wider audience. Listeners can expect to find Gypsy Jazz, Bluegrass and country influences blending seamlessly with Scots traditional material In addition to this my own compositions will featuring more prominently. It just leaves me to say thanks again and watch this space (adammccullochtrio@facebook) for info about forthcoming releases. Adam PS I will leave you in the capable hands of my business/life manager ( THE MRS TO YOU AND ME!!!) IN THESE TIMES features 14 songs the bulk of which are old favourites; 1.SALLY WHEATLEY- Adam particularly likes the image of a heroic female whisky drinker in this jaunty wee song that he heard from the singing of the Dubliners, although a Newcastle song it sits very well alongside the Scots content. 2. AS I ROVED OUT- Adam remembers hearing Christy Moore singing this song and was drawn to the whole cheery vibe. 3. THE OVERGATE- This version of the age old tale of the simple country laddie who avoids financial ruin at the hands of a flash girl in the city is originally taken from the singing of Jeannie Robertson, but Adam owes a pint to a pal at Thurso Folk Club for some extra input on the lyrics! 4. THE BONNIE BANKS O'AIRDRIE - Child ballad (no 14) Which Adam first heard from the singing of his mammy. He particularly likes the corruption of Child's title Babylon into the brother's unlikely namer of Boblin John. This ballad focus's on three sisters who upon entering the forest are met by the brigand Boblin John who 'kills them ane by ane' before ultimately discovering that he is killing his kin, whereupon he takes his own life! 5. IN THESE TIMES- 'there but for the grace of god', go I. Adam wrote this song after seeing a beggar in Glasgow city centre and being struck how close some of are from being on the street. The lyrics in this song are especially emotive and 'with a numb kind of feeling he sleeps under god's ceiling and I wonder if he'll ever wake again!' gets me every time. 6. THE ROWIN'T HER APRON - This posthumously published Burn's song focuses on the all-too-familiar theme of a concealed pregnancy. 7. THE CALTON WEAVER - Another song from Adam's growing-up, absorbed from the singing of his mammy and umpteen pals. This song reminds us of the ills and pitfalls of the demon drink 'Nancy Whisky' 8. MACPHERSON'S RANT - This version from '101Scottish Songs' is the true story of an outlaw - James MacPherson- who was executed at the cross of Banff in 1700 after being betrayed. Fantastic vocals are accompanied by beautifully evocative fiddle playing from Ruairidh MacMillan (previous winner BBC's Young Traditional Musician of the Year) and transports the listener on MacPherson's journey to his death. 9. THE RIGS O'RYE - A bonnie tune for a song with a happy ending (a rarity in Scottish trafitional song). Happy ending- EVENTUALLY ( It is Scottish after all). This is Adam's mammy's version. 10. THE POACHERS - This version of 'Van Dieman's Land' from Ord's 'Bothy Songs and Ballads' is a reminder of how hellish times could be in the bad old days. Telling the story of several unfortunate people who ended up transported from throughout Scotland to 'Van Dieman's Land' for their crimes. 'Jean Stewart's tale 'o'a lass frae sweet Dundees' 14 years for the 'playing o' the game' and of the captains freeing her only to find herself providing 'good usage' in return illustrates this painfully well. 11. ERIN-GO-BRAH - Adam has heard many versions of this song about prejudice and discrimination, in his version great vocals are perfectly complimented by fiddle from Ruairidh. This is the earliest Scottish anti-racist song that Adam is aware of and tells of a young highlander's trip to Auld Reekie ( Edinburgh) only to be mistaken for a Paddy (Irishman) due to his lilting accent and he is treated accordingly by the authorities! Times were extremely difficult for Irish immigrants arriving in Scotland, at the time, many found themselves facing extreme hardship and ill treatment. 12. HARD TIMES - Adam first heard this Stephen Foster song, many moons ago, from the singing of Mary Black and DeDannan, it is now a firm favourite (with as many harmonies as we can mange ) at family gatherings. This song, which calls for Hard Times to come again no more is as relevant now as it was when it was first penned. 13. TRUE LOVES KNOWS NO SEASON - Another song Adam found from the singing of Christy Moore and Planxty. This sad American tale of a lady who pines her life away after the fatal shooting of her outlaw lover has a beautiful tune and an emotive lyrics. 14. WILLIE TAYLOR - Adam owes this song to the American group 'Uncle Earl', but he's added the final stanza from a Scottish version because he loved the idea of the wronged heroine/murderess actually becoming the captain of the ship on which the double crosiing Willie Taylor had served. REVEIW : THE SUNDAY HERALD by Rob Adam (published Sunday 12th June 2011) Singer-guitarist Adam McCulloch has quite a pedigree. His mother Gordeanna, is one of Scotlands leading folksong and ballad singers,and Adam has clearly been brought up with the tradition as part of family life. Any one of the dozen traditional songs included on this14 strong debut collection will attest to his feeling for the form as he lends his strong, rugged voice to the Scottish and Irish repertoires and occasionally, as on Willie Taylor's tale of ocean-going skulduggery, their American variants, accompanied by fiddle, mandolin and banjo. As the title track proves, he's a promising songwriter, too, although he might have benefitted from more consideration towards dynamics and variety in the song settings as the mood becomes a bit unrelenting over the span of the album. That said, the raw materials are all in place and, with a new band in place to promote the album, he could easily follow his mums lead and become a significant voice on the Scottish scene. REVEIW by DAVID KIDMAN ADAM MCCULLOCH In These Times Private Label ADMC001 CD This CD arrived for review with no supporting information - which is actually quite appropriate, since it's plain-spoken nature enables the music to speak entirely for itself. It's a straightforward voice-with-guitar-accompaniment record for the most part, on which Adam (son of the peerless singer Gordeanna McCulloch) gently enchants his listeners with just minimal resources. In that respect, I was struck by the kinship between Adam's debut CD and that of Ewan McLennan (Rags And Robes), which similarly captivated me on it's appearance last year. There are other distinct similarities between the two debut recordings: Adam too is blessed with a very fine singing voice, which brings a depth of knowledge and understanding of his chosen material that's rare in any young artist making his first recording, while his guitar playing is simply but effectively judged, highly articulate (reflecting his vocal delivery) and yet sensibly unobtrusive. The material Adam's chosen to showcase on this CD is almost entirely traditional, and predominantly of Scottish origin, and he turns in suitably persuasive and accessible versions of some very well-known songs (The Overgate, The Calton Weaver, As I Roved Out, Erin-Go-Bragh etc) which, while not springing any surprises or yielding any radical insights, do the job very nicely. Best of the bunch are probably a secure and well-focused take on Child 14 (The Bonnie Banks Of Airdrie), the little-known Burns song The Rowin't In Her Apron and The Poachers (the version of Van Diemen's Land contained in Ord's collection). I was rather taken aback at first with the opening track - it was a bit of a shock to the system hearing Sally Wheatley sung in a Scottish accent! - but this "jaunty wee song from the singing of the Dubliners" (Adam's description not mine, I hasten to add!) comes across just fine here; I also rather liked Adam's forthright take on Hard Times, which also features backing vocals from Paul McKenna and some attractive supporting fiddle playing from Ruairidh MacMillan (Ruairidh appears on a couple of other tracks too, and there are some even more occasional contributions from John Weatherby on banjo and Kris Koren on mandolin, scattered judiciously across the CD). I've deliberately saved what's arguably the disc's best track till last for mentioning: the title track, which is the one and only self-penned song on the album, judging by the high quality of which I hope this is a direction which Adam is destined to increasingly pursue in the future. David Kidman.