My new EP 'SKAIL' is due for release on July 4 and is already picking up so much interest in the folk and Americana scenes both side of the Atlantic. The theme of the EP is "Scottish blood in American clay" and it features three songs about emigration, independence and the desire to make a new life in the New World.
First song on the EP is The Crofter and the Cherokee. Millions of years ago the Scottish Highlands and the East Coast of America were part of the same landmass and that geological link is recognised by the fact that the Appalachian Trail now officially runs from Georgia to Maine and extends across the Atlantic to include the West Highland Way.
Highland Scots and Native American Indians share a common belief that land can’t be owned. Thousands of highland families were evicted from their homes when landowners decided it was more profitable to use the land for sheep farming. In Georgia thousands of Cherokee died when they were evicted after gold was found on their homelands. So “The Crofter and The Cherokee” links the Highland Clearances with the Trail of Tears as a present day Georgia native traces his family roots back to Scotland.
“The Widow and The Cruel Sea” is the story of a woman who loses her fisherman husband at sea and is desperate to escape the social confines of a young widow in a Highland village to start a new life in the American colonies. Life for a woman in the 18th Century would have been difficult at the best of times but a young widow on her own had so few rights. It would have been expensive and hazardous to make that journey but following the Clearances many Scottish families saw a better future for themselves in the New World.
“Old World Rules and Empire Takes” looks at British rule over the entire Eastern seaboard of America. It touches on the Battle of Kings Mountain, a crucial skirmish in the War of American Independence, where forces for the Crown, led by Major Patrick Ferguson from Aberdeenshire, were defeated by the Overmountain Men settlers, many of whom would also have been of Scottish descent. In Scotland the clans have a long history of feuds and skirmishes so in my song there’s the irony of a Scotsman killing another Scotsman in another land where they each hoped to make a new start. The song ends with the line “Scottish blood in American clay” to acknowledge those sacrifices and close trans-Atlantic ties.
“What can I say but ‘wow’. These are truly fantastic stories weaved to a soundtrack that really transport you to another time and place - a really well done series.” Darren Thomas 21CC
"Malcolm further showcases his wonderful musical abilities and proves that even in lockdown nothing will stop him from making amazing music! It is more towards the hardcore Americana/American Folk scene but that does not take away how much I love this EP!" Fantastic review here by Dom Crooke of Country Chat