Last month, we featured the first in a handful of recently-filmed intimate songs from Ewan McLennan. The songs were recorded around a single microphone, one from each of his three studio albums. For his latest he recorded a performance of The Granite Cage which featured on Stories Still Untold. I’ve also chosen it has our Song of the Day, it was written by the late great Alastair Hulett.
Ewan shared the following about his song choice:
“This is a song that was written by the Scottish folk singer and songwriter Alistair Hulett. It tells the tale of John Maclean, a socialist, an agitator and an organiser who was particularly active around the period in early 20th C Glasgow that has since become known as the Red Clydeside.
In the first years of WWI John McLean was active in the call for young men to refuse conscription, a movement that was gathering pace across the Britain. Speaking to huge crowds that would regularly gather to hear him speak, Maclean would argue that the war being entered into had nothing to do with the interests of ordinary working people in Britain or Germany, but everything to do with the interests of their rulers. His speeches and writings to this effect were considered particularly seditious by the British authorities and he was repeatedly arrested. This song depicts John Maclean’s final spell in prison, in the notorious Peterhead prison in the North-East of Scotland. The conditions were arranged so as to break him and many accounts suggest he indeed emerged from prison a much-diminished man.
I first came across this song when I was asked to arrange, interpret and perform it for one of the fantastic concerts the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust regularly put on, this one on theme of the Red Clydeside.”
Ewan heads out on tour this month, see dates below:
10/03/2016 Black Swan Folk Club, York
11/03/2016 Woodend Gallery, Scarborough
12/03/2016 Linskill Centre, North Shields
14/03/2016 (Not) The White Horse Folk Club, Beverley
20/03/2016 Sidmouth Acoustic Sessions, Sidmouth
28/04/2016 Tradfest, Edinburgh
05/05/2016 The Lighthouse, Deal
06/05/2016 Milkmaid Folk Club, Bury St Edmunds
07/05/2016 Bromham Mill, Bedford
10/05/2016 Mrs Yarrington’s Music Club, Battle
12/05/2016 Maindenhead Folk Club
13/05/2016 Kalamazoo Club, London
24/05/2016 The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol
25/05/2016 Live @ Sam’s, Sheffield
26/05/2016 Topic Folk Club, Bradford
We will have more soon from Ewan, in the meantime keep up with all his latest news via: www.ewanmclennan.co.uk
You can also find out more about Alistair Hulett and the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust set up to help promote social justice and equality through music and struggle. More details can be found here: www.alistairhulett.com