Lewis singer-songwriter Colin Macleod heard the phone ring…
But it wasn’t to be an everyday phone conversation for a Lewis crofter – it was one informing him that he was set to perform with music legends Van Morrison and Robert Plant.
And this added to the excitement and celebrations of the recent launch of his debut album ‘Bloodlines’.
“Well, it was a bit of a shock, that’s not an everyday phone-call!” said Colin of his invite to play the BluesFest in London and Dublin alongside ‘Van the Man’ and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant this October.
“I’m still not quite believing it actually, I reckon until I get there on the stage it won’t really sink in.”
Colin – who last year signed a licensing deal with major record label BMG – is also set to delight home audiences with a slot at the Hebridean Celtic Festival in July. “I’m delighted to be back at this year’s HebCelt. It’s always great playing to a home crowd but it’s always another level at the festival.”
Having completed a mini-tour in the States – performing at the SXSW festival in Austin Texas, as well as his first gig in New York City at the Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan’s Lower East Side – Colin is set to return across ‘The Pond’ later this year as a guest on the hugely popular Late Late Show with James Corden in Los Angeles.
“The reaction in America has been fantastic,” he said. “It’s such a big place it can be overwhelming, but we’re lucky that we have a good team and the initial reaction has been so positive.
“It’s always been a big ambition of mine to tour America so I’m really excited to see what happens.”
Joining Colin on his recent stateside adventures were bandmates and fellow islanders Scott Macleod (guitar) and Murdo Mackenzie (drums), Colin’s younger brother Callum (bass), and Fort William musician Gordon Skene (piano).
And for American audiences, a group of Leodhaschs (Gordon made an honorary islander) was the perfect introduction to new album ‘Bloodlines’, which draws heavily on the culture, life and stories of the isle.
“I was wondering where to go with the album, and then I realised there were all these amazing stories from home,” he said.
“It’s a rich vein. I think I could write albums for the rest of my days on stories from the Isle of Lewis. Once you tap into it it’s like an oil well, there’s just so much of it.”
Produced by the revered Ethan Johns, who has worked with the likes of Kings of Leon and Paul McCartney, ‘Bloodlines’ was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real Wold studios in Wiltshire; and the new release is already attracting attention in all the right places, much to Colin’s relief: “It feels great to finally have this album out.
“For a while it felt like it might never happen, but I’m glad I had the time and space to make it the way I wanted. I’m very proud of it, not least for it being so much about home.”
You can hear more from Colin and his life split as a Lewis crofter and touring musician in his YouTube series of Vlogs (www.youtube.com/channel/UCoCCrAdLIAw2enCsbe8TZgQ); and visit https://colinmacleod.tmstor.es/ to purchase/download the new ‘Bloodline’ albums.