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Lou McLean – Locked Down in Leith

Due to be released on the 8th of March, Locked Down in Leith is the new five track EP from Edinburgh singer-songwriter Lou McLean.  A record of her own experience of lockdown, it is sure to  resonate with all those dealing with the loss of so many of life’s certainties whilst yearning for a return to normality.

Opening song Goodbye sums up the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability so many of us have felt as the events of the past year unfolded before us. Lou McLean’s clever lyrics ensure that this is no mere gloom- fest though.  You can only smile as she asks, ‘Can I turn this crisis in to a banging song?’ (The answer, by the way,  is an emphatic yes.)

Adventures in Vulnerability contains one of the most heartbreakingly honest opening verses you are likely to hear this year or any other year. In just a few short lines the long-term damage caused by a past traumatic event is laid bare. The sparse arrangement and Lou Mclean’s tender vocals capture the  raw emotion of the lyrics perfectly.

The World is on Fire provides a wonderfully wistful few minutes as the singer contemplates past relationships with others and herself. It’s a lovely wee reminder of the importance of dealing with the self-doubt that hits us all occasionally.

Let’s Dance flows from the speakers like a soothing balm. Lou McLean’s vocals make for a comfortingly warm listen here. The wit in her lyrics is never too far from the surface of this one either.

What we all want from this lock down is a happy ending and that is exactly what Lou Mclean gives us with the final track , Glam Bam. Those carefree days in a new relationship when ‘the rules don’t apply when it feels right’ are relayed perfectly. It is an uplifting note to end on.

Locked Down in Leith sees Lou Mclean build on the firm foundations of her 2017 collection, Good Morning Easter Road.   This feels like a real step forward.  Let’s hope that there is a full album to come in the not too distant future.

Find out more  on Facebook.

Follow Lou McLean on Twitter.

Locked Down in Leith is available to pre-buy HERE

Buy Locked Down in Leith  at












Rosie Nimmo -Where Time Suspends

Due to be released on Friday 5th February, Where Time Suspends is the new album from Edinburgh singer -songwriter Rosie Nimmo. A wonderfully laid-back collection, the eclectic mixture of jazz-tinged blues and Joni Mitchell style folk musings provides a much needed counter to the current bleak climate.

Opening track Laugh is a lovely introduction to Rosie Nimmo’s craft as her never less than engaging voice reminds us of the joy to be gained from everyday connections.  There’s a real singalong feel to this song which should have even the dourest among us finding a wee smile appearing on their face.

Rosie Nimmo’s lyrics are often deceptively simple.  The sparse arrangement on Heaven, a lament for the loss of a childhood pet, provides the perfect backdrop to a song that says a so much about the hardship of grief.  The nursery rhyme style opening lyrics on the ostensibly more upbeat Oops a Daisy soon give way to a witty and thoughtful reflection on the nature of relationships.

Possibly the biggest insight to where Rosie Nimmo is coming from is to be found on one of the albums highlights, Small Child. It is rather refreshing to hear another adult admit that deep down we are still driven by the child we used to be……or still are.

Could Have Been was inspired by an inscription found inside a poetry book. Everything comes together perfectly here, from the sparse playing to the gorgeous vocals and touching lyrics. It’s a wonderful song and no surprise that it was released as a single.

Where Time Suspends is an emotionally rich album, rendered uniquely beautiful by the delivery of the subtle and profound lyrics in the artists  warm yet uncluttered manner. It will be so good to hear these songs played live when that is possible again.

Pre-order and buy Where Time Suspends at

Rosie Nimmo can be followed on Facebook

Or catch up with her on Twitter. 


Mairi McGillivray – In My Mind

Released on the 15th of January, In My Mind is the debut EP from Mairi McGillivray. A native of Islay, this four-track collection is as captivating as the island from which she hails.

Opening song Tha Fadachd orm Fhìn is a traditional Gaelic waulking tune.  The beauty of McGillivray’s voice and the poetic Gaelic lyrics are a perfect fit and is as good an introduction as you could ask for.

Kelvin’s Purling Stream, a traditional song dating back to the 1850s, tells the wistful tale of a young Irish emigrant to Glasgow as he thinks of the girl he left behind.  It’s a cleverly chosen song, one sure to echo the emotions felt by many who made the move to the big city at a young age.

Tàladh na Beinne Guirme, a poignant lullaby, recounts the experience of Gaelic settlers in Canada. Special mention must be given to the backing  musicians backing here.  Barely a note is wasted as they provide the perfect accompaniment, adding subtle texture that allows McGillivray’s voice to shine brightly.

The self-penned Sea of Men tells the story of HMS Otranto, a troopship which was lost off the rocky shores of Islay leaving over four hundred dead. It was a tragedy which reached all the way across the Atlantic to the American homeland of the victims. The lyrics capture the horror of ‘a sea of men’ fighting for their lives as well as the sense of helplessness of those on the shore who found their ability to help limited by the raging seas. Mairi McGillivray’s honest delivery packs a powerful emotional punch whilst Paul Mckenna’s restrained backing vocals on the chorus provides a suitably haunting reminder of the souls that were lost.

In My Mind surely heralds the start of a long career. On the evidence of these four tracks Mairi McGillivray must be one to watch.

To buy In My Mind head to Bandcamp.

Learn more at


Mairi McGillivray – Vocals
Seán Gray – Guitar
Charlie Stewart – Double Bass
Isla Callister – Fiddle
Graham Rorie – Mandolin
Paul McKenna – Backing Vocals

Engineered by Mike Vass & Graham Rorie
Mastered by Scott Wood



Ellyn Oliver – Ring the Bells

We really are spoiled for choice when it comes to music at Christmas.  Whether it is evergreen standards from the likes of Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole, the seventies classics from Slade and Wizard or some of the cheesy festive hits of the eighties you are sure to find yourself singing along to a yuletide song at some point.

Personally, I love a Christmas Carol. The sound of small children singing Away in a Manger will inevitably leave me damp eyed. Community carol singing ignites strong memories of long-gone school concerts and the air of excitement that always surrounded them. When delivered in a soulful, bluesy voice as Ellyn Oliver does on her new three track EP, Ring the Bells, they provide the perfect seasonal accompaniment.

Ring the Bells is made up of two original compositions and one cover. Magnify, the opening track, is three and a half minutes of joyously melodic exuberance. It is utterly irresistible

Next up is the title track, Ring the Bells.  There’s a timeless feel to this song as the singer delivers a wonderfully laid-back performance. Its jazz with a Scottish accent vibe is warm, comforting and uplifting.

O Holy Night is given a totally stripped back treatment with just voice and piano present.   It is not easy bringing something new to such a familiar song but Ellyn Oliver more than succeeds here.

If Christmas spirit is made up of joy, generosity and hope along with moments of anticipation and reflection then Ellyn Oliver has captured it all for us in just three songs.  Give yourself a treat and add them to your festive playlist.

You can buy Ring the Bells by visiting Ellyn Oliver’s website HERE.

Silkwave – New Single, Fingers on the Key

It is hard to believe that it has been three whole years since I reviewed the self-titled EP from Edinburgh indie band Motion.  In the years since they have gigged extensively, sharing a bill with bands such as Neon Waltz, Vistas and Rascalton.

After taking a short break the band have relaunched themselves under a new name, Silkwave.  Their first single under their new moniker, Fingers on the Key, was released last month.

Coming in at just under three minutes it is a solid reintroduction to the group’s talents. This band  are not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves and here we have elements of The Vaccines mixed in with touches of The Stone Roses.  It makes for an enticing mix and is a song that screams out to be heard live.   Let’s all hope that is sooner rather than later.

You can hear Fingers on the Key here.

Get more info by following Silkwave on  Twitter.

Yvonne Lyon – Growing Wild

Released on the 6th of November, Growing Wild is the new album from Yvonne Lyon. The twelve songs on this perfectly balanced collection were apparently all written before coronavirus began to take its horrible toll on all aspects of our lives yet Growing Wild’s message of hope could not appear more apt.

The track listing is inspired as the album gently ebbs and flows from beginning to end, letting the listener drift gently towards a more hopeful place.

Things get started with recent single Winter Ground.  It’s an excellent taster for what is to follow, extremely well-crafted songs, superb playing and Yvonne Lyon’s irresistible voice.

There are so many highlights here it’s hard to know where to start. The title track and Insignificant as Stars complete an impressive opening trio.  The bar, having been set high, is never lowered.

The middle section of the album contains two absolute gems, Enough and Illuminate. The latter provides one of the most uplifting moments of the whole album, Lyon’s vocal conjuring up a truly vivid sense of bright light.  It is simply beautiful.

The poetic We Accumulate the Years brings proceedings to an atmospheric conclusion. It will leave you reflecting on all that you have heard before pressing play and listening again.

Growing Wild is a wonderfully mature gift of an album. Doubts and fears are shared yet there is always a comforting arm around the shoulder and you are left with the overriding feeling that not only is joy possible, it is just around the corner.  Don’t take my word for it though, take a listen yourself. You will not be disappointed.

To buy Growing Wild visit

Or buy and download from BandCamp

Davey Horne embarks on a second summer with his eponymous debut album

Several years ago a rather boozy night in an Islay bar ended with me being gifted a copy of the Ray Summer’s debut, Russian Tearoom by the father of one of the band members. When I finally played it several days later I was instantly blown away.  Trying to categorise the Fife band’s sound was nigh on impossible. They had something that so many new Indie bands struggle to attain, a sound all of their own. Several high profile gigs and support appearances pointed towards a bright future and then…….well then they were gone.

Fast forward to this year and my automatic CD filing system, (I open the cupboard they are crammed in to and wait until one falls out), dispensed the afore mentioned album in to my hands.  Yet again I was blown away, so much so I found myself embarking on a ‘where are they now’ Google search which ultimately led me to the debut album from Davey Horne, the former keyboard player with the Ray Summers. Sometimes life does lead you down the most rewarding of paths by accident.

Released on the 7th of August, Davey Horne’s eponymous debut album almost begs the question ‘What took you so long?’   Not that this talented multi-instrumentalist has been slacking having been busy touring with Jonathan Wilson and Nicole Atkins.

The opening track, Black Hole on the Run, is evocative of The Thrills at their most introspective. A slow burner of a song, it serves as a fine introduction to a wonderfully warm collection of songs.

Davey Horne wears his influences on his sleeve with nods to Dylan, Neil Young and a Band influenced George Harrison all present. It makes for a gloriously sun-drenched sound yet delivered from a recognisably Scottish perspective.

Although deeply personal Horne’s lyrics perfectly describe the mixture of dreams and anxieties that we all carry around with us.  Galvanise my Bones So they Don’t Rust is world weary and comforting. The late-night vibe of Prescribe Me My Health will stay with you long after it ends. A Symphony of Trees and Emily are both simply beautiful.

Take Me Back to the Country has the singer yearning for the carefree feelings of childhood, something we all do eventually. For me it is one of the best songs here.

This is a warm lazy river of an album, play it on loop, jump in anywhere, relax and go with the flow. You will be glad you did.

Davey Horne’s album is available to buy on Bandcamp.

For the latest follow Davey Horne on Twitter. 

Man of Moon – Strangers

Strangers, the new single from Edinburgh duo Man of Moon is like the best firework in the box, the one you save until last before setting it off. It starts with a bang and never lets up as brief moments of calm are followed by ever more intense splashes of aural effervescence.

There’s a lot packed in to this four-minute psychedelic rocker. Even cow bells make an surprise but inspired appearance. It’s a track that should be played loud then played again  even louder. The bands album Dark Sea comes out in September and if this track is anything to go by it’s going to be seriously good.

Man of Moon, like so many working bands just now have recently had to reschedule their tour dates. The good news is tickets are on sale and are available here.

Click here for info on where to buy/stream Strangers.

Get more info, follow Man of Moon on Facebook.

Or tweet away with them on Twitter.

Man of Moon are Chris Bainbridge and Mikey Reid.


honeychain – Pocket Full of Good Luck

It’s been three years since honeychain released their debut album Crushed. Produced by the late Kim Shattuck, its explosive opening track, Bombs Away, set the tone for what proved to be thirty-three minutes of exhilarating power pop.

Now they are back with their latest offering Pocket Full of Good Luck and it’s good to find that this is not the sound of a band standing still.  The  punk pop sensibilities that made Crushed so accessible are still present, especially on the album’s second track Go Away. However, the guitar sound is now dirtier, the lyrics slightly edgier and the pace of the whole album much more considered than its predecessor.

With Spaceman, honeychain have yet again set things up with a cracker.  Band leader Hillary Burton’s slightly distorted vocal adds perfectly to the feeling of displacement engendered by the song.

Alt-rocker Flee Los Angeles is a real highlight, the grungy guitar sound the perfect backdrop for the love/hate lyrics.  The title track, Pocket Full of Good Luck,  is a fast and furious adrenalin rush, positively dripping with attitude. Its two glorious minutes of brash punk rock is sure to leave you breathless and wanting more.

Chemtrails is a jangly classic, the one minute long outro lifting it to another level. The acoustic Late Night Movie Show, brings things to a wistful conclusion and is sure to stay in your head long after the last notes have faded away.

There is much to love about this album, with echoes of The Muffs, Blondie, Teenage Fanclub, L7 and Nirvana present. It all blends perfectly together to give honeychain a distinctive sound. Pocket Full of Good Luck, for me, is one of the best releases of the year so far.

Honeychain are: –

Hillary Burton – Guitar, Vocals and Effortless Cool

Andre Tusques – Bass and backing vocals

Loye Aubrey Jnr – Drums

For info click visit the bands website at

To Buy/Listen to Pocket Full of Good Luck click here.

Photo of Hillary Burton by Steve Rood.


Lucy May Walker – Bad Day

Released at the beginning of June, Bad Day is the new five track EP from London based singer-songwriter Lucy May Walker.

If a revenge song can rightly be described as joyous then the country flavoured title track certainly qualifies. It is nearly impossible not to smile as the singer lays out her wish list of minor mishaps for the target of her ire to endure. The singalong chorus is a delight, ensuring things move seamlessly towards what proves to be a surprisingly emotional sign off.

The mood changes on You Say You’ve Moved On. It’s a thoughtful and moving track delivered in Lucy May Walker’s more familiar folk-pop style. Happy for You and Gold showcase just how endearing her voice is. There is never any doubt that these songs are inspired by personal experience, the words skilfully capturing the frequently bittersweet moments of everyday life.

Inspired by visits to festival time Edinburgh, Home from Home is a heartfelt tribute to that city. Beautifully driven by piano, the songs sense of place is sure to strike a chord with anybody who have found their own home from home, wherever that may be.

Bad Day is a sure step forward from Lucy May Walker, do  try and catch her live when we eventually return to some sort of normality.

To find out more visit the artists website HERE.

Catch up with latest from Lucy May Walker on Twitter.