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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Scotland's Ewan MacFarlane Releases New Single Ahead Of His Debut Solo Album

When Ewan MacFarlane, the charismatic former Grim Northern Social frontman and long-time member of electro maestros Apollo 440, states “Its high time I stepped out and made the music I always needed to make,” then you’d better believe it, as he boldly embraces a whole new sound.

Following debut solo single ‘Stirrin’ In The City’, which picked up BBC Radio Scotland & Amazing Radio airplay, MacFarlane returns with second single ‘Underneath Your Spell’ out 10th Sept. Both tracks are standout works from MacFarlane’s superb forthcoming full-length album ‘Always Everlong’ due out October 29th. Whilst the trademark socially insightful lyrics and biting vocals of his previous recorded output remain very much part of the DNA, it’s safe to say that stylistically speaking, MacFarlane has mellowed; for he has spent the intervening time embracing his inner melodic troubadour, en-route to an uncharted destination. Sporting more than a touch of Americana in his new material, he honours the revered rock’n’roll songbooks of his songwriting heroes Bowie, Petty, and Springsteen.

Whilst the new songs may take inspiration from some legendary songbooks though, their origin remains, very much a thing of its time. Challenging himself mid lockdown to write and upload one tune per day to Youtube, the songs mostly tell tales of tension with pledges of eternal love.

‘Underneath Your Spell’ is a classic rock belter that brilliantly expresses the euphoria that love brings being captured underneath your lover’s spell. On the track’s themes MacFarlane says, “It’s both about a lust and love for life and for each other. It’s about endless boundaries, about taking the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, the laughter and the tears, but not least it’s about kicking down the walls of constraint and living life exactly how you choose. Free to be what you want to be without judgement.”

About Ewan MacFarlane: Clutching his guitar, Ewan MacFarlane was hit by the sun’s warmth as he climbed through the top-floor window of Austin’s BD Riley's. Looking to the crowd spilling into the street below, one thing was certain; he was not in Scotland anymore. Everything about this show was unexpected, but ever the spontaneous performer - a man of vigor, natural ingenuity, humor, and goodwill – when the authorities close the street to make way for excessive audience size, what else is a musician to do?

That was Texas. Just one stop among the many twists and turns of Ewan Macfarlane’s life on the road so far. Navigating the melodic landscape like a river knowing know bounds, his journey as a songwriter meanders from his upbringing and base in Glasgow, Scotland, to sharing international stages with Elvis Costello, Simple Minds, The Prodigy, Muse, Thin Lizzy, and The Chemical Brothers to name but a few. Formerly, as long-time member of electro maestros Apollo 440, Ewan captivated audiences around the world whilst his unapologetic enthusiasm, unbridled energy, and charisma as frontman of Glasgow’s The Grim Northern Social saw him snarl and strut his way to garnering the attention of Glastonbury festival’s Michael Eavis, who hand-picked the band for the legendary John Peel stage after tipping them to be, at the time, the best up and coming band in the U.K.

Now broadening his horizons as a solo performer and melodic troubadour in his own right, Ewan’s debut album Always Everlong sees him en route to an uncharted destination. Challenging himself to write a tune a day, for uploading to YouTube each evening in lockdown, it tells tales of tension with pledges of eternal love. An expression of his hopes and fears, the record is emboldened by a personable approach to classic rock penmanship as Ewan bares his soul by putting pen to paper, unafraid of the consequences. Honoring the revered rock’n’roll songbooks of Bowie, Petty, and Springsteen, it plots the works of those making up the soundtrack to his own life, who have always called, enthralled, and entranced him.

Barely finding time to eat, shit, and sleep, Ewan worked obsessively on the album’s recordings in his home studio, alongside childhood friend Davie Rollo, who added vocals and guitar before mixing and mastering the tracks. The Grim Northern Social’s keyboard player Andy Cowan was enlisted alongside good friend Dougie Hannah, whose powerful drumming drives the album’s energy to exhilarating heights. Meanwhile, Kirsty McAfferty’s hypnotic keys and vocals coil around Andy McAfferty’s driving bass and, showing the apple never falls far from the tree, Ewan’s daughters Jenijo and Ellijai MacFarlane share their beautiful haunting backing vocals.

Channeling the raw power of Ewan’s inimitable live performances Always Everlong captures the unnameable feeling all great musicians elicit when you find yourself in the presence of something truly special. Whether felt by the sold-out crowds gathering to see Ewan and The Grim Northern Social perform at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut over 3 consecutive nights for 2 years running (simply through word of mouth due to his loyal followers), festival-goers at T in the Park, or right there, within the commotion of that street in Austin, Ewan’s burgeoning reputation is of a musician whose experience matches his many miles traveled.

When pre-pandemic life as we once knew it resumes, the wheels will be set in motion as the album is taken to his hallowed road, allowing us all to congregate as one for the love of music once more. The stops may be fleeting but for Ewan MacFarlane, his musical destiny is Always Everlong.


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