(SXSW 2018 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #395: C. Macleod

By on Wednesday, 17th January 2018 at 12:00 pm

Header photo by Mike Guest

Scottish folk singer/songwriter C. Macleod is, by all appearances, a musician in the middle of a makeover. The Facebook and Twitter links on his SXSW 2018 bio page are both inactive, but his official Web site links to different, fully operational social media profiles that appear to have been fairly recently created. Notably, these active profiles refer to the artist by his full name, Colin Macleod, rather than simply using his first initial.

If Macleod is indeed transitioning between names, it wouldn’t be the first time. According to his SXSW bio, “Colin started his career as alt-folk artist The Boy Who Trapped the Sun, working the same vibrant Glasgow scene as Frightened Rabbit and Snow Patrol.” In fact, TGTF’s own coverage of Macleod as The Boy Who Trapped the Sun dates back to 2009; you can read it all by clicking here.

Whichever stage name he ultimately chooses, Macleod seems to be making a concentrated attempt to redefine and solidify his sound. In the past several years, he has sought a balance between family and work, returning home to the Isle of Lewis and allowing its physical space and close-knit community to influence his songwriting. His current single ‘Kicks In’ is an intense blend of folk and rock, with warm guitars and shuffling percussion underscoring anthemic lyrics and Macleod’s sweetly stirring vocal delivery. Ironically, the song’s yearning refrain expresses a latent desire to run away: “so let it be known / one day I will leave this place / with a hope for something wide and new / though hell is just a step away / wait until it kicks in”.

Macleod has gathered a strong group of collaborators for this new chapter in his career. Well-known producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Laura Marling) took the helm on the recording of Macleod’s debut full-length album ‘Bloodlines’, which is due for release this March on BMG. For assistance in live shows, Macleod has recruited within close proximity, calling on his brother Callum and fellow Lewis natives Scott Macleod and Murdo Mackenzie to join his band. The only relative outsider in the entourage is, coincidentally or not, former Frightened Rabbit member Gordon Skene, who can be seen playing the prominent keyboard riff in ‘Shake the Walls’, just below.

Macleod finished 2017 playing support for veteran singer/songwriter Chris Rea, whose tour ended rather abruptly on the 9th of December in Oxford. Ahead of his trip to America in March for SXSW 2018, Macleod is slated to play at Americana Fest UK in London on the 31st of January and at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow on the 1st of February.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 showcasing artists we feature here at TGTF, C. Macleod’s appearance in Austin is subject to change. We recommend that you consult the official SXSW Music Festival schedule for the latest information and updates.

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