Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dougie McLean (Tannahill Weavers, Silly Wizzard, Dunkeld Records)

The Scottish singer-songwriter was born in Dunblane in 1954. He joined the Paisley based Scottish folk group, the Tannahill Weavers in the mid seventies and toured extensively in the UK and Europe playing fiddle, mandolin and sharing vocals. The group recorded their first album “Are Ye Sleeping Maggie?” in 1976.

Dougie left the Tannahills and teamed up with German born Scot, Alan Roberts and recorded the album Caledonia in 1978. The album met with great critical acclaim and the song Caledonia would be later recorded by many other artists.

Later the duo joined Alex Campbell and recorded the album CRM which contained traditional Scottish songs.

In 1980 Dougie MacLean joined SillyWizard for six months and toured with them in the USA, Holland and Germany before forming a duo with Edinburgh guitarist, Donald MacDougall. They performed in US, Canada and Europe and McLean (on foddle) contributed to Silly Wizard's fourth album, Wild and Beautiful (1981) before returning to the Tannahill Weavers.

During this time Dougie’s recorded his first solo album, Snaigow in 1980.

The singer now based himself in Perthshire but continued to tour worldwide. His follow up was Wing and a prayer and was released on Plant Life in 1981.

He later built a recording studio near Dunkled and he and his wife, artist Jennifer MacLean, launched their own record label, Dunkeld Records. The debut album Craigie Dhu (1982) proved a commercial success and this was followed by Fiddle (1984) and Singing Land (1986) .

Over the years Dunkeld Records became one of Scotland's most respected independent record labels featuring not only Dougie MacLean but also Hamish Moore, Sheena Wellington, Frieda Morrison, Gordon Duncan, David Allison and Blackeyed Biddy. Throughout the decade Dougie MacLean's reputation grew and became a popular performer at festivals and concerts where ever Scottish music featured. The album Real Estate was released in 1988.

Dougie MacLean has built an international reputation as songwriter, composer and extraordinary performer on his own terms. His songs have been covered by hosts of artists including Scottish stars Paolo Nutini & Amy MacDonald, Ronan Keating, Mary & Frances Black, Dolores Keane, Deanta and Cara Dillon, and Grammy award winning US country singer Kathy Mattea. His music has been used in the Hollywood movies: Trevor Jones adapted the music from the Search album as the main theme to The Last of the Mohicans in 1992; Angel Eyes also featured music from Dougie Mclean as well as A Mugs Game (BBC).

To date his greatest success has been “Caledonia” which has become one of Scotland’s most popular contemporary songs. The song was written in less than 10 minutes on a beach in Brittany, France when the singer was busking overseas and feeling homesick. The song featured in a Tennent’s Lager beer advert in 1991 with a cover interpretation sung by Frankie Miller.

The public response was immediate and so enormous Miller re-recorded the whole song and released it as an independent single. The song reached number 45 in UK Singles Chart but topped the Scottish charts in 1992. The song has been covered by many other artists.

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