Ewan McLennan a true Emerging Artist

Rags & Robes
Fellside 235
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This review originally ran in SingOut! Magazine issue 54:4

“Emerging artist” is an overused phrase, but I’m happy to make an exception for the stunning debut release of Ewan McLennan. With songs such as “Arthur McBride,” “A Man’s a Man,” and “I’m a Rover,” the Edinburgh-raised McLennan covers familiar ground, but he does so with a gentleness and a freshness of voice that makes the old new. It’s a quiet album reminiscent of Andy M. Stewart’s post-Silly Wizard solo work in mood. And, like Stewart, McLennan’s tenor voice is unique. It has the timbre of a contemporary such as Paul McKenna, but with more vibrato and with a hint of a rasp. If that sounds gritty, the effect is quite the opposite; McLennan keeps all the ornaments under control and croons with a soothing smoothness. Thus he transforms the feel of a rough roustabout song such as “Tramps and Hawkers” into something that sounds like carefree lads at sport. Equally affecting his velvet-gloved version of “Jack Stewart,” which emerges as less of a drinking song than fellowship with an elderly friend. Each of the fourteen tracks pleases, and each leaves you wanting to hear what McLennan will do next. 
Rob Weir

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