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Catherine flies in to share elegant, heartfelt songs

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

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Catherine MacLellan is a star of the country folk world in her native North America. The daughter of the late Canadian songwriter Gene MacLellan, she is fast making her mark on audiences across the world from Boston, Berlin and Cannes to New York, London, and Paris.

This weekend she's in the Westcountry playing a couple of intimate shows in Cornwall and Devon.

Voted Critic's Favourite New Discovery by Penguin Eggs magazine in 2008, she's continued to expand her loyal fanbase showcasing her own songs while supporting artists like Bruce Cockburn and Steve Forbert.

Catherine's current album Silhouette, released last year, captures her best qualities effortlessly, stitching together elegantly woven songs with her memorable blend of heartfelt and powerfully introspective lyrics and catchy melodies.

Its 14 tracks were recorded largely at a secluded cabin in rural Prince Edward Island, with a band of her longtime friends and musical collaborators, under the guiding hand of producer David Baxter. A particularly sweet note resounds on the penultimate track, Snowbird, a poignant, stripped-down version of the beautiful song written by her father.

Catherine MacLellan plays at The Old Chapel, Calstock, south east Cornwall on Saturday, November 10 and The Bedford Hotel,Sidmouth on Sunday, November 11.

Whiskey-soaked character falls under band spotlight

The all-too familiar story of an average man who desperately struggles to find a better existence, but ends up drinking to numb his sorrows, comes into sharp focus in the songs of American troubadour James Low on his latest album The Whiskey Farmer.

There's a chance to hear those tunes – and some more cheery and positive ones – played live when he and his band, The James Low Western Front, arrive in the Westcountry for a couple of gigs next weekend.

Singer and guitarist James may come from the lush climes of Portland, Oregon, but the band, featuring Tim Huggins on bass, Dave Camp on guitar and Joe Mengis on drums, sound like they emerged from the country hotbed of Nashville, Tennessee.

An old-style concept album, the new eight-song alt-country collection focuses on the plight of the titular character – portrayed on the album cover by James himself. He describes his hero as someone who has "always done things kind of right – did OK in school, went to a generic college, racked up a ****load of debt, and got a job to pay off the debt. He drinks to forget. He alienates the ones who love him best, and just cannot believe that this is all there is to life."

The James Low Western Front play at The Imperial, Weston-super-Mare on Friday, November 16 and at the Ring O' Bells, Chagford on Saturday, November 17.

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