Review by Pauline Keightley
The gig in Milngavie Town Hall attracted a very enthusiastic audience and some clearly die-hard McLean fans had travelled far for the gig. Dougie McLean didn't disappoint - he was in particularly good form and like a choirmaster he had everyone singing in full voice.?
Probably best known for his song Caledonia, which has become part of Scottish culture and is often performed at weddings and played by pipebands. However, Mclean is diverse in his accomplishments - his song The Gael was the theme?tune for the film The Last of the Mohicans (1992).
At the gig he performed two sets selecting songs from his large back catalogue and his album Resolution (2012). He began with the song Holding Back - 'a wee song about contentment' and other songs included Don?t Look Down, Another Time, Loving One and Some Hearts.??
In his second set we heard Resolution, In Darkness, Broken Wings, the inevitable, Caledonia, and for his encore he sang You Sing Loud (Shine on, oh shine on over me).? He encouraged the audience to sing along remarking that people were never passive in Scottish music and suggested that the reason old folk songs had so many refrains was because of the audience joining in. Mclean clearly enjoys participation and as he conducted the singing of Some Hearts he requested 'more harmonies'.
McLean has a touching compassionate voice and whilst the themes of his songs appear on one level subtle and soothing, they also carry powerful messages and are full of emotion and sincerity. He can be considered something of a philosopher and his songs offer thoughtful insights on life - he recognises and accepts the emotional draw of the 'song' and his songs are personal and intimate in nature but carry a universal message. McLean appears to speak directly to each member of the audience with lyrics such as: 'You may fall but you must not lie down' and ?Some hearts will fill with wonder - Some hearts will break in two'.
He shared his view that we must make loads of mistakes in order to really 'live' life and his opinion that 'music wasn't always kind and can sometimes be a heart breaking kind of thing'. He also spoke about how music can heal and praised the inspirational work of Nordoff Robbins Music therapy for terminally ill children.?
McLean has been a professional musician for 38 years since a chance encounter with the Tannahill Weavers.
Try Dougie McLean songs - She Will Find Me, Another Time (about his father), Broken Wings and Holding Back.
?Review by Pauline Keightley - www.musicfootnotes.com/