By Pat McGuire.
So who is John Lennon McCullagh? Why have you not heard of him before? Two questions to which I only have one real answer and one retort. He is a singer songwriter who is touring the UK right now, and most of the good bits of Europe later and who might surprise us all with just how good he is. As to why you have not heard of him before? Well that might be down to a lack of mainstream press coverage or the fact that you don’t use social media. Or maybe you just don’t like the idea of a guy singing and playing acoustic guitar with the odd harmonica thrown in there now and then. If that is the case then please remember that the roots of pop and rock music were played in that format before most of us were born. Then after you have chastised yourself and turned off the top 20 charts app on your phone ( delete it now, we can pretend it never existed ), after that we can start talking.
John Lennon McCullagh is sixteen years old and comes from Doncaster. He spent some time living in Australia and also has seen Bob Dylan live more times than most of us. He decided to play guitar and write songs when he was twelve, then also got a hold of a harmonica and mastered that too. I want to move away from the obvious stuff now. Lots of young musicians are in their teens, lots of them make great music. What makes John Lennon McCullagh different? Well from this old 45 year old guy’s perspective, it’s all about the songs.
North South Divide for instance. It’s a folk tune sung with passion and verve. It could easily have been written about the Miner’s strike in the 80’s or the current disparity in the UK right now. But it is not overtly political, just a viewpoint as seen by a singer/songwriter who does his own thing and puts his words into action on stage and on records. Slipping Away is a finely crafted piece that is bluesy and forlorn and suggests unrequited love. Towerland Lullaby which features Alabama 3 (You have watched Sopranos so you know who they are) shows what John Lennon McCullagh sounds like with a band behind him and a full arrangement. But still the song writing shows through. I’d bet he could play some spoons on his knee or play an out of tune piano and still have that singular essence that makes people like and listen to music.
John Lennon McCullagh is playing in Glasgow at King Tuts on 7th March. So don’t believe my hype, just go along and see him for yourself.