Album Review - Settler - Mal MacWatt
After the release of the EP Skail Malcolm MacWatt received interest from across the pond for a full "Skail" album. Initially Skail was to be expanded to a full album but instead Settler with 10 brand new songs became the offspring of Skail. Settler predominately moves the journey on from the scattering of the Scots to the Americas to the settling of those far flung lands with a few political comments thrown in for good measure and some tales that could be rooted in Scotland
Where Settler differs from Malcolm's previous releases is that Mal has backing and harmonising from some prominent artists mainly from the U.S and the mastering was done in Nashville.
The Album starts with the jaunty & political Avalanche And Landslide with help on vocals from rising star Jaimee Harris from Austin TX, before crossing the Atlantic for two tracks set in California.
The Curse Of Molly McPhee features Laura Cantrell & tells the tale of a woman accused of being a witch and takes the album into a more Celtic Folk sound that leads very nicely into My Bonnie Boys Have Gone and a track that would've fitted very well in Skail. The harmonising is provided by American Folk legend Gretchen Peters. My Bonnie Boys Have Gone ends with Gretchen singing the last verse (at her own suggestion) with a slight crack of the voice expressing the sadness of the song and stealing the show.
Another folk legend in England's Eliza Carthy lends a hand with the clever revolving lyrics of The Miller's Daughter.
This isn't a country album, it's a celtic folk album with a transatlantic feel, full of engaging tales pulled from Scotland's history, culture and migrations across the Atlantic. It's the sort of music that has given Malcolm MacWatt two appearances at Nashville Calling, airplay around the world and a well deserved record deal across the pond. I think Settler is Mal's masterpiece.
I don't do stars or ratings in my reviews. If I did, I'd give Settler a lot. "Settler" is available from malcolmmacwatt.bandcamp.com on Cd or as a download