Colin Macleod has today released his hotly anticipated new album Hold Fast accompanied by a brand new video for the song “33” which features Sheryl Crow.
“33” is a plaintive exploration of how the perceptions of ambition, reality and growing old meander as the year’s pass. It’s a song which ties into the album’s overriding theme: be thankful for what you’ve got. Macleod and Crow’s sumptuous vocal harmonies shine on the track, as they do on another track from Hold Fast, “Old Soul.” Crow has remained a supportive presence for Colin ever since they toured together in 2018. “Working with her was organic,” says Macleod of Crow as quoted in American Songwriter. “She’s such a lovely person and really supportive. When I went on tour with her, there was none of that ‘you’re over here, and I’m over there.’ There was none of that with her.”
Of the track, Colin says, “‘33’ is a song dedicated to the early mid-life crisis. I think it might be called a quarter life crisis? Wondering if you should have worked a little harder or tried a little more, or realising there’s nothing much wrong with still feeling like a teenager when all your pals are settling down and having grown up lives. Happily I don’t seem to struggle with this affliction, I find it very easy to let life roll along.”
“It was great to have Sheryl Crow duet with me on this song,” shares Colin. “I always had this song in mind for a duet but didn’t think I would ever be lucky enough to have Sheryl join me, I’m so grateful for her taking the time to do it.”
The video for the track captures the sentiment of “33” perfectly in its freedoms; directed by Mike Guest, it features Colin surfing; one of the many liberating aspects of his life.
View the video for “33” here: https://youtu.be/qWae_SYm2Jw
He will also perform at Latitude Festival next month, ahead of further live dates to be announced for later this year.
Colin lives an intriguing dual existence. His 2018 debut album Bloodlines earned widespread critical acclaim, leading to shows with Roger Waters and Robert Plant as well as a performance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in the US. But more commonly you’ll find him at home on the Isle of Lewis, where he raises a flock of sheep and grows vegetables on a croft.
From the plangent, spacious Americana of the string laden opener “Queen of the Highland” to his heartfelt love letter to home “This Old Place,” Hold Fast tells the tale of a man returning to the island where he was born after trying to make it in the world. Contrasting parts — Springsteen-style widescreen rock on “The Long Road” and “Sleep,” introspective acoustic folk on “Made of Stone”— contribute to a poignant whole. And although it may sound like a story culled from Macleod’s own experience, being a singer-songwriter who indeed left his tight-knit island community in search of glory, it is a work of fiction. It just happens to be fiction embedded in truth.
“When we were teenagers, we used to play covers in the pub,” says Macleod. “When you do that every night you see all these stories unfolding before you, and that made me think about a guy who leaves the island to seek his fortune before things go wrong, as they so often do. He returns to the island, down on his luck, and as we move through the songs he has an epiphany about what life is really about. It is one step removed from events that actually happened.”
Highlights on the album include “Warning Signs,” a pop-rock belter that reflects on the excesses of the night before, and the driving folk-rock of the escapist “Runaway.” And by the time “This Old Place” closes the album, Macleod has told an evergreen story of a man going out into the world, only to realise he has all he needs in front of him.
Colin Macleod first left the island in 2009. He was spotted playing a gig in an Aberdeen pub by an A&R from Universal, which culminated in the release of the Fireplace album under the moniker The Boy Who Trapped The Sun in 2010. Homesick and burned out by the experience, he returned to the island and eventually had a realisation: stories of life in this remote part of the world gave him something fascinating and unique to write about. It was a style that resonated throughout the Bloodlines album.
Hold Fast is now available here.
Hold Fast tracklist:
- Queen of the Highlands
- The Long Road
- Warning Signs
- Old Soul featuring Sheryl Crow
- Made of Stone
- 33 featuring Sheryl Crow
- Looking For God
- This Old Place