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Tom McRae + David McCaffrey - 7th June 2013

Artist's website: Tom McRae / David McCaffrey

Tom McRae:

Tom McRae, long regarded as one of our finest singer songwriters takes to the road in the Spring 2013 to promote the release of his sixth studio album, From The Lowlands, the second part of the critically acclaimed 2010 release, The Alphabet of Hurricanes.

Released on April 15th on Buzzard Tree Records, From The Lowlands is a return to the stark production simplicity of his debut album, released to critical acclaim 13 years ago. Written following the suicide of a close friend, these songs deal with episodes of life at its harshest, shot through with longing for better times, both past and ahead.

From The Lowlands Tour 2013 offers Tom the opportunity to showcase these new songs perfectly. Characteristically raw, powerful, and with a strong narrative theme, they demonstrate a confident songwriter growing in stature with every album. Always entertaining, with a self-deprecating sense of humour, Tom is adept at taking his audience on a journey, which promises to make these shows a lot more than a simple solo gig.

Tom's fantastic live reputation is hard won and well-deserved, in the 12 years since the release of his Mercury and Brit nominated debut, he has toured regularly all over the world, garnering a fiercely loyal audience, especially in Europe and North America. Having moved from Suffolk, to London, to LA, then New York, and now living in the lowlands of Somerset, Tom's song-writing has remained similarly restless and searching. Having toured with his regular band, as well as his duo, trio and more recently string quartet, this is Tom's first European solo tour.

Thirteen years since his Mercury and Brit nominated debut, and three years since his last release, (Alphabet of Hurricanes on Cooking Vinyl) Tom McRae returns with what is, in his words, his: "tricky sixth album". 

Having moved from Hackney to the Somerset levels without doing any basic research, or even googling the words "flood plain", McRae recently found himself surrounded by the rising waters of Britain's worst winter. "I'd always wanted my own private island" says McRae, "I just hadn't envisaged it being my kitchen table".

The resulting album, "From The Lowlands", stands as a document of that time, as well as charting McRae's honest insights into a career well into its second decade. 

A return to the stripped back sound of his debut (Tom McRae, SonyBMG) - "From The Lowlands" is a raw, self-produced, heart-breaking collection of songs dealing with ageing, death, loss of friends (one to whom this album is dedicated), isolation, water and the dream of escape, preferably with a boat.

Says McRae: " As a male singer-songwriter working in the early part of the 21st century, I feel I should be constantly apologising. But as a man in his forties I also feel I don't want to. Also, I can't really remember what the question was".

David McCaffrey is a singer-songwriter from Easingwold in North Yorkshire. Still only 18-years-old, David began playing around York's live music venues aged 14, resulting in support slots alongside other up-and-coming British artists coming to town. A self taught guitarist, he began writing and recording his own songs, which led to acoustic sessions with BBC Radio York as well as University Radio York.

In early March 2012, David's single "Stars" was released as part of Communion's New Faces Compilation alongside the likes of Ben Howard, Matt Corby and Michael Kiwanuka. In June, he opened for Communion's Bushstock Festival in London as well as their club nights in Notting Hill.

"Yesterday evening following York’s first snowfall of the year, one of York’s most promising young musicians took to the stage at The Basement to perform his first headline show. I first saw David McCaffrey play in support of Slow Club in September and was struck by the quality of his song writing, beautiful melodies and the richness of his voice, which belie his 17 years of age; his lyrics and laid back demeanour onstage suggest an insight beyond his years, without the self-conscious archness of some current acoustic guitar music.

Songs such as Mountain Tops and Stars have such a driving energy and warmth, and his performance demonstrates a keen awareness of dynamic. He has the quiet assurance of the exceptional musician, managing to push up his glasses whilst guitar tapping on Believe and drawing the whole audience in to hear his songs, he showed genuine gratitude to his support and to us, for coming out on this cold night.

I saw Mumford and Sons perform in this room a few years ago and I’m sure I don’t have to write too much about the trajectory of their career since; I believe that McCaffrey has a real shot at similar success. I hope he has chance to continue to develop as an artist and keep writing and recording the music he wants to as he clearly has something very special.

His songs are accessible and memorable yet subtle, whisper rather than shout, with a quiet reflective tone. I am sure that everyone in the room felt a connection with his music and, like me, can’t wait for his EP. Check out his tracks on YouTube (below) as I’m sure this talented local lad has far to go. If you get the chance, go and see him perform; if the new song Your Old Ways is anything to go by, there’s lots more good music to come. "

[Review: Amy Greene] link